News Clipping: 2005

Screenings of the AFF Traveling Series at the Museum of Fine Arts in Houston coincide with a major exhibition entitled African Art Now: Masterpieces from the Jean Pigozzi Collection. The exhibition will present thirty-one contemporary artists from fifteen African countries who live and work in Africa.† The vast majority of works in the exhibition reflect the complex heritage of Africa today, a blend of tradition with influences from global cultures. The great Nigerian filmmaker Tunde Kelani will be a guest presenter during the Festival. He will give a talk (Thursday, February 10, 2005 at 6 p.m.) and he will present his film, Agogo Eewo, followed by a Q & A (Saturday, February 12, 2005 at 7 PM).


New York African Film Festival, April 2004 Moi et Mon Blanc and Soldiers of the Rock. Moi et Mon Blanc is a fast-paced comedy of errors cocaine caper; a humorous fast-paced, quick-witted tale of the collision and embrace of two cultures and the absurdity of caste, class and cash. With aspiration and determination as the impulsive incentive, two parking lot attendants in France bumble across mega euro dollars and a large cache of cocaine. The multi-racial pair, ex-patriot Mamadi, a newly anointed doctoral student from Burkina Faso and a young Parisian with wanderlust, are forced to flee the City of Lights, with the dope dealers in hell-hound pursuit.


Andrew Dosunmu interviews Branwen Okpako

AD: What do you want people to take out of your themes? And what experience do you want people to get?
BO: Okay, let me not be vain about it: I want people to leave Dirt for Dinner having learned something about the way German society functions and a little bit about the history of Germany from the time of socialism of the DDR or the GDR up-to-date. And with the use of this man ­s life, Sam Meffire ­s life, you basically get a kind of, a kind of personal and yet political historical overview of the last thirty years in German history: you know, socialism, reunification and post-reunification Germany, with this personal story of a black German man’s struggle to exist in this society. And it tells you a little bit about how the media works.


“From Russia with Love”

My interest in African cinema began when I was a student of film history at the VGIK film school in Moscow. Films by a number of great African filmmakers including Yeelen, Manabi, Black Girl, Tiyabu Biru, Badou Boy, Sambizanga, and Saruouni, among others, captured my imagination forever. That time began my lifelong love affair with African cinema. It is interesting to note that a number of filmmakers, including the Father of African Cinema, Ousmane Sembene as well as Souleymane Cissé, Sarah Moldoror, Abderrahmane Sissako, studied film in the former Soviet Union, at a time when young African filmmakers were provided with enormous opportunities to learn film in Soviet-bloc countries. While establishing my career in Russia as a young film historian specializing in African Cinema, I always dreamed of traveling to the continent, picturing the African landscapes and people I felt I knew so well. That dream did not become reality until thirteen years later, after I had left my home country and moved to New York.


Zanzibar International Film Festival—Integrating the Region through Art and Culture: From its humble beginnings in 1998, the ZIFF Festival of the Dhow Countries has grown in leaps and bounds to be a grand and momentous event for culture and the arts in the region. The centerpiece of the Festival is an international program of film screenings, workshops and the film industry events. It has continued to showcase films that would not have been accessed by the local and regional public. These films have in their own small way contributed to a new emergence of cinema, artistic excellence and the cultural discourse. This year’s theme was Tafakari Mikondo, Hisi Upepo—Exploring the Currents, Feeling the Winds.

Ouaga Hip Hop Festival—Ouagadougou is much more than the capital of Burkina Faso, it is one of the cultural capitals of the world. The city hosts several major festivals: the International Craft Show of Ouagadougou, the International Theater and Puppets Festival of Ouagadougou, the Jazz Festival of Ouagadougou and two other important theater festivals. The city is also the meeting place of everybody who loves African cinema. Since 1969, every two years, the FESPACO (Ouagadougou Pan-African Film & Television Festival) welcomes thousands of festival-goers and represents the not-to-be-missed festival for all African cinema lovers around the world.