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.
“The African Film Festival is a unique event on this campus that I look forward to every year,” said junior Chiamaka Onwuzurike, president of the 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 March 26 with “Meteni: The Lost One,” a film about 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, 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.
Also on March 26, the documentary, “Waiting for Men,” by Katy N’diaye, who reveals the unexpected about women’s lives in Mauritania, will be shown. “It’s a fascinating film because the women in it defy all stereotypes people have about ‘African’ women,” Toliver-Diallo 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, being shown March 27, 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 United Kingdom, 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 have been provided by the African Film Festival, a New York-based nonprofit 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 Endowment 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 programs, 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.
For more information and a list of films and their descriptions, contact Toliver-Diallo at 935-7879 or visit wupa.wustl.edu/africanfilm.