HAITI AND GERMANY / 1999 / CREOLE WITH FRENCH AND ENGLISH SUBTITLES / 60 MIN
Looking for Life introduces the viewer to two women, Anne-Rose and Rosemene, who each one has their own particular way of battling through life. The former makes lunches in a factory yard in Port-au-Prince and sells her meals to the factory workers; the latter is employed in the same factory as a production worker making pullovers and T-shirts. Every day she buys her midday meal on credit from Anne-Rose. Through the connection between these two women the film shows part of their daily work and the constant battle for survival that they lead together with other women in Haiti. Going beyond this, however the film demonstrates the extent to which the importation of North American goods has brought about the collapse of Haitian regional production and ruined Haiti's economy. The connection between the two topics of the film reveals the significant role that Haitian women of today play in an economy that has been bled dry.
SOUTH AFRICA AND GERMANY / 2011 / ENGLISH / 90 MIN
Miriam Makeba was one of the first African musicians who won international stardom and whose music was always anchored in her traditional South African roots. Miriam Makeba was forced into exile in 1959.
She sang for John F. Kennedy, performed with Harry Belafonte and Nina Simone, was married to Hugh Masekela and also Stokely Carmichael.
Her life was tumultuous. She always stood for truth and justice. She fought for the oppressed most importantly for black Africans, as a campaigner against apartheid. She died November 2008 after a concert in Italy.
Mika Kaurismäki's documentary, traces fifty years of her music and her performing life. Through rare archive footage of her performances and through interviews with her contemporaries we discover the remarkable journey of Miriam Makeba.
DIRECTOR AND CAST
Director: Mika Kaurismäki
Starring: Hugh Masekela
Starring: Angélique Kidjo
Starring: Harry Belafonte
DIRECTED BY NTANDAZO "DIDI" GCINGCA
SOUTH AFRICA / 1999 / ENGLISH / 17 MIN
Aces is the story of a young man who fights against the battering of his mother by his drunken father. The situation escalates until Ace desperately stabs his father to death, and is sent to jail for a period of 15 years. Nine years later he is out on parole. He kills again within a day's time of his release.
She was ahead of her time, a genius. During an era when Jazz was the nation's popular music, Mary Lou Williams was one of its greatest innovators. As both a pianist and composer, she was a font of daring and creativity who helped shape the sound of 20th century America. And like the dynamic, turbulent nation in which she lived, Williams seemed to redefine herself with every passing decade.
From child prodigy to "Boogie-Woogie Queen" to groundbreaking composer to mentoring some of the greatest musicians of all time, Mary Lou Williams never ceased to astound those who heard her play. But away from the piano, Williams was a woman in a "man's world," a black person in a "whites only" society, an ambitious artist who dared to be different, and who struggled against the imperatives of being a "star." Above all, she did not fit the (still) prevailing notions of where genius comes from or what it looks like. Time and again, she pushed back against a world that said, "You can't" and said, "I can." It nearly cost her everything.
PARIS NOIR: AFRICAN AMERICANS IN THE CITY OF LIGHTS
DIRECTED BY JOANNE BURKE
U.S.A. AND FRANCE / 2017 / ENGLISH / 60 MIN
Paris Noir - African Americans in the City of Light is an exciting, enlightening documentary on the presence of African Americans in Paris from WWI to the early 1960s.
The film touches on:
- Josephine Baker, Bricktop and Sidney Bechet - Writers Langston Hughes and Claude McKay - The connections forged with top African and Caribbean writers and intellectuals Leopold Senghor, Aimé Cesaire, and the Nardal Sisters - The achievements and challenges of artists in Montparnasse - The exploitation and growing self-determination of people of color from and in France's vast overseas empire
Looking back today at their astounding achievements and the beneficial cultural exchange between France and Black America stirs up lively conversation. These jazz musicians, writers, artists, intellectuals - they launched the appreciation of Black culture worldwide.
RASTAS & MAROONS is a 2-DVD set featuringThe First Rasta (Jamaica/France) a revealing documentary about Leonard Percival Howell, the man who created the Rasta Movement and Aluku Liba, Maroon Again (French Guiana/Canada), a rare docu-drama about the Aluku or Boni, a Maroon ethnic group living mainly on the riverbank in Maripasoula, southwest French Guiana.
THE FIRST RASTA Thirty years after Bob Marley's death, it is time to pay tribute to Leonard Percival Howell,The First Rasta. At the beginning of the last century, the young Leonard Percival Howell (1893- 1981) left Jamaica, became a sailor and traveled the world. On his way, he chanced upon all the ideas that stirred his time. From Bolshevism to New Thought, from Gandhi to Anarchism, from Garveyism to psychoanalysis, he sought to find his promised land. With this cocktail of ideas Leonard "Gong" Howell returned to Jamaica and founded Pinnacle, the first Rasta community.
Going far beyond the standard imagery of Rasta - ganja, reggae, and dreadlocks -this cultural history offers an uncensored vision of a movement with complex roots and the exceptional journey of a man who taught an enslaved people how to be proud and impose their culture on the world. In the 1920s, Leonard Percival Howell and the First Rastas had a revelation concerning the divinity of Haile Selassie, king of Ethiopia, that established the vision for the most popular mystical movement of the 20th century, Rastafarianism. Although jailed, ridiculed, and treated as insane, Howell, also known as the Gong, established a Rasta community of 4,500 members, the first agro-industrial enterprise devoted to producing marijuana. In the late 1950s the community was dispersed, disseminating Rasta teachings throughout the ghettos of the island. A young singer named Bob Marley adopted Howell's message, and through Marley's visions, reggae made its explosion in the music world.
Directed by Helene Lee, 2011, 90 min, France/Jamaica, Doc, English
ALUKU LIBA, MAROON AGAIN
Maroons are free Africans who escaped slavery in the Caribbean, Central, South and North America, and formed independent settlements.
Aluku Liba: Maroon Again is a rare docu-drama about the Aluku or Boni, a Maroon ethnic group living mainly on the riverbank in Maripasoula, southwest French Guiana.
The film follows Loeti who has spent years away from his village in French Guiana, working in extreme conditions. When the army cracks down on illegal gold mining in the Amazon forest, he is forced to flee and must use the skills he learned as a child to survive in the forest. His only hope is to find his way home to his people and reclaim his Maroon past and culture.
Directed by Nicolas Jolliet, 2009, 90 min, Canada/French Guiana/Suriname, Docu-Drama
SENEGAL, SWITZERLAND AND FRANCE / 2006 / ENGLISH AND FRENCH WITH ENGLISH SUBTITLES / 108 MIN
A musical road movie,Return to Goréefollows Senegalese singer Youssou N'Dour's historical journey tracing the trail left by enslaved Africans and the jazz music they created. Youssou N'Dour's challenge is to bring back to Africa a jazz repertoire of his own songs to perform a concert in Gorée, the island that today symbolizes the slave trade and stands to honor its victims.
From Atlanta to New Orleans, from New York to Bordeaux and Luxembourg, the songs are transformed, immersed in jazz and gospel. Transcending cultural divisions and rehearsing with of some of the world's most exceptional musicians, Youssou N'Dour is preparing to return to Africa for the final concert...
CUBA AND SWITZERLAND / 2005 / SPANISH WITH ENGLISH SUBTITLES / 76 MIN
Sara Gomez, An Afro-Cuban Filmmaker is a rich, multilayered documentary about Afro-Cuban director Sarah Gomez. Born in 1943, she studied literature, piano, and Afro-Cuban ethnography before becoming the first female Cuban filmmaker. A woman of great intelligence, independence and generosity, she was a revolutionary filmmaker with intersecting concerns about the Afro-Cuban community and the value of its cultural traditions, women's issues, and the treatment of the marginalized sectors of society. Through archival footage of her works and interviews with her children and husband Germinal Hernandez, cast members of her best-know film De cierta manera,as well as colleagues and friends, we get closer to a filmmaker who invented new landscapes and brought together opposite worlds.
DIRECTOR AND CAST
Director: Alessandra Muller
Starring: Sara Gómez
Part of 2-set DVD Afro-Cuba: Yesterday and Todaywhich also includes The last Rumba of Papa Montero.
NIGERIA AND THE NETHERLANDS / 2014 / ENGLISH / 85 MIN
A reflection of the difficult social conditions of women in many societies in different parts of the world, SEXY MONEY explores frontally with much sensitivity and compassion the broken hopes and hard choices of poor Nigerian women as they struggle to reintegrate Nigerian society with dignity after being expelled from Europe where they were looking for a better life.
SEXY MONEY presents a subtle indictment of the social reality of poor women in contemporary Nigeria. In recent years, a growing number of Nigerian women, among other West African women, have settled in the suburbs of major cities in the Netherlands and other parts of Europe. The women go there in order to escape poverty. But for most of them, the European adventure is a disappointment that ends when they fly back to their native countries empty-handed.
The film listens to these women talk about their European adventure and follows the development of two women in particular who, after returning to Nigeria, try to build a new life. There are countless obstacles. The film exposes the challenges these women face while celebrating their resilience.
Music, as a source of pleasure and beauty plays an important role in the lives of these women and also in the film, with songs especially composed for it by Nneka, one of Nigeria’s best.
Ghofrane, 25, is a young Black Tunisian woman. A committed activist who speaks her mind, she embodies Tunisia's current political upheaval. As a victim of racial discrimination, Ghofrane decides to go into politics.
We follow her extraordinary path, ranging from acting on her ambition to be in politics to disillusion. Through her attempts to persuade both close friends and complete strangers to vote for her, her campaign reveals the many faces of a country seeking to forge a new identity.
In its own unique way, this documentary sheds light on the place of women and Black people in Tunisia's changing society.
Directed by Raja Amari, Tunisia, 2020, 90min, documentary, Arabic and French w/English subtitles
* IDFA 2020 - World Premiere
"Binous' determination to be an agent of change lends the film an engaging, upbeat energy that enhances its appeal..." ~ Screen International
"Effortlessly balancing the personal and the political - and the invisible line between them - the filmmaker offers a glimpse into the future of a better Tunisia through Binous's unique odyssey." ~ Film Inquiry
"As a Black woman from a working-class neighborhood in Tunisia, 25-year-old Ghofrane Binous has spent her whole life dealing with class inequality, racism, and sex discrimination. Following an extremely racist incident in 2018 while working as a flight attendant, she posted a cry for help on social media that was widely viewed, then joined a women’s movement and became politically active. The film follows this charismatic figure in the run-up to the 2019 national elections—during the turbulent campaign period, on the way to countless meetings, and in heated conversations with family members, friends, and party members.
The camera stays close to this young woman who is keen to perpetuate the myth of her own invulnerability—and maybe that’s exactly what she needs to do to rise to the top. The backdrop to her political ambition is a divided society where people have little confidence in their own democracy. Connecting it all is the voice-over in which Binous shares her vision of life, and her motivations for becoming politically active in a paternalistic, segregated society where women generally draw the shortest straw." IDFA
COLOMBIA AND FRANCE/ 2003 / SPANISH WITH ENGLISH SUBTITLES / 52 MIN
An entertaining documentary that explores the African culture of Colombia through music. The film presents the music of the Sons of Benkos, one of the most important Black leaders in the fight for freedom during the times of slavery in Colombia. The film also shows the evolution of Afro-Colombian music over time through the fusion of Cuban and contemporary African rhythms with traditional Afro-Colombian music.
TUNISIA / 1999 / ENGLISH AND ARABIC WITH ENGLISH SUBTITLES / 52 MIN
In Tunisia, the history of stambali goes back to the arrival of the first Africans taken as slaves from Mali, Timbuktu specifically. Practicing their music and worship in the house of their masters, the enslaved and their musical traditions survive to this day.
Stambali is a religious ritual in Tunisia, a journey with the rhythm of the "gombri" and "chkackek," traces an individual and collective hypnosis, an annual tribute that the disciples of Sidi Saad pay to their master during an initiatory journey and rite of purification that lasts three days.
In "Stambali," the camera, video and film follow the rhythm of the possession, dances, and goes into a trance, in the cemetery, in an open space of grass, trees, dust and sand, in the eroticism that is released by this physical and spiritual representation.
PERU ND BELGIUM / 2003 / SPANISH WITH ENGLISH SUBTITLES / 54 MIN
Susana Baca is not only a champion in the performance and preservation of Afro-Peruvian heritage, but also an elegant singer whose shimmering voice sings of love, loss and life. Susana and her husband Ricardo Pereira have founded the Instituto Negrocontinuo “Black Continuum” in Lima, a spirited facility for the exploration, expression, and creation of Black Peruvian culture. While Baca has dedicated herself to researching and performing virtually all forms of Afro-Peruvian folklore, it is the lando that has become her trademark. This slow to mid-tempo, highly evocative mix of Spanish, Indigenous and African rhythms has become what the son is to Cuba, or the samba to Brazil--the lando is the sound of Black Peru.
FRANCE / 2013 / FRENCH AND SPANISH WITH ENGLISH SUBTITLES / 93 MIN
Tango Negro, The African Roots of Tangoby Angolan filmmaker Dom Pedro explores the expression of Tango’s Africanness and the contribution of African cultures in the creation of the tango. Tango was a reflection of the social life of the enslaved Africans that were taken to South America - including Argentina and Uruguay - mostly from central Africa, particularly from the former Kongo Kingdom. Director Dom Pedro reveals the depth of the footprints of the African music on the tango, through this rich movie combining musical performances and interviews from many tango fans and historians in Latin America and Europe, including the renowned Argentinean pianist Juan Carlos Cáceres.
CAMEROON / 2011 / FRENCH WITH ENGLISH SUBTITLES / 85 MIN
Banned in Cameroon, The Big Banana illustrates the poor working conditions in banana plantations and exposes the adverse impact on the people of a corporatocracy government that affords super profits for corporations at the expense of the local population.
The Big Banana outlines land grabbing tactics by company Plantation du Haut Penja (PHP) and the ensuing devastation for communities: poverty, pollution, and sickness from pesticides.
Bieleu, who spent two years filming residents in the remote countryside of Cameroon also features local cooperatives resisting the devastation through business alliances with fair trade organizations. As a result, The Big Banana not only exposes multinational corporations culpability in the land grab of Africa but also makes us reconsider where we get our fruit from.
CUBA/ 2008/ ENGLISH, FRENCH SUBTITLES/HISTORICAL DOCUMENTARY/ 52 MINS
The Black Mozart in Cuba is the latest act in the rehabilitation of the memory of this extraordinary human being. The film skillfully combines biographical information with performances of his works.
Born in Guadeloupe of a Senegalese enslaved woman and a French nobleman, Joseph Boulogne, Le Chevalier de Saint-Georges (1745-1799), became one of the most remarkable figures of the 18th century. He influenced the music and political life of his time. He was a genius composer and conductor, a virtuoso violinist, the best fencer in Europe, as well as the first black general in the French army. For 200 years after his death his music was rarely heard, due in part to Napoleon’s efforts to erase his existence from history. Today, his music is being rediscovered and played by orchestras and music groups around the world. In this documentary, Cuba dedicates a week of cultural activities to his memory and welcomes Saint Georges as “a great hero of the Caribbean.”
In today’s Ecuador, the black population, the descendants of enslaved Africans, continue to experience strong racial and social discrimination. Yet people in the community still strive to value their specific culture and transmit the rebellious memory of their ancestors who fought for freedom.The Esmeraldas Beachsets out to expose the invisibility of Afro-Ecuadorians and rectify the narrative of the country’s history with the film’s central protagonist, Juan García, who has worked on that project for years. He developed a school book that presents black Ecuadorians prominently since the only Afro-descendants shown in local school books are portrayed next to a marimba and football. The documentary also addresses the 1999 assassination of Prime Minister Jaime Hurtado, the first Black to hold this office.
Directed by Patrice Raynal, 2020, France/Ecuador, 58 minutes, documentary, French and Spanish with English subtitles.
BRAZIL / 1997 / PORTUGUESE WITH ENGLISH SUBTITLES / 38 MIN
On March 13, 1992, Vicente Francisco do Espirito Santo, a Black Brazilian who worked in a government-owned electricity company, was fired from his job. It did not take long for him to realize that his dismissal was directly linked to his skin color. Encouraged by his union and a strong Black empowerment movement, he began a judicial process which he won, and as a result was reinstated in his former position. This informative documentary about an unknown victory illustrates how the courts of Brazil did recognize the company's prejudice and racism in a country where such realities are usually dismissed as atypical.
Forty years after Bob Marley's death, it is time to pay tribute to Leonard Percival Howell, The First Rasta At the beginning of the last century, the young Leonard Percival Howell (1893- 1981) left Jamaica, became a sailor and traveled the world. On his way, he chanced upon all the ideas that stirred his time. From Bolshevism to New Thought, from Gandhi to Anarchism, from Garveyism to psychoanalysis, he sought to find his promised land. With this cocktail of ideas Leonard "Going" Howell returned to Jamaica and founded Pinnacle, the first Rasta community.
Going far beyond the standard imagery of Rasta ”ganja, reggae, and dreadlocks” this cultural history offers an uncensored vision of a movement with complex roots and the exceptional journey of a man who taught an enslaved people how to be proud and impose their culture on the world. In the 1920s Leonard Percival Howell and the First Rastas had a revelation concerning the divinity of Haile Selassie, king of Ethiopia, that established the vision for the most popular mystical movement of the 20th century, Rastafarianism. Although jailed, ridiculed, and treated as insane, Howell, also known as the Gong, established a Rasta community of 4,500 members, the first agro-industrial enterprise devoted to producing marijuana. In the late 1950s the community was dispersed, disseminating Rasta teachings throughout the ghettos of the island. A young singer named Bob Marley adopted Howell's message, and through Marley's visions, reggae made its explosion in the music world.
FRANCE / 2004 / FRENCH WITH ENGLISH SUBTITLES / 90 MIN
Europe's racial make-up is quickly changing. French-Algerian filmmaker Yamina Benguigui is hoping to start a conversation about affirmative action - a policy that does not exist in France today. Benguigui's Le Plafond de Verre (Glass Ceiling) presents a series of sometimes very emotional first-hand accounts of discrimination against mostly black and North African Arab who are trying to find jobs. The documentary offers poignant and revealing accounts of discrimination faced by these full-fledged French citizens who are also children of immigrant parents.
"Now that I am out there looking for work, I cannot forget that I am not French like other French people." — Nesrine Yahia
"Politicians in France are mostly horrified to even think about such policies ( implementing an American-style affirmative action program with quotas) because they go against what are called the values of the republic. I think that unless there is pressure from the ground up, politics in France will never change." — Yamina Benguigui
USA / 2017 / ENGLISH AND SPANISH WITH ENGLISH SUBTITLES / 47 MIN
This latest documentary by the Dean of Afro-Cuban Cinema Sergio Giral investigates the black Cuban exile community in South Florida, since the first wave of political refugees in the 1959 revolutionary aftermath, to today. It tracks its presence throughout the region, and highlights its contribution to Miami's civic culture through testimonies and visual documentation.
Brother Howie is a Jamaican Rastifari who dreams of the land of his ancestors: Africa. On a journey in search of his roots and his identity he travels through three continents and - with great humor and sensitivity - discovers the world...and Africa.
DIRECTOR AND CAST
Director: Fritz Baumann
DVD sale: $295 Part of "Jamaican Music & Soul" 2 DVD set with "Made in Jamaica"
In the midst of the Cold War, ten young promising musicians from Mali are sent to Cuba to study music and strengthen cultural links between the two socialist countries. Combining Malian and Afro-Cuban influences, they develop a revolutionary new sound and become the iconic ensemble ‘Las Maravillas de Mali’. New Year’s Eve 2000. Richard Minier, a French music producer meets a former member of the band in Bamako and decides to bring the band back together.
Directed by Edouard Salier and Richard Minier | 2020 | 81min |France, Cuba, Mali | Documentary | Spanish, French with English subtitles
CONGO AND BELGIUM / 2015 / FRENCH, ENGLISH, SWAHILI AND MASHI WITH ENGLISH SUBTITLES / 113 MIN
Portrait of the impressive life and work of internationally renowned gynecologist Dr. Denis Mukwege from the Democratic Republic of Congo. He received the 2014 prestigious Sakharov Prize for Freedom of Thought and the Nobel Peace Prize in 2018 for his struggle against sexual violence. Mukwege medically assisted over 40,000 sexually abused women in sixteen years of professional practice.
Sexual violence against women has been used as a weapon of war for years in the violence-ridden and poverty-stricken Democratic Republic of Congo. In order to provide medical, psychological and emotional aid to the victims, Dr. Mukwege founded the Panzi hospital in Bukavu in 1999. Besides his work as a physician Dr. Mukwege also defends human rights and seeks to raise global awareness on the issue of sexual violence in his country. He condemns the political reluctance to tackle the problem and is not afraid to hit the nail on the head.
His work is not without danger, as Dr. Mukwege experienced in 2012, when armed men entered his home and started shooting. Mukwege and his family survived the attack, but his guard was killed. The doctor now lives cloistered in his hospital in Bukavu under the protection of the United Nation peacekeepers. The women, whose physical and emotional integrity and dignity have been restored, stand beside him, true activists for peace, and hungry for justice.
The Man Who Mends Women - The Wrath of Hippocrates was awarded on the 8th of February 2016 the Best Documentary Magritte given once a year by the Académie André Delvaux to the Best Feature Length Belgium Francophone Documentary of the year.
It also received on January 29, 2016 the HUMANUM AWARD by the Belgium Film Critic Union (Union de la Presse Cinématographique Belge - UPCB) for its advocacy in favor of harmonious living among different peoples.
Other awards include: * Best Documentary Special Jury Award at the 2016 Pan African Film Festival, in Los Angeles (USA); * Special Mention at the Festival Internacional De Cine Documental De La Ciudad de Mexico 2015 (Mexico); * The Public Award at the Algiers International Film Festival 2015 (Algeria); * The Golden Butterfly - A Matter of Act award at the Movies That Matter Festival 2015 (The Netherlands)
The film has received so far 5 Human Rights Awards, 3 Audience Awards, and 4 Grand Prizes for Best Documentary in festivals worldwide!