International Studies and Programs

Birmingham

 

Alabama Jazz Hall of Fame, the Carver Theatre
Birmingham, AL

Thursday, February 16, 2012
2:00 PM - 4:00 PM

Twilight Revelation: Episodes in the Life & Times of Emperor Haile Selassie
Yemane I Demessie (58m, Ethiopia, USA)

The documentary film explores and analyzes watershed events during the reign of the former Ethiopian emperor, Haile Selassie. Using a wealth of archival footage and photographs, the documentary reexamines the imperial administration through the eyes of numerous notable individuals who played substantive roles and worked closely with the emperor. The featured witnesses include former ministers, a general, a state attorney and a judge, parliamentarians, high ranking civil servants and staff from the royal court. It also featured members of the royal family including his grandchildren. The observations and narratives of these individuals shed a new light on the personality, leadership style and the myth behind Ethiopia's last emperor.

These Streets Belong To Us
Shareen Anderson, Lisa Henry (54m, South Africa)

The documentary looks at how ordinary South Africans are coping with the scourge of crime and violence. The film tells of three different Johannesburg communities: Kensington, a middle class suburb that is jolted into action after a street security guard is murdered while on duty; Alexandra, a mostly poor black township that has formed a community policing forum that patrols the streets, lending a helping hand to the overburdened police; and Hillbrow, a densely populated inner city neighborhood, which was a 'no go' zone for police for many years, but is now undergoing massive regeneration. The film is an inspiring look at how neighbors from disparate lives become empowered to stand up and take back their community, with a hopeful vision of the future.


4:30 PM - 6:20 PM

Real Voodoo
Sandra M. Whiteley (52m, Haiti, Canada)

In January 2010 a few days after Haiti suffered a massive earthquake, evangelical leader Pat Robertson went on air to blame the devastation on Haitians' 'pact with the devil.' He was talking about Voodoo. Was he right? Is Voodoo evil? To find out what Voodoo is, the film makers decided to make many trips to Haiti pre and post-earthquake filming Voodoo ceremonies in public places, sanctuaries, and in the homes of believers. The documentary is about their findings. It is not Pat Robertson's Voodoo, it is rather something else.

Abyssinia Ethiopia Meeting Point (Abyssinia Ethiopia terre des faces brulées)
Denis Khalifa (51m, France)

The meeting of Genet, an Ethiopian Jew and Salomon, an orthodox Christian, takes us into the heart of Ethiopia's history and religious traditions. They travel 900 km, showing us their unique universe. They finally arrive into the whirlwind of the Ethiopian Epiphany, the most spectacular and colorful event in the Horn of Africa.

6:30 PM - 7:00 PM

Welcoming Ceremony/Opening Reception

7:15 PM - 10:00 PM

Surfing Soweto
Sara Blecher (85m, South Africa.)

Over the course of the last 3 years Cinga Productions has been following and documenting the lives of three of the most notorious train surfers in Soweto: Bitch Nigga, Lefa and Mzembe. We have followed them on to the top of trains hurtling through Soweto. We have followed them into the heroin dens of Hilbrow, and jails with names like Sun City - all in the hope of understanding their frustrations and documenting the lives of the new generation of youth in Soweto. Surfing Soweto is the story of this forgotten generation.

Indochina: Traces of a Mother (Indochine Sur Les Traces D'une Mere)
Idrissou Mora Kpai (74m, Benin, France)

Between 1946 and 1954, over 60,000 African soldiers were enlisted to fight the Viet Minh. Pitted against one another by circumstances, these two colonized peoples came into contact and a number of African soldiers took Vietnamese women as wives. Out of these unions, numerous mixed-race children were born. At the end of the war, the colonial army ordered that all the black children be repatriated to Africa, officially to protect them from the Viet Minh. While some children left with their mothers and fathers, others were simply taken away by their fathers, leaving their mothers behind. Abandoned in orphanages, those that had neither mother nor father were put up for mass adoption by African officers, as was the case with Christophe. Christophe long avoided facing the scars and identity complexes left by this abrupt separation from his mother and homeland. By encouraging him to undertake a journey into his own past, the film opens a little-known chapter of the Indochina war.

Friday, February 17, 2012
2:00 PM - 3:50 PM

The Royal Knowledge
Molteni Francesco (23m, Tanzania, USA)

Near Arusha (Tanzania), Msei Pete and Mama C, two former Black Panther from the 70's, run the UAACC (United African Alliance Community Center). The Center is founded on the principle of sharing knowledge in order to empower the community. Three years ago, they open an orphanage inside the center to give home to the parentless children of the area. The documentary follows the children at the orphanage exploring and recording their world using video cameras.

A Lot like You
Eliaichi Kimaro (80m, Tanzania)

Eliaichi Kimaro is a mixed-race, first-generation American who traces her father's footsteps back to a coffee farm on the slopes of Mt. Kilimanjaro. There she discovers both the beauty and the brutality of this world her father left behind 40 years earlier. This film raises questions about the cultures we inherit and the cultures we choose to pass down, and reveals how simply bearing witness to another's suffering can break silences that have lasted lifetimes.

4:15 PM - 6:20 PM

We Want What's Ours (Sifuna Okwethu)
Bernadette Atuahene (19m, USA)

We Want What's Ours is a documentary short filmed in South Africa and is about loss, resistance, identity and the elusiveness of justice as experienced by the Ndolila family in their quest to get back their family land stolen by the apartheid government in 1973. Standing in their way are working class black homeowners who purchased portions of the Ndolila's land in the 1990s. For the homeowners, the land and houses they have legally purchased are a reward for their hard work. For the Ndolilas, the land is part of their family legacy and hence deeply intertwined with their identity. Both sides have a legitimate right to the land, but whose rights will prevail?

Family Portrait in Black and White
Julia Ivanova (99m, Canada)

Olga Nenya, from a small Ukrainian town, is raising sixteen black orphans in the country of Slavic blue-eyed blonds. The reality of growing up as a bi-racial child in Eastern Europe, a rare and truly visible minority, is not for the faint of heart. These children always have to be on guard against the world that surrounds them.

6:30 PM - 7:00 PM

Discussion Session

7:30 PM - 10:00 PM

Who is Wright
Mike Mo, Kevin D'Angelo (25m, USA)

Step into the daily struggle of a young beat and rap artist from South Philadelphia who fights to keep his dream alive in spite of certain family dilemmas. In documenting the daily life of Julius Wright, a beat artist and MC, the film reveals the unnerving realities with which many young South Philadelphians live. Angered at the world and his position in the gun-battle and drug-riddled environment surrounding him, Julius attempts to find solace in rap beats that he and his peers perform. As "Lyrical God", his rap persona, he strives for acceptance in the local hip-hop community. Music may be Julius' way out. He has the ability to bring people together through his beats; however, he struggles to bring his own family together.

Polar Reversal
Alistair Johnson (4m, Canada)

Based on a scene from the 1934 film "Imitation of Life" this short documentary illustrates the central absurdity of racism. It does this using a uniquely powerful device, reversing the polarity of Euro/African racism. This system claimed to divide White from Black but that is a conceit and the distinction was between White and non-White. Anyone with a trace of African ancestry was a slave or regarded as inferior. By reversing the polarity we create a Black/non-Black world so that anyone with a trace of European ancestry is regarded as inferior. This is counter intuitive and visually stunning. This short film shows how and why that came about and that for all the pain and suffering it causes the racist premise is completely ridiculous.


Beats Rhymes & Life: The Travels of a Tribe Called Quest*
Michael Rapaport (97m, USA)

Having forged a 20-year run as one of the most innovative and influential hip hop bands of all time, the Queens NY collective known as 'A Tribe Called Quest' have kept a generation hungry for more of their groundbreaking music since their much publicized breakup in 1998. The director documents the inner workings and behind the scenes drama that follows the band to this day. He explores what's next for, what many claim, are the pioneers of alternative rap.

Saturday, February 18, 2012
2:00 PM - 4:00 PM

The Great Mafia Orange Squeeze
Sophia Luvara (28m, UK)

Italy's Southern region of Calabria behaves like a rogue State. Here, the 'Ndrangheta (Calabrian Mafia) hold sway. They are the de facto Government, the de facto law and, in the countryside, the main employer. Thousands of African Immigrants have found this out the hard way. Quasi legal migrants, coming direct from Africa are drowning to Calabria by the work - harvesting oranges. What awaits them is pure misery and semi-slavery. They become trapped by government bureaucracy and by poverty. Their employers are the Mafia, so they have little course to complain about the level of wages. They cannot leave Italy, they don't have the right papers, yet they cannot join society, because they have not got the right papers. On one night in January this year, two of them were shot by the locals in Rosarno. The mostly young African men rioted in this small backwater town, which is dominated by the Ndrangheta.

*The film was courteously provided by Birmingham's Hot 107.7 Radio station (Cumulus Media-Birmingham).

Fambul Tok
Sara Terry (82m, USA)

Victims and perpetrators of Sierra Leone's brutal civil war come together for the first time in an unprecedented program of tradition-based truth-telling and forgiveness ceremonies. Through reviving their ancient practice of fambul tok (family talk), Sierra Leoneans are building sustainalbe peace at the grass-roots level -- succeeding where the international community's post-conflict efforts failed. Filled with lessons for the West, this film explores the depths of a culture that believes that true justice lies in redemption and healing for individuals -- and that forgiveness is the surest path to restoring dignity and building strong communities.

4:30 PM - 6:30 PM

Body and Soul (De corpo e alma)
Matthieu Bron (54m, Mozambique)

The film tells the stories of three young Mozambicans with physical disabilities, living in the townships of Maputo, Mozambique's capital city, performing dance, the art of the body. The documentary follows the daily lives of these three young Mozambicans and reveals their physical, psychological and emotional challenges. In a world where visual input (physical appearance, clothes, etc.) is a powerful basis for social judgment and positioning, the film tries to explore the way they look at themselves and others as well as raises universal questions about self-acceptance and how to find one's place in society.

Street Journeys
Tracy Christian (58m, USA)

For the street children of Nairobi, hope for the future is dim-until renowned Kenyan actress Anne Wanjugu lifts their spirits and awakens their joy through the power of the theater. Given a home and the chance to express their gifts on stage, the orphaned children flourish, but an unexpected event puts their resilience to the test as they journey from down-and-out Nairobi to the bright lights of Broadway.

6:45 PM - 7:15 PM

Discussion Session: Facilitated by Ms. Dowoti Desir, Founder DDPA Watch Group NYC

7:30 PM - 10:00 PM

18 Days
Tarek Abouamin (19m, Egypt)

In an 18-day popular uprising that toppled a decades-long oppressive regime, the people of Egypt rose to change the social and political landscape of the region and the world. Many Egyptians paid with their lives in a fight against corruption and autocracy. They fought bravely for basic civil liberties, justice and freedom from a government that tortured, murdered its citizens, and embezzled billions of public money. Countless people risked their lives to tell the story to the world. This film is made with footage shot by protesters, revolutionaries, and everyday Egyptians.

We Win or We Die
Mathew Millan (21m, USA)

February, 2011. The people of Benghazi revolt against the brutal regime of Moammar Gaddafi. Yet standing in the way of liberation is the 2-mile sprawling fortress known as the Katiba. Holding hundreds of soldiers and heavy artillery, it stands poised to rain death down upon the protesters. The film is the story of an ordinary Libyan who understands that there is but one way to stop the bloodshed and one way to gain freedom. The sprawling fortress, the fist of Gaddafi, the Katiba must fall...

The Black Power Mixtape 1967-1975*
Göran Olsson (92m, Sweden)

The film mobilizes a treasure trove of 16mm material shot by Swedish journalists who came to the US drawn by stories of urban unrest and revolution. Gaining access to many of the leaders of the Black Power Movement-Stokely Carmichael, Bobby Seale, Angela Davis and Eldridge Cleaver among them-the filmmakers captured them in intimate moments and remarkably unguarded interviews. Thirty years later, this lush collection was found languishing in the basement of Swedish Television. Director Göran Olsson and co-producer Danny Glover bring this footage to light in a mosaic of images, music and narration chronicling the evolution one of our nation's most indelible turning points, the Black Power movement. Music by Questlove and Om'Mas Keith, and commentary from prominent African- American artists and activists who were influenced by the struggle -- including Erykah Badu, Harry Belafonte, Talib Kweli, and Melvin Van Peebles -- give the historical footage a fresh, contemporary resonance and makes the film an exhilarating, unprecedented account of an American revolution.

*The film was courteously provided by Birmingham's Hot 107.7 Radio station (Cumulus Media-Birmingham).



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