African Film Festival at Washington University March 26-29

The annual Washington University African Film Festival will be held March 26-29. The event will feature films that emphasize movement and migration and their impact on African’s shifting identities.

Courtesy photo

Scene from “Heartlines,” part of the 2009 African Film Festival.

“The African Film Festival is a unique event on this campus that I look forward to every year,” said junior Chiamaka Onwuzurike, president of WUSTL’s African Students Association. “It brings together not only students but members of the St. Louis community to hear different voices from the continent of Africa. Some of the films will make you laugh, some will make you cry but you’re sure to enjoy them all.”

All screenings are free and open to the public and begin at 7 p.m. each evening in Brown Hall, Room 100. A postshow discussion and reception will follow Saturday’s films.

The festival opens with “Meteni: The Lost One,” a film about the nomads moving their herds through northeastern Ethiopia and the disastrous consequences when Meteni, a young Afar woman with two young children, becomes pregnant.

Wilmetta Toliver-Diallo, Ph.D., assistant dean and senior lecturer in African & African American Studies in Arts & Sciences and the event’s organizer, applauds the female filmmakers whose works will be screened at the festival.

Thursday’s screening features the documentary, “Waiting for Men,” by Katy N’diaye, who reveals the unexpected about women’s lives in Mauritania. “It’s a fascinating film because the women in it defy all stereotypes people have about ‘African’ women,” she said.

Toliver-Diallo said one of the most captivating films in the series is “Shoot the Messenger,” with both a female screenwriter and director. The film won the Dennis Potter Screenwriting Award and two British Academy of Film and Television Arts awards.

The film is a journey of self-discovery for the protagonist who is struggling to understand what it means to be black in 21st century Britain. In the UK, blacks come from the Caribbean as well as Africa so forging a community is not without its challenges.

Many of the films being shown are award winners and all are suitable for all ages.

The films in the series have been provided by the African Film Festival, a New York-based not-for-profit organization dedicated to promoting African arts, literature and culture.

The Traveling Film Series, now in its 13th 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.

The traveling series is made possible by 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 African & African American Studies and Film & Media Studies, both in Arts & Sciences; the African Students Association; and the African Students of the George Warren Brown School of Social Work. Additional support is provided by a grant from the Women’s Society of Washington University.

Brown Hall is located near the intersection of Forsyth Boulevard and Chaplin Drive.

For more information and a complete list of films and their descriptions, visit Or contact Toliver-Diallo at 935-7879 or