The 2011 African World Documentary Films
125 Franco's Blvd.
Sia Nyorkor, Jacob Templin (USA) - 22min
This documentary tells the story of Franco the Great, an artist who has been painting murals on the storefront gates of 125th street since the assassination of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. in 1968. Today, Franco is known worldwide and single-handedly brings in bus-loads of tourists every Sunday to meet him and take photos of his gates. Now, a massive rezoning and recent City Council vote threatens Franco's legacy. The new requirement bans steel security gates and calls for see-through ones. Old security gates will be replaced with the new ones, basically removing Franco's canvas from underneath him.
A Man and a Stick
Kees-Jan Husselman (Netherlands) - 17min
In a small village in Zambia, far away from running water, electricity or social services and people survive mainly on agriculture, a disabled person does not have many chances to survive. Xavier Chibale, however, has found a stick in the woods that changed his life and is now an example within his community
A Place Without People
Andreas Apostolidis (Greece) - 54min
A film about how the local population of Tanzania has been evicted to make way for the creation of the world's most famous nature reserves. Set in the spectacular Serengeti park and the Ngorongoro crater, the film explores how the Parks came to be and how Western perceptions about nature radically altered east African landscape and society. The film focuses on the people who 'shouldn't be there' not only because their voices are rarely heard but also because they are still being antagonised and excluded, whilst the tourist industry is rapidly depleting the area's natural resources. Rarely heard but also because they are still being antagonised and excluded, while the tourist industry is rapidly depleting the area's natural resources.
Africa Shafted: Under One Roof
Ingrid Martens (South Africa) - 55min
AFRICA SHAFTED is filmed in Ponte building, Africa's tallest residential apartment, built during apartheid in1976 for white people only. Today it is feared, as it is now home to more than 4000 people from every corner of Africa. It is not your everyday film. Nor is it another 'ag shame poor African story'. Using the simple setting of the lifts, the film allows the viewer to be a fly on the wall, and intimately interact face to face with Africa. It puts a human face to refugees and migrants that have traveled so far for a better life, in search of the "African dream", in the continent's most economically booming city, Johannesburg, South Africa. This serious, poignant, humorous, and uplifting film reveals the courage, heart, hope, beauty and stories of daily struggles of Africans from the rest of the continent living in South Africa today. It has a universal message, while it gets to the heart of life in South Africa and the African condition. Ponte Building is Africa's tallest residential building built in 1976 for white people only. Today it's feared, as it's now home to people from every corner of the continent. Africa Shafted has a universal message, while it gets to the heart of life in South Africa and the African condition. This serious, poignant, humorous, and uplifting film reveals the courage, heart, hope, beauty and stories of daily struggles of Africans from the rest of the continent living in South Africa today.
After the Genocide
Manon Boivin (Canada) - 52min
Each year Canada receives 250 - 300,000 immigrants. They come from everywhere. 10 % are refugees. Due to war and persecution, they have witnessed, and been victims of, acts of unimaginable violence. They land here and disappear into Canadian society. Who are they? Have they left the conflicts behind them? Do they feel safe here? How is their integration into Canadian society progressing? Among them we find a Burundian who arrived in Canada in 2001. He was a cameraman in the presidents office of Burundi from 1993 to 1998, a period marked by the assassination of the first Hutu president, the beginning of a civil war, and an explosion of ethnic violence that inflamed the entire region. Another refugee, now a resident of Qubec City, escaped the Congo on foot, eight months pregnant, with her 4 children aged 3 to 9 years old. Both discover that despite everything, this is only the beginning of a difficult road to freedom and peace.
An African Election
Jarreth Merz (Ghana, Switzerland, UK) - 89min
The 2008 presidential elections in Ghana, West Africa, serve as a backdrop for this feature documentary that looks behind-the-scenes at the complex, political machinery of a third world democracy struggling to legitimize itself to its first world contemporaries. At stake in this race are the fates of two political parties that will do almost anything to win. Director Jarreth Merz follows the key players for almost three months to provide an unprecedented insider's view of the political, economic and social forces at work in Ghana. He builds suspense by taking the viewer down the back roads of the nation to capture each unexpected twist and turn in a contest that is always exciting and never predictable. Throughout the film, Merz depicts the pride and humanity of the larger-than-life politicians, party operatives and citizens who battle for the soul of their country.
Paulina Tervo (30) - Ethiopia, United Kingdommin
40 years ago, an illiterate Ethiopian farmer created his own heaven on earth - Awra Amba - a remarkable, rural weaving community in Northern Ethiopia. He was driven by a belief that there is a way out of poverty, hunger and inequality, simply by working hard, reversing traditional values and getting rid of lengthy religious practices. This is the story of his brainchild. It is a story of belief in a better, more equal world where humans dont have to suffer, but live in peace and harmony. The film follows the lives of two women in the village, a mother and her daughter. The daughter has just arrived in the village, seeking refuge with her five children after a violent marriage. We follow her trying to become a member and adjusting to a new way of life.
Bang for your Buck
Seth Chase (Burundi) - 15min
In post conflict Burundi one thing remains affordable to all: the grenade. Journalist Teddy Mazina follows the stories behind the headlines of never-ending explosive lethal attacks. The film will take us to meet the actual victims of the attacks who share with Teddy how it is impossible to have a semblance of unity when it is so easy to solve problems by throwing grenades, rather than working through issues peacefully. The film shows how the personal accounts are living breathing statistics resulting from the greater problem of illegal arms transfers which has handicapped a nation from moving forward in a mature, functional, healthy manner.
Philip Nanton (Barbados, St. Vincents) - 5min
A personal response to sugar cane growing in Barbados.
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. * Cellular Wisdom is an entry from the third AWDFF in 2010. Our appreciation to the director, Lisa Brody, for giving us the opportunity to screen it again this year in Yaunde, Cameroon where the film was originally shot.
Adam Mazo (Rwanda, USA) - 40min
Coexist tells the emotional stories of women who survived the Rwandan genocide in 1994. They continue to cope with the loss of their families as the killers who created this trauma return from prison back to the villages where they once lived. Faced with these perpetrators on a daily basis, the victims must decide whether they can forgive them or not. Their decisions are unfathomable to many, and speak to a humanity that has survived the worst violence imaginable.
Andres Alegria, Anita Johnson, Prentis Hemphill, Claude Marks (USA) - 56min
COINTELPRO may not be a well-understood acronym but its meaning and continuing impact are absolutely central to understanding the government's wars and repression against progressive movements. COINTELPRO represents the state's strategy to prevent movements and communities from overturning white supremacy and creating racial justice. COINTELPRO is both a formal program of the FBI and a term frequently used to describe a conspiracy among government agencies--local, state, and federal--to destroy movements for self-determination and liberation for Black, Brown, Asian, and Indigenous struggles, as well as mount an institutionalized attack against allies of these movements and other progressive organizations. COINTELPRO 101 is an educational film that will open the door to understanding this history. This documentary will introduce viewers new to this history to the basics and direct them to other resources where they can learn more. The intended audiences are the generations that did not experience the social justice movements of the sixties and seventies.
Betty Bastidas (USA) - 24min
DreamTown is a story capturing the lives of three Afro-Ecuadorians in their ardent pursuit of playing professional soccer. Players, Ulyses, Carlos, and Anibals contrasting accounts embody the spirit of soccer as a vehicle to transcend racial, economic and social barriers that previously have divided a country and neglected this region. It is a story of striving for athletic success juxtaposed against the story of Ecuador's disenfranchised Afro-descendants, whose esteemed athletes have brought Ecuador to the World Cup. The film is set in the impoverished backwater towns of El Chota Valley, and captures a region that, prior to the 2002 World Cup, was invisible to the rest of the world.
Enter the Demon Drummer
Ram Loevy (Israel) - 70min
It seemed like a simple story: a group of Israeli 'drum addicts' travels to the Republic of Mali, to study the Djembe, the ceremonial African drumming. Gradually it becomes a highly charged encounter between black Muslims and white Jews, between Hi-Tec experts and poor villagers and ends as a heart breaking love affair.
Enter the Demon Drummer
Ram Loevy (Israel) - 70min
It seemed like a simple story: a group of Israeli 'drum addicts' travels to the Republic of Mali, to study the Djembe, the ceremonial African drumming. Gradually it becomes a highly charged encounter between black Muslims and white Jews, between Hi-Tec experts and poor villagers and ends as a heart breaking love affair.
Fati and Aissatta
Baba Hillman (France) - 79min
Fati, 23, and Aissatta, 16, live in the banlieue north of Paris, in a cité called "La Rose des Vents." Their father emigrated from Mauritania to France 40 years ago to work on the assembly line at Citroën. Shot over a period of three years, the film follows the stories of the two sisters, their refusal of traditional ideas of French identity and their search for independence within a community where secularization, radicalization and patriarchal rule are continually in confrontation.
Feast 'amp; Sacrifice
Clare Major (USA) - 25min
Feast 'amp; Sacrifice is a carefully observed portrait of a Senegalese family living on the ragged edges of globalization. Questions of work, gender, and aspirations emerge as the family prepares for the biggest holiday of the year, the Islamic Feast of the Sacrifice.
Fire Burn Babylon
Sarita Siegel (United Kingdom) - 53min
Celebrated DJ Don Letts, narrates us through the story of a crew of Rastafarians evacuated to London in the aftermath of a volcanic eruption in Montserrat. Living in exile in inner city East London, three friends reinvent themselves as rude-boy rappers and small time hustlers on the nightclub circuit. The filmmaker has been a part of Montserrats exiled Rastafarian community for several years and blends the point of view of three charismatic Rastamen, the elders that guide them and the women who love them. Elroy, Lyndon and I-Shaka pitch between enjoying the thrills of the city and committing to Rastafarian ideals as they run the streets of London, chase success in music, become fathers and run into trouble with the Law. Will their dreams of celebrity be realized before the law catches up with them? Can these mighty-lions-of-Judah remain true to their spiritual identity?
Hear Us: Women affected by political violence in Zimbabwe speak out
Oshoveli Munashimue (USA, Zimbabwe) - 16min
In 2008, political violence erupted throughout Zimbabwe as a result of the contested national elections. Zimbabwean women of all ages, targeted for their political affiliations, were abducted from their workplaces and homes, raped, tortured, and beaten in secret torture centers. The local police have ignored these women's pleas for protection and justice, and national leaders have been equally unresponsive to local and international demands for an end to the violence. The documentary features four of these women, who have come forward to demand justice from the Zimbabwean government and the Southern African Development Community. These women, who struggle daily with the physical and psychological scars of their abuse, tell their stories to uncover the enduring effects of this violence on the women of Zimbabwe and their families.
Helluva Way to Treat a Soldier
Helluva Way to Treat a Soldier (USA) - 60min
A century after his death, the remains of Private Thomas Smith, a 19th century 'buffalo soldier,' were stolen from a remote cemetery in New Mexico. Making matters worse, the perpetrator then kept the soldier's remains in his home for thirty years. When he died at fort Craig in 1865, Private Smith was buried with military honors. How he wound up as a macabre trophy in someone's personal artifact collection is the focus of the documentary film 'Helluva Way to Treat a Soldier.'
Christopher Redmond (Burundi, Canada) - 22min
In 1972, civil war and ethnic massacres forced hundreds of thousands of Burundians from their homes. Most fled to Tanzania, where they would live as refugees for generations. Thirty-six years later, they are finally finding a place to call home. Home Free follows three Burundian families; one has chosen to stay in Tanzania and become citizens, another.has chosen to return to Burundi after some 35 years and a third that has resettled in Canada. The film reveals the process developed by the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees to handle refugee situations around the world and humanizes one of Africa's most prolonged situations.
Ida's Daughter: The World of Eintou Pearl Stringer
Elizabeth Morton, Joe Reese (Trinidad and Tobago) - 75min
Former Poet Laureate of Trinidad & Tobago, Eintou Springer, reveals her life in rural Santa Cruz, migration to urban centers and primary school from which she experienced the horrors of ghetto life and Indian racism. Avid reader and budding poet/writer she is encouraged and grows to be story-teller, poet, librarian, playwright, activist, champion's of women's rights. Extracts of her two plays, plus a poetry performance, coupled with interviews with family & friends, academics and dramatizations of selected aspects of her life.
Kamenge, Northern Quarters
Manu Gerosa, Salva Mu (Italy, Spain) - 59min
Kamenge, Northern Quarters is the picture of a whole country, Burundi, which asks for freedom and justice, the ideals Alexis Sinduhije is fighting for. The Northern Quarters of the capital city Bujumbura are the symbol of one of the most cruel wars the world has ever known, the conflict between hutu and tutsi. The background and the glances of the ones who have not left are interwoven with the life of Alexis who gave up his job as a journalist in 2007 to stand for President in 2010. It is possible to build a liveable Burundi. You must only believe it and take the risk. Alexis says. In Burundi, although the present government was elected democratically, the people who profess freedom of speech put their life in danger.
Issac Goeckeritz (Kenya) - 4min
Hours from any major city, the Kenyan wilderness is home to a native people rarely seen by the outside world. Kenya Safari is a series of three short films created by documentary filmmaker Issac Goeckeritz that showcase the creativity and beauty of the Kenyan people. The first segment, Kenyan Road-trip, takes the viewer on a seemingly perilous journey by way of a jam packed Kenyan highway. In the second segment, Kenyan Soccer, Goeckeritz captures an exciting pick up game of soccer played by Kenyan school children. The children's ingenuity to turn a bundle of rags into a soccer ball offers inspirational amidst difficult circumstances. Finally, the film concludes with Faces of Kenya, a touching montage of Kenyan women and children. Kenya Safari was filmed by Goeckeritz on a recent humanitarian expedition. Segments of the film have been used to raise funds for various humanitarian and non-profit organizations assisting the Kenyan people.
Kids Living with Slim
Sam Kauffmann (USA, Uganda) - 50min
A follow up of the winner of the short documentaries category in our inaugural film festival in 2007. This film begins in 2004, when seven African children, ages 6 to 17, talk openly about what it's like to be HIV positive. The story continues, five years later, when the filmmaker returns to Africa in an attempt to find those seven children and document the changes in their lives.
King Lati the First
Uri Bar-on (Israel) - 70min
Aziz Diouf, Lati's father, arrived in Israel from Senegal as a foreign worker 17 years ago. Irena, Lati's mother, immigrated to Israel from Belarus 15 years ago. Eight year old Lati is an Israeli as Western as can be, he likes McDonalds, is a big fan of Maccabi Tel-Aviv basketball club and speaks only Hebrew. One afternoon Lati's life gets turned around when his father tells him that he is the guardian of a royal dynasty in Senegal. The father's dream is for Lati to be king of the tribe one day, ruling over more than one million people. Diouf expects Lati to learn how to be king of an African tribe so that he can 'save' the tribe and lead it back to its former glory.
Laduma: Benin's Journey
Richard Shepherd (USA) - 98min
The film follows the underdog national soccer team of the poor West African nation of Benin (known as The Squirrels) as they try to reach the 2010 World Cup Finals in South Africa, the first ever on African soil. The film follows 5 players on the team, young men crossing the continent to play, suffering tragedy and enjoying good times. The film examines the role of football in community building and whether this process of these young men discovering their continent can help lead to a pan-African spirit and unity. The film also introduces the fascinating country of Benin, its tragic slave trade history, its historical importance as the center of the kingdom of Dahomey, its renown as the birthplace of voodoo (the film visits voodoo shrines, including the most powerful in the country), its landscapes and wildlife, its people, and its music and dance. It also features interviews and music from internationally-known Beninese singer and philanthropist Angelique Kidjo, and Ziggy and Rohan Marley.
Lamidi Olonade Fakeye: The Life of a Master Carver
Joe Reese (USA) - 42min
An international ambassador for African art, Nigerian woodcarver Lamidi Fakeye and friends tell his remarkable life story. Featuring stunning sculptures spanning a 70-year career.
Andrew Subin, John Billingsley (USA) - 50min
A voyage down the longest lake in the world aboard Africa's last surviving steamship reveals how people living along the remote shores of Lake Tanganyika continue to rely on this battered old relic of the German colonial era for their livelihood as they have for almost one hundred years. Narrated by Chiwoniso Maraire, a rising star in African music, and featuring an entirely original, locally recorded soundtrack, this documentary brings Liemba's colorful history to life and celebrates her role in this region of Africa. Compelling passenger narratives, breathtaking footage and upbeat music combine to take the audience on an unforgettable trip down Lake Tanganyika.
Mas Man An Exploration into the Carnival Art of Peter Minshall
Dalton Narine, Benedict Joseph (Trinidad and Tobago) - 56min
Peter Minshall awakens topics about modern humanity that not only display a curious slant in art but also inform audiences that are privileged to discern his work, whether in the annual Carnival in Trinidad or at appearances around the world. The film celebrates Minshall's three decades in the Mas (not to be confused with masquerade, for Mas hews more to the inventiveness of mobile street theater than simply dressing up). And it feasts on an anthology of provocative themes, largely about evil and good - the incompleteness of man, his spirituality and environment. Minshall populates such presentations with 3,000 or so players who are willing to pay to perform as they transport his satirical outlook on life through the streets of Port of Spain, Trinidad's capital city, to the beat of soca rhythms and East Indian tassa drums. By mingling traditional craft with novel ideas and exhibiting his themes as upper crust art during the two-day pre-Lenten festival, Minshall eventually lands a global platform for his theatrics. It is the opening ceremonies of the summer Olympic Games in Barcelona and he's named as one of the artistic directors. Four years later, Minshall reprises his role in Atlanta, and again at the winter Games in Salt Lake City, for which he earned an Emmy. Art has its share of uncredited heroes, and Mas Man assesses the heft of a Trinidadian artist's refreshing point of view about the perils of man and the environment.
Alcides Soares (USA) - 14min
Alcides Soares is a sixteen-year-old AIDS orphan, one of half a million living in Mozambique today. An American television writer (Neal Baer) and movie director (Chris Zalla) gave Alcides a movie camera and taught him how to shoot. The result is a moving chronicle directed by Alcides himself. His journey to find a family and make a new life in a country that has been ravaged by AIDS is a story repeated millions of times everyday throughout Africa. As Alcides's story unfolds, we meet the orphans of Reencontro, an organization in Moputo that provides these children with bare sustenance. The Reencontro orphans were also taught photography by a group of American and Mozambican photographers and provided with still cameras so they could tell their own stories about the impact of AIDS on their lives. Their pictures, sometimes tragic, often hopeful and always honest, appear throughout 'MOZAMBIQUE' as a reminder that these children's voices must be heard. In telling his story, Alcides finds an elderly woman to live with and, unexpectedly, is reunited with his younger brother whom he hasn't seen in ten years. AIDS tears families apart, but the resilience of children like Alcides can make new families out of tragedy.
Niger '66, A Peace Corps Diary
Judy Irola (Niger, USA) - 75min
In the summer of 1996 a group of 65 idealistic Peace Corps volunteers headed for Africa and landed in the dusty, heat-scorched desert of Niger, where we stayed for two years, working in agriculture, digging wells and starting health clinics for women and their babies. In 2008 five of us returned to Niger to revisit the country, see our old friends and witness how our work has improved the lives of the people in Niger. The documentary explores the culture shock of re-entry into the US in the turmoil of 1968 and how our experiences in Africa influenced our future work. This is our collective story.
Yoruba Richen (South Africa) - 53min
Promised Land follows two black communities in South Africa that are trying to get land back they say their ancestors were removed from during apartheid. The land is currently owned by white landowners and the film follows the multi-year efforts of both groups to get and keep possession of the land. The Megkareng are an impoverished, semi-literate tribe who are up against a coalition of wealthy white farmers and developers who say the Mekgareng have no right to claim the land. The Molamus are an educated, middle - class black family armed with lawyers and financial resources. They are fighting Hannes Visser a white farmer who refuses to vacate the contested land. Visser says it is his business, his livelihood and that he has nowhere else to go. Through these stories, the epic battle over land and race is played out with very real consequences for all sides. The film raises the fundamental questions of what is a fair price to get justice for a historical wrong and who must pay. Promised Land is unique in showing both sides of the land conflict and examining the intense economic and political exigencies that land inequality has created in South Africa. The audience will see why many inside the country call the land issue 'the ticking time bomb' that has the potential to destroy the fragile racial compact that the new South Africa was built upon.
Michael Wilson (South Africa, USA) - 89min
The documentary details the events that lead up to what South African's have coined 'Mandela's miracle,' a strategy that prevented a bloodbath and shepherded in a peaceful transition from apartheid to a democracy. It is driven by the notion that even the most terrible tyranny can be overcome through reconciliation, as both the oppressed and the oppressors need to be liberated from the vice-grip of blind prejudice and injustice. The film also explores the perspective of peacemakers who brought about the creation of the Rainbow Nation: Desmond Tutu, FW de Klerk, Ahmed Kathrada, Zindzi Mandela and many more. In addition, the film makers visit Clint Eastwood on the set on Invictus, a film that to show how President Mandela unites South Africa when it hosts the 1995 Rugby World Cup.
Resilience: Stories of Single Black Mothers
Lana Lovell (Canada) - 48min
The film is an intimate, richly detailed documentary that confronts long-held stereotypes by stepping inside the lives of three real women in the real world. With honesty, intelligence and humor, Nancy, Simone and Gloria reflect on their experiences of balancing single parenthood, working life, relationships and the fulfillment of their own goals in the context of a society that is often harshly judgmental. By interweaving these intimate stories, the documentary offers a deeper understanding of the challenges, practical strategies and dreams of three resilient women and, indeed, of many black single mothers in Canada.
Shadows In The Forest
Matthew Prouty (USA) - 17min
The indigenous communities of Cameroon are losing the very essence of their culture and are powerless to prevent it. These communities, commonly known as Pygmies, have lived in the forests of the Congo Basin for thousands of years and are now being removed from their land. Their own government does not acknowledge their existence and as their protests go unheard their land is destroyed and replaced by uninhabitable palm oil plantations. Foreign companies have privatized the land and thus locals see little, if any benefit at all. There are those who have come to aid the Pygmies in their plight, but they are desperately in need of funding and support. Samuel Nguiffo, founder of CED (Centre pour l'Environnement et le Environnement), has been guiding the Baka and Bagyeli through this trying time and is helping them find their voice. He has trained several communities to map their land with GPS devices as a way to establish their territory and make their presence felt. As soon as they are forced to live outside of the forest, their culture will inevitably fade. The forest is their life.
Suridh Hassan (United Kingdom) - 77min
Soka Afrika is a feature length documentary film celebrating African football in the run up to World Cup 2010. Following the different paths of aspiring young African players from South Africa, Ivory Coast, Egypt and Cameroon, Soka Afrika explores the power of football to influence Africa for better or worse. Follow Kermit Erasmus and Ndomo Sabo as they pursue very different routes to potential stardom and witness as a former Cameroon international makes it his mission to save those hopefuls falling through the cracks.
Oriol Canals (France, Spain) - 94min
Every year, immigrants beach on the Spanish coasts. At times, it's like they've always been there, as if they were part of some strange rites of spring, irrevocably doomed to be washed up on the shores of my land. Nameless faces haunting my thoughts... How to film people who are afraid to be seen? How to tell their stories when all they want is to forget? The strength and originality of Sombras (shadows) is that it gives a voice to illegal immigrants as they tell their stories, full face, to their families back in Africa. These audiovisual letters home form the structure of the film. Scraps of shattered lives. A brief journey from the shadows into the light. Catharsis. Speaking directly to us, looking us in the eye, they hold up a mirror to whatever is left of our humanity.
Strangers No More
Karen Goodman, Kirk Simon (USA) - 40min
In the heart of Tel Aviv, there is an exceptional school where children from forty-eight different countries and diverse backgrounds come together to learn. Many of the students arrive at Bialik-Rogozin fleeing poverty, political adversity and even genocide. Here, no child is a stranger. The film follows several students' struggle to acclimate to life in a new land while slowly opening up to share their stories of hardship and tragedy.
The Stars Know Our Home
Dhruv Sharma, Gregg Lillie, Kelsie Steinke, Marc Shuller, Tyler Gurd (USA) - 14min
Home to the San for thousands of years, the Kalahari Desert has become the focus of a critical human rights disaster. The Stars Know Our Home explores the work of two San leaders who refuse to watch their ancient traditions disappear to make room for tourist attractions and diamond mines. Living in a country that considers the San to be categorized as 'fauna' rather than human beings, Roy Sesana and Jumanda Gakelebone are in a race against time to protect the rights and traditions of one of the world's oldest peoples.
The Stinking Ship
Bagassi Koura (USA) - 27min
'The Stinking Ship' is a 26 minute documentary film that chronicles the odyssey of an oil toxic waste shipment and the human tragedy that followed the dumping of the ship's cargo in the middle of an African city causing perhaps one of the biggest environmental disasters of the last decade. The film starts with a view of the ship, the Probo Koala, when on August 19, 2006, it sneaked into Abidjan and spread its toxic cargo across Abidjan, Cote d'Ivoire's largest city. Weeks earlier, after numerous attempts in several places within the USA and the Mediterranean, the ship sailed to the Netherlands at a specialist facility. But Trafigura quickly found the disposal cost to be too expensive. Probo Koala then sailed to Africa and found in Cote d'Ivoire what they called 'an experienced subcontractor:' a local company with no waste handling experience at all. On August 19, 2006, a fleet of trucks unloaded the ship's cargo in the cover of the night at trash sites across the city, causing what the national newspaper then called 'The Ivorian Chernobyl'. More than 100,000 intoxicated people sought medical consultations and many died within days. Since then, Trafigura has dismissed any responsibility, but has still paid a quarter billion dollars, most of which ($200 millions) was paid to the local government to protect the London-based company from ever being sued in Africa.
The Team that Never Played
Greg Appel (Australia) - 54min
In the 1970's South African soccer players were some of the best in the world. But because they agreed to support sporting sanctions against the apartheid regime they never played in the international arena. Their legacy however, is very significant. The documentary is told primarily through the eyes of three of the star township players of that era, three players who should have been international superstars but whose careers were cut short by the politics of the time. These stories will capture the world of the fans, helpers and the township youth of today whose hopes and dreams seem to be so different and yet can benefit from the experience the legends of old can offer.
The ZAMBEZI - Part 1: Source of Life
Michael Schlamberger (Austria) - 52min
THE ZAMBEZI tells us in two parts the full story of its journey and the life that the river controls from the source in Zambia to the delta in Mozambique. 'Zambezi - Source of Life' is the first part of this visually stunning two part series that follows the river from its headwaters to the thundering power of the Victoria Falls. As the river ebbs and flows with the season, the Zambezi dominates the life of both the wild animals and the human cultures that depend upon its waters. This is the story of the river through the times of rain and plenty to the dry months when its waters are the only source of life.
Mason Bendewald (Tanzania, USA) - 82min
Tunahaki is the courageous story of a group of African orphans that practice acrobatics to survive. An American volunteer promises to bring them to America to study with Cirque du Soleil. In America they are treated like superstars performing at sold out shows and honored at celebrity fundraisers that raise huge donations. The trip culminates with the children visiting Cirque Du Soleil in Las Vegas. But the children must return to Africa where the impact from the trip has sobering effects on everyone involved.
Aoibheann O'Sullivan (Ireland) - 14min
In a dusty, dilapidated school on the outskirts of the Nigerian capital city, Abuja, a group of actors and radio technicians come together in searing 40'C heat to record the 17th series of 'Story Story'. This much loved radio soap opera is set in a bustling motor park somewhere in West Africa, and it uses drama to trigger discussions on a variety of topical issues.'Tuned In' takes us behind the scenes to meet the cast and crew as they reunite in Abuja and record the entire series in an intense and grueling 2-week schedule.
Twiga Stars: Tanzania's Soccer Sisters
Nisha Ligon (Tanzania, Thailand, USA) - 78min
Follow a year in the life of the Twiga Stars, Tanzania's national women's football team, as they come together for their biggest competition ever. Through the gruel of intensive practices, the heartbreak of team cuts, and the tragedies of life that strike along the way... the girls support each other and work together to achieve what no one could have imagined. Cheer on the Twiga Stars as they fight together to prove 'wanawake wanaweza,' meaning 'women are capable.'
Unearthing the Pen
Carol Salter (Uganda, United Kingdom) - 13min
A young goatherd in northern Uganda yearns to be able to read and write. But the odds are stacked against him. Forty years ago, tribal elders buried a pen, placing a curse on the written word. Unearthing the Pen is an intimate portrait of a boys struggle to reconcile tradition with his desire to learn.
Wheels of Change
Alexandre Trudeau, Booker Sim, Jeff Peeler (Canada) - 45min
Wheels of Change is a story about the transformative power of the bicycle. It is an intimate portrait of the Africa we rarely read about in the papers or see on TV, an Africa with good news stories, where conditions are improving, and where dreams sometimes come true. Through our host and guide, Bob, who is on a personal journey to decide whether to become chief of his remote northern village, we learn how something as simple as a bicycle is changing the face of a nation.
Where Do I Stand?
Molly Blank (South Africa) - 38min
When xenophobic attacks broke out across South Africa in 2008, many were shocked by a violence that felt like a violation of the principles of their democratic nation. Where Do I Stand? is a window into the lives of seven young people grappling with their actions during and after this violence. They include a Rwandan refugee, a girl wrestling with the reality of foreigners in her township, a boy facing calls of cowardice, a girl whose family sheltered their Malawian gardener. This violence was another challenge to a country still struggling with the legacy of apartheid -- poverty, unemployment, racial divisions. Where Do I Stand? captures the optimistic voices of youth struggling with their experiences and carving out their own places in this complex nation.
While Women Weep
Nikole Lim (USA) - 30min
War. Famine. Disease. Poverty. These words often correspond with the ongoing crises in Kenya. Women are at the heart of these issues solely because of their gender. Yet despite such political unrest, social turmoil, skewed sexism and relentless poverty, there are enthralling stories of strength, perseverance and dignity. In this documentary, Genes, Peninah and Grace share stories of triumph over adversity. Their lives are dedicated to empowering widows and orphans to live freely in hope.
Wrong Side of the Bus
Rod Freedman (Australia) - 56min
There is a high price to pay for being a bystander. Sidney Bloch, a professor of psychiatry, returns to South Africa from Melbourne for his medical school reunion, determined to resolve his guilt for colluding with Apartheid, that has troubled him for forty years. He is accompanied by his teenage son, Aaron who turns out to be his harshest critic. Wrong Side of the Bus is one man's journey to forgiveness.