DIRECTED BY MEHDI BARSAOUI TUNISIA/ 2019/ DRAMA/ ARABIC WITH ENGLISH SUBTITLES/ 96 MIN
An intense family drama starring French-Tunisian actor Sami Bouajila, winner of the Orizzonti Award for Best Actor, Venice Film Festival 2019. 11 year old Aziz needs a liver transplant after being seriously injured during a terrorist ambush while on holiday in 2011. At the hospital, a family secret will be revealed.
A drama that expertly captures complex human emotions within their socio-cultural, historical and political context. ~ Hollywood Reporter
Not many debuting directors are able to bring subtlety and depth to a heart-rending subject, which is just one reason why Mehdi M. Barsaoui's superb "A Son" deserves significant attention. ~ Variety
It's a film reminiscent of the work of Iranian master Asghar Farhadi [A Separation, The Salesman], full of twists and turns as it puts its characters in increasingly tragic situations. ~ Cineuropa
César Awards, France (2021) Best Actor: Sami Bouajila
Victoria Film Festival, Canada (2020) Best Feature: Mehdi Barsaoui
Malmö Arab Film Festival (2020) Best Actress: Najla Ben Abdallah
Kosmorama, Trondheim Internasjonale Film Festival (2020) New Director's Award: Mehdi Barsaoui
Venice Film Festival (2019) Best Actor: Sami Bouajila
Cairo International Film Festival(2019) Arab Cinema's Horizons Award: Mehdi Barsaoui Salah Abu Seif Prize: Mehdi Barsaoui UNFPA Award: Mehdi Barsaoui
Hainan International Film Festival (2019) Young Talent Award Winner: Best Feature Film
Set in an unnamed African country, A Taste of Our Land is a film about greed told against the backdrop of the current Chinese influence in African countries. While trying to provide for his pregnant wife, Yohani, an older African man, retrieves a gold nugget in a Chinese-run mine built on his land and runs away to sell it for $100. When he learns its real value, he becomes as obsessed with it as Cheng, the Chinese mine supervisor who will stop at nothing to get it back.
Winner, Best First Feature Film, 2020 Africa Movie Academy Awards; Winner, Best First Feature Narrative, 2020 Pan African Film Festival.
Directed by Yuhi Amuli, Rwanda, 2020, 84min, drama, English.
A powerful film portraying institutionalized racism and police brutality, Otomo provides a convincing look at the everyday world of refugees, who are continuously surrounded by tension and insecurity.
In the summer of 1989, a Stuttgart newspaper reported the true story of a West African asylum seeker who physically assaulted an intolerant subway ticket-taker; fled, and became the target of a city-wide manhunt. Otomo is a sober, fictionalized reconstruction of a tale that shocked Stuttgart, and a gripping portrait of how institutionalized racism drives a disempowered individual to violence and inhumanity.
West African immigrant Frederic Otomo (Isaach de Bankole) lacks the proper papers to be hired for the most menial of jobs; he has survived for eight years with the help of a Catholic charity. Otomo is the target of verbal abuse, is thrown out of his boarding house, and even scorned by neighborhood dogs. He feels and looks out of place. A stoic bubbling pot of wrath on the run, de Bankole's performance establishes Otomo's essence without words-language cannot express the gravity of his situation. As a ticking soundtrack counts down his fated minutes, Otomo is helped by a kind, aging hippie and her granddaughter, establishing the potential for an inclusive German society….if it is not too late...
|Germany|1999|84 mins|drama|German with English subtitles|Frieder Schlaich, dir.|
"I was impressed by the decision to make Otomo a bit of an anti-hero, seeming aware that in desperate times, good people may say or do things outside the norm." -- Greg Dean Schmitz, Greg's previews at Yahoo!Movies
"Documents the institutionalized racism and xenophobia that painted one man into a corner, while never excusing the terrible means by which he took his final escape." -- Jessica Winter, Village Voice
"Much of the sense of size in this account of an immigrant worker, who is only one among many thousands in Germany, comes from the performance by Isaach de Bankole." -- Stanley Kauffmann, New Republic
WAALO FENDO: WHERE THE EARTH FREEZES Senegal / Switzerland, 1998, 65 mins, drama in Wolof and Italian with English subtitles, Mohammed Soudani, dir.
Milan, like Paris or Stuttgart, and like many other European cities, is the theater of the drama of immigration. Demba reconstructs his story and that of his brother Yaro, both Senegalese immigrants in Italy, in a long and fragmentary flashback that begins with Yaro’s murder and recounts their departure from the village, arrival in Europe, the work they find selling lighters and picking tomatoes in the south of Italy: the stages every “non-EEC citizen” goes through in Italy. It is a story of immigration like so many others but that most people are unaware of. Waalo Fendo illustrates the dehumanization faced by so many immigrants all over the world.
Angelica, after a long absence from Puerto Rico, returns home when her father, Wilfredo, suffers a stroke. This unexpected return and her father's illness force Angelica to re-evaluate her relationship with her mother and family members who don't accept her because of her skin color. She must face herself and discovers that she does not know who she is. After her father's death, Angelica must decide whether to return to the comfort of her previous life, dissatisfied, but secure, or set on an adventurous path to rediscover herself as an independent, modern, strong, black, and Puerto Rican woman.
Directed by Marisol Gómez-Mouakad, Puerto Rico, 2016, 100min, Drama, English & Spanish w/English subtitles
"Purposely challenging the Eurocentric beauty standards that blatantly plague Latin America on and off screen, Puerto Rican director Marisol Gómez-Mouakad sets out to tell the story of an empowered Afro-Latina fighting colorism at home in her debut feature Angélica." ~ Remezcla
“People talk about racism and sexism in the U.S.,” Gómez-Mouakad explains. “They may not do much, but in talking about it they are at least addressing the problem. In Puerto Rico — and across the Caribbean and Latin America — there is a lot of denial. If you do talk about the issues, you are accused of being over sensitive. But words have power and words can hurt.” ~ director Marisol Gómez-Mouakad
"In addition to the theme of racism, the film touches upon the implications of machismo in a patriarchal society from the perspective of women." ~ Repeating Islands
"Another glorious, glorious portrait on race and the roles women play—by pressure, by tradition, by choice. " ~ Guilie Castillo Oriard
U.S.A. / Netherlands / 2019 / ENGLISH / SPANISH w/English Subtitles / 88 MIN
Angels on Diamond Street spotlights three women fighting for social justice in an African-American church in Philadelphia. We follow head cook Mamie, former Black Panther Barbara and Pastor Renee at the soup kitchen of the Church of the Advocate: a national monument with a rich history in the civil rights movement.
When a Mexican immigrant, Carmela, asks the church for sanctuary, she and her children are welcomed with open arms. Pastor Renee courageously defies the ICE immigration authorities in an act of civil disobedience. A documentary about compassion that invites us to forget about all borders, be they of race, nationality or religion.
"Angels on Diamond Street, by the Netherlands-based director Petr Lom, is rich with quotable quotes. It is a tender look at an American church with an old, persevering, social justice soul, and the people who make their soup kitchen a communal magnet.
The film was recorded during a two-year focus on North Philadelphia's activist congregation of the Church of the Advocate in the heart of a poor, African American neighborhood. The church building is a huge, stone beauty finished in 1887, named the George W. South Memorial Church, but is best known by its current moniker. Informative and strung together chronologically, it grows into an occasional conversation between the man behind the camera and the people he follows. You can read a lot in its details." ~ JoAnne Velin, moderntimes.review.com
As Far as I Can Walk is a 2021 internationally co-produced drama directed by Serbian Oscar-nominated director (for his 2003 short film '(A)Torsion') Stefan Arsenijevic that follows a couple who left Ghana with a dream of a better life in Europe and now live as refugees in Belgrade.
22-year-old Siisi, nicknamed Strahinja, is doing everything to integrate in Serbia. He volunteers for the Red Cross in the camp where he lives, looks for work, plays on the local football team... His biggest challenge, however, is to win back the woman he loves. When she disappears one day, Strahinja sets out to find her.
As Far as I Can Walk is a re-imagining of a traditional medieval epic in which contemporary African migrants take the place of Serbian national heroes. Urgent and timeless at the same time, the adaptation raises questions about identity, tradition, race and love.
It premiered at the 55th Karlovy Vary International Film Festival in 2021 where it won five prizes including the main Grand Prix – Crystal Globe and the Best Actor honor awarded to Ibrahim Koma for his starring performance in the film.
By Strahinja Banović / Serbia / France / Luxembourg / Bulgaria / Lithuania / 2021 / 92 min / English and Serbian with English Sub.
“It’s a surprising and exhilarating blend of contemporary refugee story, love triangle and medieval Serbian poem.” ~ Alisa Simon, Variety
“In his masterfully directed picture Stefan Arsenijević delivers a crystal clear, humanistic account of the need to find one’s place in the world; this is also a tale of love, the most profound testimony of which might also be the most painful.” ~ Lenka Tyrpáková, Karlovy Vary FF
“Arsenijević's film is vividly crafted and performed. The predominantly English-language film should gather interest [ ] on the strength of its topicality and emotional accessibility.” ~ Guy Lodge, Variety
“The refugees are presented as broken and poor, but dignified, and as opposed to many other similarly themed films, we get real, flesh-and-blood characters in Strahinja and Ababuo, with well-defined personalities, pasts and hopes for the future. And therein lies the film's greatest strength: both actors are positively magnetic on the screen, but especially Koma, whose drive and extraordinary charisma often collide with Mensah-Offei's pride and headstrong ambition.” ~ Vladan Petkovic, Cineuropa
“One of Arsenijevic’s avowed goals with As Far as I Can Walk was to portray refugees as distinct individuals with inner lives, dreams and aspirations, not just blank statistics. In this he is admirably successful.” ~ Stephen Dalton, Verdict
ABOUT THE MAKING OF THE FILM
“Arsenijević’s hometown Belgrade marks an important point on the Balkan migrant route. A few years ago, he could see thousands of new refugees arriving every day. He says, “Having my own experience of war and poverty in the 90s, I could easily identify. I started talking with migrants, hearing their experiences. There was this moving story of epic proportions happening right in front of me. It was just important to find the right angle to tell it.” As the migrant crisis grew, many locals promulgated paranoid fears that migrants would take over European culture by imposing their own. “National identity and national heritage are touchy subjects in my country,” says Arsenijević. “So, it occurred to me: what if I replace Serbian national heroes with contemporary African migrants? I thought this could provide some interesting perspectives.” ~ Alisa Simon, Variety
Oscar-nominated South African director, Angus Gibson, takes us back to the glitz and menace of Sophiatown in his stylish new film, Back Of The Moon. Starring Richard Lukunku and Moneoa Moshesh.
28 July 1958. Badman, an intellectual and the leader of the most powerful gang in Sophiatown, lives life on his own terms in this crazy, cosmopolitan, half demolished ghetto on the edge of Johannesburg. The gorgeous Eve Msomi, a torch-singer on the brink of an international career, is giving her last concert in the local hall before she travels to London. Tomorrow, legions of Apartheid policewill force the residents of Gerty street out of their homes and they will be trucked to a desolate township, ten miles out of the city.
Refusing to face the bleak reality of black South African life, Badman has decided that he will fight to the death for his home. But fate, thrusts Eve Msomi, whom he has loved from a distance, into his orbit. And on this night that bears this beautiful encounter, Badman’s gang, The Vipers, sensing his vulnerability, turns on them both.
Directed by Angus Gibson, South Africa, 2019, 95min, Drama, Zulu w/English subtitles
“Eve is kind of a character that was based on Miriam Makeba on the eve that she leaves for London. So you have this great talent that you know is being driven out of this country and then Badman, played by Richard Lukunku, is an intellectual, he should have been a leader in the community and in order to hold his head up high, he has become a gangster. So both of these pretty fabulous characters are lost to South Africa. That is something that I find sad.” ~ Director August Wilson
South African Film and Television Awards (2020) Best Achievement in Costume Design - Feature Film
Black Film Festival Montreal, Canada (2020) Best International Narrative Feature
Durban International Film Festival, South Africa (2019) Best South African Narrative Feature
Mali, 1962. The youth of Bamako dance the twist to rock and roll music newly imported from the West and dream of political renewal. Samba, a young socialist, falls for spirited Lara during one of his missions to the bush. To escape her forced marriage, she secretly flees with him to the city. But Lara’s husband won’t let them be and the Revolution soon brings painful disillusions as they dream of a future together.
by Robert Guédiguian, France / Canada / Senegal, 2021, 129min, Romantic Drama, French with English subtitles.
"Inspired by the photographs of Malick Sidibé, Dancing the Twist in Bamako (the screenplay of which was written by Robert Guédiguian and Gilles Taurand) does not claim to moralise or substitute for an African perspective. The film relies on the universality of love stories that defy (at the risk of their lives) traditions and ideologies, to weave a story nourished by simplicity, enthusiasm, and even the touching naivety of youth, against the backdrop of a utopia of class struggle confronted by "realpolitik." A dive into the past, punctuated by a multitude of hits from the early 60s whose fragrance of effervescent happiness is tinged with nostalgia and tragedy, like a challenge to time and the dictates of the mind." ~Fabien Lemercier, Cineuropa
FIGHTING FOR RESPECT: AFRICAN-AMERICAN SOLDIERS IN WWI
Directed by Joanne Burke
USA/FRANCE / 2021 / 54 MIN / DOCUMENTARY / ENGLISH
Fighting for Respect captures the plight of African American soldiers who fought in WWI, receiving the Croix de Guerre military decoration from France, while still fighting discrimination and hatred at home in America.
Kafe Negro: Cuba & The Haitian Revolutionis a film that explores the social, economic & historical ramification of the Haitian Revolution on Cuba.
Kafe Negro tells the story of migrations around a small grain that became the second most important raw material on the global market. This film tells the story of the waves of migration of Haitian workers who, over time, profoundly transformed the culture and demography of Cuba and developed coffee growing on the island.
Directed by Mario Delatour | Cuba & Haiti | 52min |2020 | Documentary | French and Spanish with English subtitles
The award-winning drama Kuessipan by Myriam Verreault was adapted from the acclaimed novel Kuessipanand co-written with the novel’s First Nation Canadian author Naomi Fontaine. Kuessipan means "your turn" in the Innu language, a title chosen to mark the notion that it is the Innu people's turn to tell their story.
“The Innu voice is ever present, which is so important as it offers a glimpse into their lives without a Colonial perspective. It's a feature that, while seemingly an obvious advantage, is hardly ever utilized for similar films. It means that audiences can enter the world in a respectful manner - which isn't to say the film shies away from the issues, but it does mean that those issues are approached in a confident and dignified way” writes Joel Kalkopf in his review for Switch.
The story follows two girls who grow up as best friends in a Quebec Innu community. While Mikuan has a loving family, Shaniss is picking up the pieces of her shattered childhood. As children, they promised each other to be lifelong friends. But as they mature, their lives take different paths, and their personal ambitions diverge leading them to a cultural and identity clash that tests their bond.
Directed by Myriam Verreault, Canada, 2019, 117min, Drama, Montagnais, French, English w/English subtitles
"Kuessipan is quiet and mesmerizing and tragic and full of hope. It is a triumph, and a privilege to spend time with." ~ Globe and Mail
"Myriam Verreault excels at crafting a film told through an Indigenous lens that discusses universal themes of friendship, identity, love, and heartbreak." ~ Exclaim!
"Kuessipan is a beautiful, un-sensationalized look at young womanhood, friendship and community." ~ NOW Toronto
"Heartbreakingly exploring Indigenous identity and the bonds that root us to a community, Kuessipan is a bold ode to young womanhood." ~ MUBI
With Ema diagnosed with terminal cancer, the Siope family searches for healing by confronting intergenerational trauma head on and returning to their homeland of Sāmoa.
The redemptive tale of waka builder and captain Lilo Ema Siope’s final years, the stunning LOIMATA, The Sweetest Tears is a chronicle of journeys. Confronting intergenerational trauma head on, the Siope family returns to their homeland of Sāmoa. For Ema’s father, this is his first time back to his birthplace since leaving in 1959. The result is a poignant yet tender story of a family’s unconditional love for each other, and a commitment to becoming whole again.
By Anna Marbrook, New Zealand / Sāmoa. 2021, 94 minutes, Documentary, English & Samoan with English subtitles
"I walked into this film expecting to see a portrait of a world-renowned ship builder, navigator and sailor, undertaking one of the final voyages of her life. And, in a way, that is what Loimata is. But not in the way I was assuming it would be."~ stuff.co.nz
Themes: First Nation / Women / Sexual Abuse / LGBTQ+ / Family / Healing
FIFO (Festival International du Film Documentaire Océanien), 2021 Grand Prix du Jury
NZTV Awards, 2021 Best Documentary, Nominee Best Director, Nominee
After fighting censorship for two years in Brazil, MARIGHELLA is now #1 at the Box Office in Brazil.
Marighellais a new Brazilian action drama set in 1969 based on the life of Afro-Brazilian politician and guerrilla fighter Carlos Marighella. Facing a violent military dictatorship and with little support from a timid opposition, writer-turned-politician Carlos Marighella organizes a resistance movement. Alongside revolutionaries 30 years younger than him and willing to fight, the revolutionary leader opts for action. The film is adapted from the biography Marighella - O Guerrilheiro que Incendiou o Mundo, by Mario Magalhaes. Brazilian musical artist, songwriter, and actor Seu Jorge plays Carlos Marighella.
Directed by Wagner Moura, 2019, Brazil, 155min, historical action drama, Portuguese w/ English subtitles
* Berlinale 2019 | Official Selection - Out of Competition * INTERNATIONAL INDEPENDENT CRITICS PRIZE (Premio Giuseppe Becce) * ONE OF SCREEN CRITICS' TOP FILMS FROM BERLIN 2019
"Angry and brutally necessary for the Brazil of today,Marighellais put together coolly and confidently by the green [Wagner] Moura." ~ One Room With A View
"Marighella works fine as an exciting and highly assured debut, with a terrific ensemble cast at its heart." ~ Hollywood Reporter
A charming animation for the entire family, this African fable tells the story of Minga, an orphaned girl living with her stepmother MamiKaba and her stepsister Abena. One day, when she washes the dishes in the river, she accidentally brakes a spoon. A furious MamiKaba chases her away from the house, asking her to find the only identical spoon hidden by her late mother. An adventurous journey then begins for Minga in the forest.
Minga and the Broken Spoon is the first feature-length animated film entirely conceived and produced in Cameroon and is loosely based on “The Broken Spoon,” the famous African tale. The film is a vibrant tribute to Cameroon’s rich cultural diversity, while being a source of entertainment for the young and old alike.
By Claye Edou, Cameroon , 2019, 80 mins, animation in English.
MOTO TAXI, Narcisse Wandji's first feature film, explores questions and concerns related to the daily life of three Cameroonians,two men and a woman, who manage to make a living working as motorcycle taxis.
Sani, Marie and Franck are three young moto-taxi drivers with unique destinies and stories. Sani has to face Charles, his employer and also father of Samedi, his girlfriend, who is pregnant with his child. Marie, raped five years ago, tries to find Tom, her rapist. And Franck, on his side, must do everything to get rid of the lifeless body of an 8 month old child.
In Moto Taxi, Narcisse Wandji refers both visually and through the dialogues in his film to some important auteurs in African Cinema. Quartier Mozart by Jean-Pierre Bekolo is mentioned casually in a conversation while a Moto Taxi driver explains that the corn on his motorcycle was inspired by Djibril Diop Mambety’s Touki Bouki.
“These references reassure the cinephiles looking for cinematic innovation. The question of cultural identity remains at the heart of the auteur’s work while he/she strives to give a universal feel to his/her creation. “ Pierre Patrick Touko.
Directed by Narcisse Wandji, Cameroon, 2021, 90 mins, drama, French (with English subtitles)
Fatem, sixth month pregnant, leaves her village perched in the mountains, to fill a frame with empty glasses for the elder of her village, the only person who can decipher the letters sent by members of the villagers’ families who have gone to work in the cities. She moves from station to station to arrive in town in the middle of a protest. This will turn her trip into a peaceful revolution that she is hardly aware of.
Directed by Sanaa Akroud, Morocco 2020, 86min, drama, Arabic w/English subtitles
"A beautifully observed meditation on faith, perseverance and integrity, Moroccan director Sanae Akroud’s sophomore feature is an immersive and heart-breaking unique female saga. " ~ The Brazilian
"This film, which carries beautiful qualities of image and lighting, speaks of poverty, of the feminine condition and of a happiness so simple that one can hardly grasp its meaning nowadays. ~ La Presse
"Fatem is played by Sanaa Akroud, also the film's director. Akroud was in the acclaimed 2011 Egyptian film "Scheherazade, Tell Me a Story". In "Myopia" she is brilliant as our unsettlingly passive villager, whether inquiring about a letter from an absent husband or when wandering innocently through the city in search of an eyeglass shop." ~ Barbara Nimri Aziz
"She will be questioned by the police, defended by an association, interviewed by a journalist… She is accused of having endangered her baby, she is asked some of the most intrusive questions, but each person applies their own way of thinking - myopia of a society incapable of perceiving its difference. Agressive police officers falsely accused, activists urging her to press charges, sensationalist journalist who transforms news, even a listening minister… none understand that she only wants to fix the glasses." ~ Olivier Barlet
"It is in listening to these women that Sanaa Akroud wrote this script which she both interprets and directs. Apart from the interviews, she does it with few words. Wolfango Alfi's sequence shots respond to this desire to account for the time taken by everyday acts. They contribute to the open-mindedness called for by this film without a clear message, if not to invite people to understand that an equivocation is not a limit but a complexity." ~ Olivier Barlet
"This story is sure to resonate with many American viewers learning about the depth of racial disparities and the flaws in U.S. democracy where agents of ‘liberal’ society and opposition parties once again reach out to Black and Brown Americans and immigrants with shallow promises of equality and reform." ~ Barbara Nimri Aziz
Twenty-year old Naomi lives a simple life with her younger siblings in Peru. Only her big sister seems to live a life of fortune, being married in Germany. But now she is dead, murdered by her German husband.
Stunned by the news, Naomi can't imagine accompanying her mother to Germany, the land of the crime. But then she changes her mind, becomes a joint plaintiff, and takes part in the trial in Berlin.
InNaomi's Journey Frieder Schleich (Otomo) continues to explore the life of immigrants in Germany. His staging of a realistic trial using real-life lawyers illustrates the inner working of the German justice system and its dispassionate proceedings.
"The film follows the murder trial of a young South American woman within the framework of a hidden women and marriage trafficking market. The film is about justice and objectivity in the German legal system." ~ Hof international film festival
Directed by Frieder Schlaich, 2018, Germany / Peru, 93min, legal thriller, German and Spanish with English subtitles.
"The director composes a haunting puzzle about moral standards, trust and cultural clashes." ~ Brazilian Press
"Rising star Scarlett Jaimes gives a compelling performance in the title role presenting the turbulence of a fragile young lady with brilliant nuance." ~ Brazilian Press
"It's a gripping, accurate courtroom drama." ~ Brazilian Press
Didi Cheeka works as a director and film critic and has been working for years to reappraise the Nigerian film heritage. He initiated the archive project “Reclaiming History, Unveiling Memory” with the aim of restoring, digitizing and curating rediscovered Nigerian films.
SHAIHU UMAR is one of the most important works in Nigerian film history, but was long considered lost. Located in northern Nigeria at the end of the 19th century, the film is based on a novel by Abubakar Tafawa Balewa, who later became Nigeria’s first prime minister. Only the rediscovery of the camera negative in 2016 made the reconstruction of the film possible. The digitally restored version had its premiere at the Berlinale in February 2018.
Set in northern Nigeria towards the end of the 19th century,Shaihu Umarstarts with a discussion between Islamic students and their renowned teacher, the wise man Shaihu Umar. Asked about his origins, Umar begins to tell his story: he comes from a modest background and is separated from his mother after his father dies and his stepfather is banished. His subsequent trials and tribulations are marked by slavery, and he is put to any number of tests until he finally becomes the adopted son of his Arabic master Abdulkarim. He attends Koran School and is made an imam upon reaching adulthood. Following a particular dream, he resolves to search for his mother.
Adamu Halilu filmedShaihu Umarin Hausa in 1976. Arsenal - Institute for Film and Video Art restored the film with the support of the German Embassy in Abuja.
Adamu Halilu, based on the novel of the same title by Abubakar Tafawa Balewa
Director of Photography
Yusuf Mohammed, Zakari Yusufu
Umaru Ladan, Umaru Dembo
Born in the state of Adamawa, Nigeria in 1936. He studied screenwriting and editing in London. Along with his work as a feature film director, Adamu Halilu also wrote screenplays and took part in the production of almost 70 documentary films. Adamu Halilu died in 2001.
1963Mama Learns a Lesson; 48 min.1971Child Bride; 70 min.1976Shaihu Umar1978Kanta of Kebbi1981Moment of Truth; 90 min.1982Zainab
Bio- & filmography as of Berlinale 2018
Federal Ministry of Information (Federal Film Unit Kaduna)
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
A documentary about the working conditions of Haitian workers in one of the largest sugar cane plantations in the world, located in the Dominican Republic and belonging to the Fanjul Family, one of the most powerful families in America.
When Maria’s husband died, she was told to either leave the sugarcane plantation or to work in the only existent job: cutting and planting cane.
She decided to work in exchange for a miserable wage and a rudimentary barrack she and her five children call home. With that, she was accepting a precarious life without electricity, drinkable water and sanitary services. This is how people are stuck in a house provided by the Company, ensuring that no other basic service neither civil rights are provided, maintaining people in a life of misery. The vast extension of a sugarcane plantation in Dominican Republic offers this deal to thousands of Haitian workers. Some struggle to leave – like Maria’s daughter, with few chances of working in a hotel by the coast. Some others are forced to leave – like Leidy and her baby, when her father-in-law retires after 50 years of work. Yet, some others – like Yudelka and Telemin – organize and try to change the miserable situation everyone is living in the cane fields. They are an obstacle that hinders the functioning of the great machine that is the Plantation.
Directed by Juan A. Zapata, Dominican Republic/Spain, 2021, 76min, Documentary, Spanish w/English subtitles
" Sugar Cane Maliceis the third film from director [Juan A.]Zapata, a native of the Dominican Republic, who is also an architect and visual artist. Both sensibilities are on display inSugar Cane Malice, which pays particular attention to the built environment of the workers, and contrasts it through a series of helicopter (or drone) shots with modern construction in the island’s cities and the luxurious beach resorts that are beloved of tourists. He also finds beauty even in the sugar cane fields where these workers labor for the benefits of others. Above all, he respects the dignity of his subjects, who haven’t let their difficult lives become their only story." ~ Sarah Boslaugh
FULL FRAME Documentary Film Festival 2021 Official Competition
Festival des Libertés 2021 Official Competition
EATSA Art & Tourism is an International Film Festival 2021 Official Competition
SOMCINEMA Festival (Spain) 2021 Official Competition
Architecture Film Festival Rotterdam 2021 Official Competition
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.
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
WINNER! * FIPRESCI Award, International Film Festival Mannheim-Heidelberg 2022, Germany * VISIONARY AWARD , Cinequest 2022
Confronted with a series of racially charged incidents, a young black man must overcome rage, alienation, and hopelessness in order to find his own humanity.
The young black man, simply identified as “Man,” must resolve the personal meaning of his blackness when his white boss orders him to commit fraud to benefit the corporation. Struggling with an overwhelming sense of shame for going through with the illegal demand, Man seeks consolation by discussing his unease with a black former friend and his white fiancé. Those conversations lead only to further confusion and frustrations...
Following on the footstep of the LA Rebellion filmmakers, Skinner Myers tells a very personal and intimate Black story in a radically non-traditional cinematic style as a means to express freely his feelings as a Black man in America.
By Skinner Myers, USA, 2021, 72min, Drama, English
"A superb character study of a black man, how he sees himself and how he was treated by society, it is surreal yet real and terrifying." ~ Ulkar Alakbarova, moviemovesme.com
"Remaining asleep to Myers as an African-American is a sin, but so is to be completely awake to the point where love for the self is all but embraced. In this impassioned, vigorous, lucid cinematic journey, the bleak, bruised-yet-fighting spirit of one Kendrick Lamar’s and every other prominent African artist strikes like lightning, and resonates like thunder. Like the greats, Myers, is a voice in his lane to place one’s focus on; his artistry effortlessly commanding, a feat implying many more to be accomplished in a budding career in American independent filmmaking." ~ LOUIE BAHAROM, cinephiliaph.wordpress.com