The 2010 African World Documentary Films

A Family Divided

John Swindells (n/a) - 52min

An exiled Sierra Leonean journalist and political prisoner, returns to her former refugee camp in Ghana in an attempt to reconcile her past, re-unite her family and help those still trapped in the camp.

A Linc in Time

Nicole Brooks (Canada) - 48min

A documentary that celebrates and chronicles the life of the Hon. Lincoln Alexander - a Canadian black man who in the time of the turbulent 60s became the first black man to achieving one of the highest position in the Canadian government. This is the first time his story has been told - in his own words.

Africa is a Woman's Name

Wanjiru Kinyanjui, Briddget Pickering, Ingrid Sinclair (Spain, Kenya, South Africa, Zimbabwe) - 52min

Female power embodied in lives of three remarkable African women from different social levels and origins (a Kenyan attorney and reputed lawyer, the committed school principal of a remote South African village and a Zimbabwean housewife-entrepreneur), determined to bring about radical transformations in their day-to-day realities.

All that a Woman Can Do

Eve Symington (USA) - 16min

The film tells the stories of women artists working and thriving in Dakar, Senegal. These women artists also discuss how they balance life and art, as well as their relationship with religion and feminism. Through their experiences and insights, these women open the door for the West to deepen its understanding of women, family, and career in Africa.

Becoming Barack: Evolution of a Leader

Robert Yuhas (USA) - 55min

The film presents a close-up, never-seen perspective of Barack Obama. Starting with his early days as a Chicago organizer in the 1980's, the documentary offers new details about how he evolved as a leader and individual.

Calling my Children

David Binder (USA) - 36min

With HIV/AIDS as a subtext for this family's story, the film explores the challenges of single parenthood and family unity, revealing preconceptions about race, class, and infection. Through narrative, photographs, and the dying mother's profoundly moving letters, the film is a father's attempt to heal his family by invoking the love and memories of this courageous wife and mother.

Cellular Wisdom

Lisa Brody (Cameroon, Venezuela) - 54min

In the Clinic of Hope a revolutionary vaccine called Vanhivax is being used to treat patients with HIV/AIDS. Today there is documented evidence of 25 sero-conversions (HIV+ to HIV-). If this treatment is so effective, why haven't we heard about it? 'Cellular Wisdom' tell us why.

Chasing Keino

Ed Vaughen (USA) - 28min

The film follows the lives of four Kenyan runners training in the US to complete in US marathons so that the monies won through racing may be repatriated to Kenya to improve not only the runners' lives but also the lives of others in their culture.

Conakry Kas

Manthia Diawara (USA, Guinea) - 82min

An personal enquiry into the changes in an African city by someone who grew up there. He asks how Conakry, capital of Guinea, was affected by the legacy of its first President, Sekou Toure, what changes globalization has brought and how people are dealing with them. Actor Danny Glover, a friend of the film-maker, comes to join him.

Curse of Black Gold

Julie Winokur (USA, Nigeria) - 8min

Fifty years ago oil was discovered in the Niger Delta. Although millions of dollars in 'black gold' are pumped out of the ground every day, the average Niger Deltan lives on just one dollar a day. Plagued by environmental degradation and community conflict, 'Curse of the Black Gold' gives voice to local activists and officials, poets and militants who confront the enormous cost of oil exploitation in Nigeria.

Dont Lose Hope

David Gobert (France) - 60min

A docu-drama on the African myth on immigration as lived by African themselves. The problems of immigration and integration, be they physical or cultural, constitute the backdrop of the film. It explores the position of the African woman in France, wedged between modernity and traditions. The film casts an eye on an Africa divided between its vision of the Europe and its attachment to some little accepted customs in the western world such as: black magic, polygamy and the relationship between men and women as they are traditionally lived in Africa.

Ebony Goddess: Queen of Ile Aiye

Carolina Moraes-Liu (USA) - 20min

This is the story of three young women competing for the title of Ebony Goddess, in the largest black city outside Africa, Salvador da Bahia, Brazil.

Ebony Goddess: Queen of Ile Aiye

Carolina Moraes-Liu (USA) - 20min

This is the story of three young women competing for the title of Ebony Goddess, in the largest black city outside Africa, Salvador da Bahia, Brazil.

Fahrenheit 2010

Craig Tanner (Austalia, South Africa) - 64min

In June 2010, the largest international television audience to ever follow a single event will be watching the football World Cup in South Africa but questions are being asked about what will happen after the trophy is lifted - in particular, who actually stands to benefit from the diversion of millions of dollars to build 21st century sports arenas in a country in which, 15 years after throwing off apartheid's yoke, millions live in shacks. International heavyweights like Archbishop Desmond Tutu, construction workers, politicians and sports celebrities wade into the debate. Fahrenheit 2010 exposes the real concerns of ordinary South Africans.

Flags, Feathers, and Lies

Pablo Palacios (USA) - 80min

A provocative look at the Mardi Gras Indians of New Orleans - in all their rich, resplendent, and rhythmic glory - and how they and the community they love have survived the twin disasters of Hurricane Katrina and government neglect. The culture of the lower 9th ward comes from a heritage that merges African and Native American traditions and has combined celebration with solidarity.

Forest of Crocodiles

Mark Aitken (United Kingdom) - 52min

What choices do white South Africans make when addressing their fears of crime, violence and black people? Some are well resourced while others are ingeniously resourceful. The consequences are regression and isolation or freedom from fear. Like crocodiles, these people have been left to evolve according to their own laws.

Forgotten Freedom Fighters

Lisa Henry, Shareen Anderson (South Africa) - 45min

In 1991, the ANC suspended their armed struggle against the Apartheid government in South Africa. In 2009, the majority of former combatants are unemployed and still waiting for compensation promised to them. The film looks into the lives of a group of former combatants living in the Johannesburg township of Alexandra who have given up waiting and have decided to do something for themselves.

Freddy Illanga: Ches Swahili Translator

Katrin Hansing (USA) - 20min

The film looks at the unusual life story as a Congolese rebel youth, his time and relationship with Che Guevara and his long awaited re-encounter with his family. It is a film about an African man whose life has predominantly been determined by the power struggles of the Cold War and Cuban Revolution and who is now trying to take his destiny back into his own hands.

Grandmother to Grandmother: New York to Tanzania

John Ankele (USA) - 60min

The film introduces two projects, one in the South Bronx and one in Tanzania, in which grandmothers are stepping in to raise their grandchildren who have been orphaned by HIV/AIDS, drugs, and violence. When some grandmothers and their grandchildren from the Bronx travel to Africa to meet their Tanzanian counterparts, there is instant recognition and a clear sense that 'sisterhood is powerful.'

Harlems Mart 125: The American Dream

Rachelle Gardner (USA) - 65min

A documentary about the epic struggle and complexities surrounding the redevelopment of Harlem, especially Harlem's main commercial sector. This film takes its viewers on a historical journey that depicts the economic transition of 125th street from the late 1960's to present day. This is a story that takes an introspective look at the changing face of the most well known African-American neighborhood and examines a complexity of issues that surround this community in peril!

Hidden Truth

Bahareh Hosseini, Abibata Mahama, Abigail Kaindu, Mwlewa Kamanda (United Kingdom) - 10min

A candid and intimate portrayal of the effects of domestic violence on women and children in Samfya, a remote town in Northern Zambia.

I'm not Black, I'm Coloured - Identity Crisis at the Cape of Good Hope

Kiersten Chace (USA, South Africa) - 78min

In the wake of one of the greatest failed social experiments in the history of mankind, 'I'm not Black, I'm Colored' is the first documentary film to look at the legacy of Apartheid from the viewpoint of the Cape Colored.

Inside Buffalo

Fred 'Kudjo' Kuwornu (USA) - 60min

The story of the 92nd Buffalo division, the all African-American segregated combat unit that fought with outstanding heroism in Italy during the Second World War. After the war ended, those who fought and survived found that their contribution went unnoticed upon their return to the US.

Long Distance

Moritz Siebert (USA) - 28min

Abiyot is one of several African long distance runners trying to make a living and career in the US. Once, he was a promising member of the Ethiopian national team, but two years ago he left his country to start a new life. Weekend after weekend, he races with fellow African athletes in road races, competing over a few hundred dollars of prize money.

Man of the Soil

Pierre Deschamps (Dominica) - 7min

Juxtaposed to the hustle and bustle of city life on the diminutive Caribbean island of Dominica, Jerry Maka West works his garden in the island's lush interior, his Zion, growing and preparing his food just as his grandparents once taught him.

Marti and I

Juan Carlos Zaldivar (Cuba, USA) - 8min

Jose Marti is the greatest literary and political figure that Cuba has ever produced. This short documentary film reclaims Marti from a mythical, patriarchal grave by hinting at the less publicized associations and facts about Marti's life: his "brotherly" love for his best friend, with whom he lived for five years in exile. Marti and I" gives us an important reinterpretation of Cuba's most famous political and literary icon in order to rescue the man behind it.

Migration of Beauty

Chris Flaherty (USA, Ethiopia) - 70min

After the rigged election in Ethiopia in 2005, Ethiopians in the U.S. react by using their U.S. citizenship to impose foreign aid restrictions against their native country. The film shows how citizenship in the U.S. can lead to political empowerment when immigrants engage the political system in their host country.

Mrs. Goudu's Daughter

Barbara Attie, Janet Goldwater (Mali, USA) - 60min

The story of a West African mother's fight for asylum in the U.S. to protect her two-year old daughter from female genital cutting. Shot in Philadelphia and Mali, the film explores the African tradition of female genital cutting from an African perspective, as well as the intricacies and frustrations of the asylum process.

Music by Prudence

Roger Ross (USA, Zimbabwe) - 33min

My White Baby (Me Broni Ba)

Akosua Adorna Owusu (USA, Ghana) - 22min

A lyrical portrait of hair salons in Ghana and the tangled legacy of European colonialism in Africa, evoked through images of women practicing hair braiding on discarded white baby dolls from the west.


Micki Dickoff, Tony Pagano (USA) - 90min

The story of a Mississippi town still divided about the meaning of justice, 40 years after the murders of civil rights workers, James Chaney, Andrew Goodman and Michael Schwerner, an event dramatized in the Oscar-winning film, Mississippi Burning.

One with the One

Carlo De Rosa (USA) - 9min

A short documentary on creation of peace through the empowerment of children.

Poto Mitan: Haitian Women, Pillars of the Global Economy

Renee Bergan (Haiti, USA) - 50min

Narrated by Haitian writer, Edwidge Danticat. Told through the lives of five compelling Haitian women, Poto Mitan gives an inside perspective on globalization, Haiti's current crisis, and the resilient women challenging this system.

Return to the Land of Souls

Jordi Esteva (Cote d'ivoire, Spain) - 70min

In the 21 st century many ancestral beliefs are struggling to survive in a hostile, fast-changing world. This creative documentary, told from the perspective of a city-dweller who goes back to his village in search of spiritual wisdom, shows how contemporary African society coexists with animistic rites in Ivory Coast.

Rhythmic Uprising

Benjamin Watkins (Brazil, USA) - 60min

A documentary that shows how vibrant Afro-Brazilian performing arts are used to fight racism, social exclusion, and poverty in Bahia, Brazil.

Rwanda: Hope Rises

Trevor Meier (Canada) - 65min

Amidst growing Hutu-Tutsi tension in Rwanda, a couple meets and falls in love. During the 1994 genocide, Nicholas, a Hutu, managed to protect his wife Elsie - a Tutsi - from the murderous Hutu militias. Elsie assumes a false identity, and the two begin a dangerous journey to flee the country. When they finally cross into neighboring Congo, they discover their journey has only just begun. The film is about the story of a couple's struggle to survive the Rwandan genocide and their journey toward restoration healing in the years after their narrow escape.

Senator Obama Goes to Africa

Bob Hercules (USA, South Africa) - 53min

Part personal odyssey and part chronicle of diplomacy in action, this timely film follows Senator Barack Obama as he travels to Africa, the land of his ancestry.

Shades of the Border

Patrick William Smith (Dominican Republic, Haiti, USA) - 12min

Located on the same small island divided by class, wealth, and skin color, Haiti and the Dominican Republic face heated immigration issues. This film explores the disconnect between the Dominican media and the reality of violence and racism against Haitians in the Dominican Republic.

Shosholoza Express

Beatrice Mller (Germany) - 60min

Everyone is equal in the new South Africa: black and white, Indian and Colored. On a train ride aboard the Shosholoza Express, they encounter the rifts in their biographies. 17 years after the end of Apartheid, nothing is the same, but neither is anything the way it should be.

Solidarity in Saya: an Afro-Bolivian Music Movement

Maya Jensen (USA) - 30min

This documentary examines the traditional Afro-Bolivian, who has remained isolated in rural poverty as subsistence farmers since the abolition of slavery, and their recent movement that uses their Saya music to pursue their social and political needs.


Wren Demetri (South Africa, USA) - 78min

A fast paced documentary that tells the stories of South Africas 2008 Homeless World Cup team. The Homeless World Cup is an annual soccer tournament that draws teams from over 56 countriescomprised entirely of street people. The Squad consists of ex-convicts, former gangsters, orphans and recovering drug addicts that band together to represent their country, proving that no one is beyond redemption. It is a story of hope and of the resilience that dwells within the human spirit.

Sugar Pathways

Johanna Bermudez-Ruiz, Lauren Velez (St. Croix, US Virgin Islands) - 70min

The film captures the decade-long and forced migration of Puerto Rican families from Vieques, Puerto Rico, to the US Virgin Islands. The film recounts their will to survive, integrate and contribute to the culture, economy and politics of the islands through personal interviews, archival footage and historic documentation.

Taboo Yardies

Selena Blake (USA, Jamaica) - 19min

A look at homophobia in Jamaica. This film explores the prevalence of homophobia in he Jamaican community, along with the violence and acts of murder that accompany this phobia.

The Athlete

Davey Frankel, Rasselas Lakew (Ethiopia, Germany, USA) - 90min

The remarkable and true life story of the great Ethiopian Olympic marathon runner, Abebe Bikila. The film is an extraordinary narrative feature that seamlessly blends autobiography, biopic, drama and documentary. It investigates the inner workings of a man who is ceaseless and single-minded in his journey for greatness.

The Cutting Tradition

John Howarth, Nancy Durrell McKenna, Narrated by Meryl Streep (United Kingdom) - 47min

A moving and sensitive documentary discussing the complex social, religious, cultural and economic issues that underpin the ongoing practice of female genital mutilation (FGM). The film deliberately raises questions that are critical in understanding why FGM continues to be very common to this day in both rich and poor communities, despite being illegal in many countries of origin.

The Golden Side of the Tracks

David Weintraub (USA) - 32min

The film explores the history and the efforts to gentrify what remains today of Overtown, Miami, referred as the Harlem of the South. Despite facing difficult financial and racial circumstances Overtown rose to become a bustling African-American community until the interstate expressway was built through the heart of the community in the 1960s, uprooting tens of thousands.

The Golden Side of the Tracks

David Weintraub (USA) - 32min

The film explores the history and the efforts to gentrify what remains today of Overtown, Miami, referred as the Harlem of the South. Despite facing difficult financial and racial circumstances Overtown rose to become a bustling African-American community until the interstate expressway was built through the heart of the community in the 1960s, uprooting tens of thousands.

The Reluctant Traveler

Marco Orsini (USA, Ethiopia) - 70min

It wasn't his trip, it wasn't his itinerary, they weren't his friends, but now it's his obligation, his experience and his movie." The film is a journey of an individual out of his comfort zone into the unfamiliar territory. Where White Mischief meets Sherman's March, the film maker encounters the extraordinary people, history and architecture of the world's oldest country and discovers the extraordinary challenges of group-travel, cultural difference and total communication deprivation.

The Road to Nkunda

Douglas Busby (USA, DR Congo) - 83min

In a region where war has raged for many years and almost no news ever comes out of the region, the filmmakers find themselves on an unpredictable quest for an answer. What are the rebels in eastern DR Congo fighting for? There is no handbook to prepare them for what they are about to experience as they push forward towards the ultimate prize, the rebel leader General Nkunda himself. After unsuccessful negotiations with the United Nations and the Congolese Army, they forge ahead, without permission, to find the elusive Rebel General.

Voices of Witness Africa

Cynthia Black (USA) - 30min

Religious authorities in Africa have claimed that there are no gay or lesbian people in their country. This film features the stories of lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender Africans who strive to be faithful to their church and their sexuality.

When Cotton Blossoms

Scott Magie (USA) - 30min

Exactly 100 years ago, carrying only a Bible, a few textbooks, his diploma, and $1.65, Laurence Jones succeeded in creating a school to educate the sons and daughters of impoverished sharecroppers: The Piney Woods Country Life School, in rural Mississippi

Who's Afraid of Ngugi

Manthia Diawara (USA) - 85min

Kenyan writer Ngugi fled Kenya and went into exile in the United States after imprisonment. After more than 25 years in exile, he returns to a hero's welcome. But the same dark vindictive forces that caused him to flee in the first place are still at work. In a surprising twist, his wife, Njeeri, becomes a heroine for speaking out on a taboo subject.

Why Us? Left Behind and Dying

Claudia Pryor (USA) - 85min

A story of a small group of inner-city African-American teenagers exploring the social, cultural, and scientific reasons why HIV rates are disproportionately high in black America and Africa. They explore the connection between HIV and secrecy, gender inequality, and homophobia in the black community. They also find out how prison incarceration, racism, and poverty help the virus flourish in their world.

Yokes and Chains

Michael Lienau (USA) - 90min

International, multi-racial teams journey together to discover how the Trans-Atlantic Slave trade has impacted society right up to the present time. Doing what few have dared to do . . . they confront racism and the horrific legacy of slavery, inspiring dialogue, reconciliation and hope for future generations.

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