The 2015 Africa World Documentary Film Festival

Event Date: 
Nov 5 2015 - 2:00pm - Nov 8 2015 - 9:00pm

Thursday, November 5, 2015
5:45 PM 
Opening Ceremony 
Noise Runs 
Kim Borba, Ashley Panzera (18m, Haiti, USA)
In the aftermath of the 2010 Haiti earthquake, failed reconstruction has pushed social unrest to the breaking point. Protests erupt in the streets, and armed UN soldiers stalk the angry crowds. But a group of young Haitians, driven by their passion for a new Haiti, is sparking social change. To democratize information and offer hope to the population, they produce a radical newspaper, Bri Kouri Nouvèl Gaye (Noise Travels, News Spreads). The documentary follows this team of idealistic citizen journalists as they confront the problems that NGOs and government could not solve. Undaunted by the threat of an oppressive government, they maneuver their way into prison to visit a political prisoner and unravel the story behind his illegal arrest.
Unfazed by the downpour of Tropical Storm Isaac, they take us into the tent camps of Port-au-Prince to investigate the housing crisis that has left more than 150,000 people homeless. With youthful optimism, they strive to capture international attention via Twitter and YouTube. Their on-the-ground accounts take the audience beyond the characterization of Haiti as “the poorest country in the Western Hemisphere,” putting a human face to the statistics and challenging stigmas of victimhood. 
7:00 PM – 9:00 PM
Catherine Murphy (33m, Cuba)
Cuba, 1961: 250,000 volunteers taught 700,000 people to read and write in one year. 100,000 of the teachers were under 18 years old. Over half were women. The documentary explores this story through the personal testimonies of the young women who went out to teach literacy in rural communities across the island - and found themselves deeply transformed in the process.
Garifuna Nation
Carlos de Jesus (82m, Belize, Honduras, Puerto Rico, USA)
The film presents a cultural encounter between two distinct Afro-Caribbean experiences: Afro-Puerto Rican and Garifuna. Through these two parallel perspectives, it examines how the experience of slavery has played itself out and how historical circumstances determine who we are today. Also known as the ‘black Caribs’, the Garifuna were formed when enslaved West Africans joined with Carib Indians to form a culture that has survived for over 212 years - on self-reliance, sacred spirit-possession practices and dance. Now, the Garifuna face the challenge of meshing western lifestyles and modern technology with the long-held values of their community.
Friday, November 6, 2015
2:00 PM – 4:00 PM 
Healing History
Kristin Alexander (20m, Bermuda, USA)
African American performance artist and educator, Mwalimu Melodye Micere Van Putten teaches traditional African principles and values to children and adults in USA and Bermuda. Using movement poetry and music, Mwalimu brings excitement and joy to students while instilling a sense of motivation, self-esteem and pride in their heritage. Her work highlights the positive psychological benefits of an African centered education for all people. The documentary is an uplifting story of healing through learning history. 
Life in Progress
Irene Loebell (99m, South Africa, Switzerland)
Twenty years after the end of apartheid, Life In Progress delivers a close insight into the lives of three adolescents living in a rundown township near Johannesburg called Katlehong, a Sotho word for “progress”. In the dance group Taxido, which fills their days with rehearsals and performances, they find a structure lacking from their daily lives. Jerry, founder, choreographer and manager of the troupe, has transcended his own violent past and passionately urges them on to greater heights. Sometimes too passionately: as they approach adulthood and other priorities emerge, they begin to reject Jerry’s way of maintaining discipline and look for other ways of surviving.
4:30 PM – 6:30 PM 
A Goat for a Vote 
Jeroen van Velzen (51m, Kenya, Netherlands)
The best way to understand a society is to look at its children. Three students at Majaoni Secondary School in Kenya compete for the prestigious position of school president. Winning the annual school election not only affords them power and respect, but guarantees them a future in Kenyan society. Magdalene, who has to prove herself in an environment dominated by boys, has the impossible task of uniting her fellow female students in a fight for equal rights. Harry, from a poor family, hopes to win so he can take care of his family in the future. He struggles against the popular and charming Said, who is not only a natural born leader with a disarming smile but also a fast learner in the game of Kenyan politics. The endless enthusiasm and motivation of these three candidates lay the ground for a fierce election battle.
Gloria Rolando (60m, Cuba, Haiti)
In the early 20th century, thousands of Haitian laborers worked the coffee plantations and sugarcane fields of Cuba, influencing the island’s music, language and culture. But when the market crashed, in the 1930s, many were expelled — sent back across the Windward Passage like so many damaged goods. The film, by one of Cuba’s foremost documentarists, revisits this forgotten chapter, recounting both the memories of Haitian families and the discrimination suffered by their Cuban descendants. The result is part Caribbean social history and part homage to the dreams and hardships of the immigrant experience.
7:00 PM – 9:00 PM
Destination Home 
Maria Seppala, Veera Lehto-Michaud  (46m, Ghana, Liberia, USA, Finland)
A documentary about a Liberian refugee, Samuel ‘Sam’ Reayah and his family who has been separated for five years and live in uncertainty  of waiting for family reunion. The story takes us through two different worlds. While Sam and their younger daughter Ruth continue their lives in Buduburam Refugee Camp in Ghana, his wife Decontee and older daughter Joyce have already started a new life in Rochester, USA. Rochester is a world of skyscrapers dominating the sky and the ever flashing billboards. The city represents the Western way of life; the streets are clean and organized. The world of Buduburam consists of searing sun and shaky huts, streets filled with lively chaos, open gutters and dark nights without electricity. The documentary explores the idea of home. Sam’s family had a home in Liberia, but they had to give it up. They were forced to build homes elsewhere. They built a home in Ghana and they build a home in The United States. They built homes together; they built homes separate from each other. But which home does the heart want?
Omo Child: The River and the Bush 
John Rowe (86m, Ethiopia, USA) 
For many generations the Kara tribal people of the Omo Valley (southwest Ethiopia) believed some children are cursed and that these 'cursed' children bring disease, drought and death to the tribe. The curse is called 'mingi' and mingi children are killed. Lale Labuko, a young educated man from the Kara tribe was 15 years old when he saw a child in his village killed and also learned that he had 2 older sisters he never knew who had been killed. He decided one day he would stop this horrific practice. The film follows Lale’s journey over a five year period along with the people of his tribe as they attempt to change this ancient practice.
Saturday, November 7, 2015
2:00 PM – 3:30 PM 
See Me Now
Glen Mackay (13m, United Kingdom) 
‘See Me Now’ is a fashion film inspired by the quote - "The darker the skin, the uglier they're considered". Upon hearing that, the film maker called upon models and designers of color to showcase the beauty of dark skin. And to send a message that beauty comes from being comfortable in your skin.
Munza Almusafer (21m, Tanzania, Oman) 
The dark-skinned 11-year-old Cholo meets his fair-skinned brother Abdullah for the first time, when their father Said arrives in Zanzibar from Muscat, Oman. Although, strikingly different, the two boys enjoy a crackling chemistry.
Deeper Than Black
Sean Addo (23m, USA) 
A Ghanaian-American filmmaker looks to bridge the divide between his African pedigree and American birthright by confronting the question: 'Who am I, and where do I belong?' Born and raised in the United States to Ghanaian parents, Sean Addo, a product of two different cultures, African-American and African. Propelled by his fear of the loss of his Ghanaian culture, Sean sets off on his quest to clarify his identity. He looks to connect to his African heritage through dance, food, and language. In the process he challenges what it means to be 'Black' in America, and shares a similar story of the new American in a growing multicultural society.
Cape of German Hopes
Anna Sacco (31m, South Africa) 
‘Cape of German Hopes’ is a journey into the life experiences of German families and people of German heritage settled in Cape Town, South Africa. It uncovers how they seek to open up to an African culture while keeping their typical ‘Germanness.’ The film explores both the distinctive differences and the surprisingly similar historical parallels between Germany and South Africa. On a larger scale, the documentary also unpacks such complex topics as identity, trans-nationalism and acculturation. Treasuring one’s own cultural heritage becomes more important in an increasingly mobile society. Consequently, the documentary not only throws light on the local German community, but also attempts to show a blueprint of immigration cultures living all over the world.
4:00 PM – 6:30 PM 
Napps - Memoire of an Invisible Man 
Tami Libermann (30m, Germany)
This film tells the story of Mr. X, but his identity, and his face, is never revealed in it. Mr. X is a West-African asylum seeker living in Berlin without a work permit. As his exposure might put him in danger, he is the one holding the camera instead of appearing in front of it. Mr. X shoots the landscapes and people of Berlin to tell stories about the refugee camp in Italy, about his grandmother in West Africa, about his acquaintance with African drug dealers from Goerlitzer Park, and about the relationship between him, his legal status and his camera.
Far from the Shore (Lejos De La Orilla) 
Javier Sanz (61m, Spain)
Eschewing a linear or realist treatment of a social ‘problem’, the film opts instead for an impressionistic montage of four personal stories. Placing Mariama, Amadou, Abdoulaye and Rahisy (two from the Gambia, one from Senegal and one from Puerto Rico) each in an individual setting that mirrors their quest and its obstacles, the documentary interweaves the heroic and anonymous journeys of people who struggle to transcend their difficulties and create something new. 
7:00 PM – 9:00 PM
My Favorite Things
Chris Philips (5m, Ethiopia)
‘My Favourite Things’ is a short documentary about an enchanting story about poverty, play and the rights of children starring 5-year-old Hennock from Addis Ababa, Ethiopia.
 Dirty Hands: Clean Money
John Goheen (8m, Uganda, USA)
In many African countries garbage is an ever increasing problem. In Uganda's largest city, Kampala, roughly 800 tons of trash is generated each day. With limited government programs to deal with its removal, some enterprising citizens have taken to the streets, finding profitable solutions in some unexpected ways.
Poverty, Inc. 
Michael Matheson Miller (94m, USA)
Fighting poverty is big business, but who profits the most? The West has positioned itself as the protagonist of development, giving rise to a vast multi-billion dollar poverty industry of NGOs, state and multilateral agencies, and for-profit aid contractors. The business of ‘doing-good’ has never done better. Unfortunately, the results have been mixed, in some cases even catastrophic, and leaders in the developing world are growing increasingly vocal in calling for change. Drawing from over 200 interviews filmed in 20 countries, but with considerable footage from Haiti, Poverty, Inc. unearths an uncomfortable side of charity we are all too tempted to ignore. The film invites the viewer to step into the shoes of local entrepreneurs and their colleagues and families, with expert commentary from public leaders, development economists, anthropologists, and others. From TOMs Shoes to international adoptions, from solar panels to U.S. agricultural subsidies, the film challenges each of us to ask the tough question: could I be part of the problem.
Sunday, November 8, 2015
2:00 PM – 3:30 PM 
Remembering Nokutela (uKukhumbula uNokutela)
Cherif Keita (57m, South Africa)
The story of Nokutela Dube, a woman pioneer who paved the way for the liberation of her people in South Africa but forgotten by everyone. The film reveals how her unmarked grave was found and how she was honored almost a century after her death at the age of 44. All too often, the (hi)story of women is reduced to a footnote in the epic of brave men. In Africa, that footnote simply disappears when a woman has not been able to conceive or bear a child.
State Builders
Florence Martin-Kessler, Anne Poiret (70m, South Sudan, France)
State Builders is not a film about forgotten wars and improbable peace. Rather it is a film about the grey zone that occurs between war and peace, when it’s neither quite one nor the other.  In 2011, the Republic of South Sudan became the world's newest nation. After a 50-year civil war, the stakes and hopes are high. But how does one build a country from scratch? The documentary follows a determined UN’s professional Nation Builders - veterans of Kosovo and East Timor - with a 19-point road map that has a price-tag in the billions of dollars, working with the country's newly appointed Vice-President as they attempt to shape the young democracy. The day of its independence in July 2011, South Sudan has a flag, a national anthem, a capital city – Juba - and a president, Salva Kiir, to prove its existence to the world and to its people. Everything else remains to be decided, built, and done: borders need to be set; a constitution drafted; an army and judicial system established, revenues from oil production and income tax perceived - all the basic elements that make up a state.
4:00 PM – 6:00 PM 
Road to Rio 
Nathan Erasmus (52m, Brazil, United Kingdom) 
In greater Fortaleza in the north of Brazil there were 12,777 children and adolescents recorded to be in child labor, living and working on the streets in 2013. ‘Road to Rio’ follows 9 of them, who won the chance to play in the 2014 Street Child World Cup. The film follows as the children go on an inspiring, emotional and often amusing journey while preparing and playing in the tournament. This is more than a fascinating window into the lives of street children; this is their chance to shine!
La Belle Vie: The Good Life 
Rachelle Salnave (62m, Haiti, USA)
Child of elite ‘mulatto’ migrants, Haitian-American filmmaker, Rachelle Salnave, grows up ignorant of the complexities of Haitian class and political power. When she sets out to explore her parents’ country in the wake of the earthquake, she is shocked not only by its poverty but her own relegation to the status of ‘blan’ or ‘dyaspora’. Interweaving her own family stories with other Haitian voices, the film examines the rationale behind its social class system and how it has affected the Haitian-American migrant experience. The film is an optimistic call to forsake division and prejudice, and work as one to rebuild and prosper in the name of a new and stronger Haiti
6:30 PM – 9:00 PM
Featured Caribbean Film
Derek Walcott, Poetry is an island
Ida Does (80mins)
An intimate portrait of Nobel laureate, poet, playwright, and visual artist, Derek Alton Walcott (1930) We visit his art studio, his childhood home, and his current residence in St. Lucia. The film also includes exclusive archive material from the Nobel Prize Festivities in 1992. Finally, and perhaps most importantly, this film is about Walcott’s poetry

The Neville Hall Lecture Theatre
Target Audience: 
Target Audience: 
Target Audience: 
General Public
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