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
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
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
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 demographics of Cuba and developed coffee growing on the island.
Directed by Mario Delatour | Cuba & Haiti | 52min |2020 | Documentary | French and Spanish with English subtitles
Demba is an African who has fled an oppressive regime in his own country and is seeking asylum in Paris. One night he encounters Lucien, a policeman from the Caribbean, who speaks to him in the voice of the dominant class. But in his country Demba is a professor of History and Geography while Lucien left school early to help his mother, a cleaning lady.
“YAFA Le Pardon” explores the social and economic dynamics at work in their relationship as they seek to understand each other, aided by Welcome, a Baule Komian who does not hesitate to officiate as the parties meet on the Quai de l’Oise, in the centre of Paris.
Directed by Christian Lara, France, 2019, 85 Minutes, drama, French with English subtitles
"In my young adult years in France, I could see that there was tension between the Caribbean community and the African community, but I didn’t know why. The hidden historical facts, the great Black characters erased or transformed, the identity and culture construction... This is the thread of the ongoing dialogue between Demba (Sidiki Bakaba) and Lucien (Luc Saint-Eloy). The migrant and the policeman. Africa and the West Indies." ~ Karukerament Read full review HERE
ABOUT DIRECTOR CHRISTIAN LARA Christian Lara is a Guadeloupean/French film director, writer, cinematographer and producer. Having shot more than twenty feature films in the Caribbean, France, Canada and Africa, he is regarded by many as "the Father of French Antilles cinema".
Official Selection Trinidad and Tobago Film Festival 2022 African Diaspora International Film Festival, NYC 2022
After a half truth lands her under immense financial pressure, Ludi Alcidor embarks on a frantic scour through Miami's private care-taking world in an increasingly desperate attempt to send money to her family in Haiti.
Ludi's interaction with her Cuban landlord and her senior Jewish client, offers a glance at the life of Haitian immigrants in Miami.
Directed by Edson Jean, USA, 2021, 81 Minutes, drama, English and Haitian Creole with English subtitles
"Jean's "Ludi" is the type of low-stakes drama that's easy to root for, and even more wonderful to see" - Robert Daniels, The Playlist
"This is one of the best films of the year so far, and that comes as a result of the hard work and dedication from everyone involved." - Kyle Bain, Film Threat
"An examination of the difficulties inherent in that so-called American Dream, with a magnetic lead performance from Shein Mompremier. Ludi is a charming, tragic, painful, and beautiful film to behold." -Aaron Peterson, Hollywood Outsider
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.
FRANTZ FANON: HIS LIFE, HIS STRUGGLE, AND HIS WORK
FRANTZ FANON: HIS LIFE, HIS STRUGGLE, AND HIS WORK
DIRECTED BY CHEIKH DJEMAI
MARTINIQUE/FRANCE/ALGERIA/TUNISIA / 2001 / FRENCH WITH ENGLISH SUBTITLES / 52 MIN
Frantz Fanon, was a psychiatrist, originally from Martinique, who had become a spokesman for the Algerian revolution against French colonialism. Embittered by his experience with racism in the French Army, he gravitated to radical politics, Sartrean existentialism and the philosophy of black consciousness known as negritude. His 1952 book, ''Black Skin, White Masks,'' offers a penetrating analysis of racism and of the ways in which it is internalized by its victims. While secretly aiding the rebels of the Algerian anti-colonial war as a doctor in Algeria, Fanon cared for victims and perpetrators alike, producing case notes that shed invaluable light on the psychic traumas of colonial war. Expelled from Algeria in 1956, Fanon moved to Tunis where wrote for El Moudjahid, the rebel newspaper, founded Africa's first psychiatric clinic, and wrote several influential books on decolonization. Frantz Fanon, His Life, His Struggle, His Work traces the short and intense life of one of the great thinkers of the 20th century.
Two coming of age stories that explore the life of 2 young women on 2 islands.
Set in Puerto Rico, ANGÉLICA is a drama about a young Afro- Latino woman who must fight to find her voice.
THE CATHEDRAL, from Mauritius, follows free spirited Lina as she faces an important decision that will impact her life.
Angélica, 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
The Cathedral is a lyrical narration set in the beautiful and unusual setting of Port-Louis, capital of Mauritius. Lina, a young woman in search of her identity interacts daily with friends and family in a carefree happy manner that will be challenged when one day her dancing catches the eye of a photographer... The Cathedral is based on a short story by Ananda Devi.
Directed By Harrikrisna Anenden , Mauritius, 2006, 78 Min, drama in Creole With English Subtitles.
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.
CURAÇAO AND THE NETHERLANDS / 1999 / PAPAMIENTO AND DUTCH WITH ENGLISH SUBTITLES / 95 MIN
Papa's song is a drama of domestic tension and cross-cultural misunderstanding. Nico Verema (Rene van Asten), a decorous, somewhat gloomy Dutch magistrate, lives happily with his wife, Shirley (Roman Vrede), who is from Curacao. Shirley's two young nephews, in the Netherlands to escape a bad situation at home, complete the household.
Its atmosphere of calm bourgeois propriety is soon upended by the arrival of the boys' mother, Magda (Lisette Merenciana). Shirley and Magda relationship is very stormy: they careen from screaming recrimination to tearful tenderness. Nico tries to mediate and soothe, but when Shirley, who cannot bear children, demands that he impregnate her sister, the good judge finds himself entangled in an intergenerational, trans-Atlantic web of family dysfunction.
"Papa's Song" touches on a number of fascinating and difficult themes, including the state of race relations in the contemporary Netherlands. A. O. Scott, NY Times.
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.”
Two documentaries that explore the life of black people in Europe. GURUMBÉ: AFRO-ANDALUSIAN MEMORIES is a documentary that explores the contribution of Africans to Spain from the 15th to the 18th centuries.THE BLACK MOZART IN CUBA celebrates the The Chevalier de Saint-Georges, a remarkable man who lived in France in the 18th century.
Flamenco is synonymous with Spanish culture. Yet, since its inception, theorists have sidelined the fundamental contribution of Afro-Andalusians to this art form. As the black population began to diminish in Spain in the late 19th century, so too did their contribution to this extraordinary art form. In Gurumbé: Afro-Andalusian Memories, their story is finally told. Directed by M. Angel Rosales, 2016, Spain/Mexico/Portugal/Senegal, documentary, 72min, Spanish and Portuguese w/ English subtitles.
BLACKS MOZART IN CUBA
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.
Directed by Steve James, Stephanie James, 2008, 52 min, Guadeloupe, Documentary, English, French, Spanish with English subtitles.
Revealing films that give a voice to black women in the developing world: * Sexy Money is a wrenching testimony of the challenges faced by two women in Nigeria struggling to navigate a corrupt and ruthless capitalist and sexist environment. * Looking for Life follows two Haitian women's daily work and the constant battle for survival that they lead together with other women in Haiti.
SEXY MONEY presents a subtle indictment of the social reality of poor women in contemporary Nigeria.
A reflection of the difficult social conditions of women in many societies in different parts of the world, SEXY MONEYexplores 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. Directed by Karin Junger, 2014, 85 min, Nigeria/ Netherlands, documentary, English.
LOOKING FOR LIFE
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 on credit; the latter is employed in the same factory as a production worker making pullovers and T-shirts. By Claudette Coulanges, 1999, Haiti/Germany, Documentary, 60min, Haitian Creole w/ English subtitles.
Two exciting, colorful films spotlight the African roots of Cuba's culture by focusing on two legendary artists -- Rumbero Papa Montero and Filmmaker Sara Gomez -- in this unique box set.
THE LAST RUMBA OF PAPA MONTERO / LA ULTIMA RUMBA DE PAPA MONTERO
Get ready to rumba! The life of Cuba s last great rumbero is detailed in THE LAST RUMBA OF PAPA MONTERO, a bold story that captures Cuban traditions and culture through beautiful imagery, sensual music, and the most scorching Latin dance ever invented. Afro-Cuban mythology serves as the force behind the narrative as mythic figures guide the characters through the events of the story.
| Cuba/Martinique | 1992 | 52 mins | docu-drama in Spanish with English subtitles | Octavio Cortazar, Dir. |
“Montero is a celebration of rumba as heart and soul for a colorful Cuban landscape." - SLANT
SARA GOMEZ: AN AFRO-CUBAN FILMMAKER
Acclaimed filmmaker Sara Gomez comes to life in the rich, multilayered documentary SARA GOMEZ: AN AFRO-CUBAN FILMMAKER. Though trained in ethnography, Gomez became the first female Cuban filmmaker. Her background shaped her films, which reflect her interests in Afro-Cuban cultural traditions and women s issues. Friends and family members recall her talent, intelligence, and generosity. Ultimately SARA GOMEZ is a love story between Sara and her husband (filmmaker Germinal Hernandez), Sara and her family, and Sara and her culture. | Cuba/Switzerland | 2005 | 76 min | documentary in Spanish with English subtitles | Alessandra Muller, Dir. |
"[SARA GOMEZ] is an extremely important documentary.... " - Kwame Dixon, SCOPE
HAITI / 2007 / CREOLE AND FRENCH WITH ENGLISH SUBTITLES / 110 MIN
Jimmy Jean-Louis -- featured among the cast of the television phenomenon “Heroes,” -- stars as musician extraordinaire in denial, President, in this Haitian comedy-drama about the HIV/AIDS epidemic. Dao is the biggest movie star in Haiti, the self-proclaimed "President of Compas." He has women falling at his feet and men emulating him. He feels invincible-living the life of a rock star--sex, drugs and alcohol--except that he can no longer hide his illness which is threatening to derail his career. Despite pressure from his manager, he refuses to get tested for AIDS, turning instead to rituals, spells, and the church. At one of his concerts, he rescues Nina from the leery advances of Larieux, a wealthy and powerful businessman, who Nina's mother wants her to marry. As romance blossoms between Dao and Nina, who likes Dao despite his fame, not because of it, Larieux plots his revenge. Also starring Riccardo Lefeuvre and Jessica Geneus.
CUBA / 1979 / SPANISH WITH ENGLISH SUBTITLES / 95 MIN
Maluala takes us into a palenque, a settlement of escaped slaves hidden somewhere in Cuba's eastern mountains, where discord is sown between black "kings" by clever subversives working for the Spanish government.
"Sergio Giral is the best known of the Black Cuban directors and his previous films were historical observations of the period of slavery in Cuba, the gradual rise of rebellion against colonial traditions, and the ultimate freedom that resulted. Maluala is the most striking addition to this genre. The action takes place during the last century in the region of Maluala. Gallo, the black chieftain, together with his cohort, Coba, present a petition for land and liberty to the colonial government. Governor Escudero offers liberty if the rebellious villages will be dismantled and their men offer themselves in surrender. He promises that they will be freed shortly thereafter. Three chieftains agree, but Gallo and Coba refuse... Giral has mounted Maluala with colorful ritual and acting. Samuel Claxton, as Gallo, is highly stylized in the heroic tradition. It is an absorbing adventure film wrought from historical events which appear violent, but Giral constantly implants into every image the necessity for unity among people in order to combat man's seemingly casual desire to subjugate mankind, in the struggle for power and undefined ambition." ~ /San Francisco Film Festival, 1980/
"The historically lucid intrigues of Maluala (1979), where the Afrocentric leadership of fugitive palenque communities is pitted against each other COINTELPRO-style by Spanish colonists, is one of those Cuban films that were forged in a righteous, red-hot ferment but still found the courage and wit to ask questions about the society around them." ~Gary Dauphin, The Village Voice
Narrated by former United States Attorney General Eric Holder whose father is from Barbados, the Errol Barrow docudrama, BARROW: FREEDOM FIGHTER tells the story of The Right Excellent Errol Walton Barrow who successfully led Barbados to independence on November 30th, 1966 after more than 300 years as a British colony.
DIRECTOR AND CAST
Director: Marcia Weekes
Cast: Eric Holder, Adrian Holmes, Lisa Arrindell-Anderson, Robert Riley
CUBA / 1986 / SPANISH WITH ENGLISH SUBTITLES / 96 MIN
Placido portraits the dramatic story of Gabriel de la Concepcio Valdes (Placido), a mulatto Cuban poet accused of leading a conspiracy against the Spanish colonial government. Preoccupied by the development of Afro-Hispanic artist and craftsmen of the mid XIX century, Placido was executed after living a short and controversial life as a man between two races and between a cruel reality and a dream of freedom.
Catch a Fire tells the story of Deacon Paul Bogle, often described as a 19th century Malcom X. 30 years after the end of slavery in Jamaica, the Morant Bay Rebellion of 1865 provoked outrage in Victorian Britain shaping race and land attitudes. The story is constructed using extensive interviews with Paul Bogle's grand son as well as archive material.
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.
HAITI / 2008 / CREOLE AND FRENCH WITH ENGLISH SUBTITLES / 111 MIN
This exploration of Haitian society of the late 19th and early 20th centuries focuses on the tormented life of one of Haiti’s most important authors and prominent political figures, Jacques Roumain. In his perceptive writings, Roumain raised questions about the issues facing Haiti that remain relevant today.
Some of Jacques Roumain’s best writings were translated by the legendary African-American poet Langston Hughes. The question is raised: what legacy has Jacques Roumain left for the future of Haitian youth.
For more information about Jacques Roumainclick here.
HOLLAND AND CURACAO / 1990 / DUTCH AND PAPAMIENTU WITH ENGLISH SUBTITLES / 100 MIN
The story takes place on the island of Curacao in the late Forties.Upon request of Father Fidelius, parish priest of St. Anna's, the Surinam painter Gabriel Goedbloed arrives from Holland to paint a mural of the Virgin Mary in St. Anna's Church. The drama unfolds from different angles. First the clergy and locals are confused by the fact that the painter is black, originating from Surinam, but resettled in The Hague, where he received a Fine Art education.
The close knit Antillian society did not welcome strangers who would not conform to their colonial way of life in those days. Contributing factors arise when he chooses a young teacher, Miss Ava Recordina, who is from mixed origin, to be his model for the painting of the Virgin Mary. Ava is engaged to the white police major Carlos Zarius who is not too happy with his fiancé posing for the painter.
The fact that the Dutch Governor's wife, Louise van Hansschot, is interested in Gabriel also fuels the tension. In the end, Gabriel Goedbloed falls victim to the controversies, hypocrisies and intrigues that have arisen around his person and his paintings.
WINNER: Jury Prize, Festival International de Cine Latino Americano, Havana Cuba, 1990
CANADA, FRENCH GUIANA, AND SURINAME / 2009 / 90 MIN
Maroons are African refugees 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.