African Film Festival at Washington University March 23-26

Traveling Film Series to feature eight films from seven nations

Washington University will host the African Film Festival’s renowned Traveling Film Series March 23-26.

*Dole (Dollar)*
*Dole (Dollar)* (1999), directed by Imunga Ivanga.

The series will consist of four feature films and four short films from seven different African nations. Filmmakers combine oral traditions, non-linear storytelling and other narrative strategies while also drawing on identifiably African motiffs — including myth, fantasy, humor and magic — to address themes ranging from colonialism and urbanization to youth subcultures and the ironies of contemporary life.

“This African Film Festival is a showcase of diverse and complex issues from the continent tackled by African filmmakers, who have limited distribution outlets and resources,” said Wilmetta Toliver-Diallo, Ph.D., assistant dean and lecturer in African & African-American Studies in Arts & Sciences.

“This is critical because there has been a deluge of foreign-made films about Africa that have become very popular,” Toliver-Diallo continued. “Only rarely do we, in the United States, get to see contemporary films made by African filmmakers who provide self-critique of their societies through rich and moving imagery. Bringing the festival to campus is a way of balancing current conversations and broadening our conceptions of Africa.”

*African Middleweights*
*African Middleweights/ Africains Poids Moyens* (2004), directed by Daniel Cattier.

Shawn Shimpach, Ph.D., lecturer in Film and Media Studies in Arts & Sciences, suggested that “these films can offer an important window onto the societies’ cultural self-representation. Such forms of understanding are all the more important when we realize that the nations of Africa will only become more economically and geopolitically influential as the 21st century progresses.”

All screenings are free and open to the public and begin at 7 p.m. each evening in Brown Hall, Room 100. An opening reception will follow Thursday’s films. Brown Hall is located near the intersection of Forysth Boulevard and Hoyt Drive. For more information, visit, email or call (314) 935-7879.

The African Film Festival is a New York-based not-for-profit dedicated to promoting African arts, literature and culture. The Traveling Film Series, now in its 10th year, highlights an often-neglected part of international film culture, and one frequently overlooked by major film distributors. Each year the series travels to about a dozen cities, reaching thousands of viewers who would otherwise have little or no opportunity to view African cinema.

*Safi, la petite mere*
*Safi, la petite mere* ((2004), directed by Burkina Faso.

The series is made possible by generous support from the National Endowments for the Arts, the Andy Warhol Foundation for the Visual Arts and the New York State Council on the Arts. Campus sponsors include Film & Media Studies, African & African-American Studies and the African Students Association. Additional support is provided by a grant from the Women’s Society of Washington University. For more information about the series, visit

Each evening will include one recent feature and one recent short film. The complete schedule runs as follows:

Thursday, March 23

Safi, la petite mere
Rasò Ganemtoré – Burkina Faso, 2004, 30min.
When her mother dies in childbirth, eight-year-old Safi, flee her village with the newborn to avoid a custom mandating the sacrifice of the infant to avert a bad fate for the village.

Clarence Thomas Delgado – Senegal, 1991, 80min.
Based on a novel by Ousmane Sembene, the film recounts the bus trip of a father seeking to bury his infant daughter and the cros-section of Senegalese life that he encounters.

Friday, March 24

Be Kunko / Everybody’s Problem
Cheick Fantamady Camara – Guinea, 2004, 30min.
Bè Kunko depicts the spiral of violence that a group of teenagers fall into as they struggle to survive from day-to-day in a Guinean refugee camp in the capital of Conakry.

Dolé / Dollar
Imunga Ivanga. Gabon. 1999. 92 min. In French with English Subtitles.
A tender film that addresses youth, coming of age and the economic challenges of globalization.

Saturday, March 25

African Middleweights/ Africains Poids Moyens
Daniel Cattier – Zimbabwe/Belgium, 2004, 18min.
On the eve of the Belgian Congo’s independence in 1960, a young Congolese boxer arrives in Brussels for the Afro-European Middleweight Championship.

Le Ballon D’or / The Golden Ball
Cheick Doukoure – Guinea, 1992, 90min.
An engaging tale that follows Bandian, a boy-wonder on the soccer field, from his village in the bush to superstardom in France.

Sunday, March 26

Something Else / Nkan Mii
Seke Somolu – Nigeria, 2004, 16min.
A microscopic look at middle-class life in Nigeria.

The Colonial Misunderstanding / Le Malentendu Colonial
Jean-Marie Teno – Cameroon, 2004, 78min.
A bold exploration of Germany’s “African past” — specifically, its attempts to colonize parts of Africa through religion and trade.

Calendar Summary

WHO: Washington University’s African & African-American Studies Program, Film & Media Studies Program and African Students Association.

WHAT: Africal Film Festival’s Traveling Film Series

WHEN: 7 p.m. March 23-26

WHERE: Brown Hall, Room 100, near the intersection of Forsyth Boulevard and Hoyt Drive.

COST: Free

INFORMATION: (314) 935-7879 or