Beginning this week, The University of Arizona South will co-host a traveling film festival that was launched by a New York-based nonprofit organization working to promote the work of African and American artists.
The event, the African Film Festival National Traveling Series, will be held at two locations in Sierra Vista over a four-day period beginning Feb. 4. With funding from the National Endowment for the Arts and the Andy Warhol Foundation for the Visual Arts, among others, the series was organized by the African Film Festival, Inc.
To host the films, UA South is partnering with the U.S. Army Training and Doctrine Cultural Center, Cochise College's Center for Lifelong Learning and the Fort Huachuca Equal Opportunity office.
UA South will screen films Feb. 4 through Feb 7. Cochise College will screen films on Feb. 4 only. Admission to the film series is free, however, attendees are asked to register in advance.
The series takes a compelling look at life on the African continent. The films to be shown are:
"Meteni: The Lost One" is an Ethiopian film is about Meteni, a young woman of the Afar community – nomads who move with their herds – who has two children. While Meteni's husband goes to town to purchase supplies, she must dismantle the house and move it to a new site.
"Awaiting for Men" is a film about three women who practice traditional paintings by decorating the walls of Oualata, a city in Mauritania on the edge of the Sahara desert. The film will be facilitated by Mark Apel, a UA-area associate extension agent in southern Arizona who has worked as a Peace Corps volunteer in Morocco and holds a master's degree in international affairs with an emphasis on African studies.
"Come Back to Sudan" is a short Sudanese film about three men who last saw their families with they were all 8 years old. Now in their 20s, the men return to Sudan with their adoptive mother in search of their families. The film will be facilitated by Kenya-born Jim Munene, who is assisting a team at the U.S. Army Training and Doctrine Command – or TRADOC – and David Tannenbaum, who has traveled to and lived in various parts of Africa and is the lead developer and instructor at TRADOC.
"Kinshasa" is a film about a family that is displaced to Europe from their native Africa as a result of the wars in the Democratic Republic of Congo. Tannenbaum will co-faciliate the film with H. Dieter Steklis, interim associate dean for academic affairs at UA South.
"Le Clandestin" is a short film about an Angolan stowaway who arrives in Lisbon and is dismayed by his situation there. The film's facilitators are Michelle Gray and Marilyn Willis-Grider. Gray is a member of a TRADOC team and an army reservist. Willis-Grider, who has lived in Johannesburg, is a developer and instructor at TRADOC.
"Paris Selon" is a film about Moussa, who is set to Paris to purchase a new water pump for his village and encounters interesting individuals along the way. The film was awarded the Human Rights Award by the United Nations in 2003. Gray and Willis-Grider will co-facilitate the film.
"Shoot the Messenger" is about a teacher who is determined to help keep the black youth at his school from devoting themselves to gangs and a life of crime. However, he loses his job as an educator and eventually loses control of his own life. The film won the Dennis Potter Screenwriting Award. The film will be facilitated by Rick Weaver and Kate Smith of the TRADOC team.
"Hearlines" is a South African film about the power of unconditional love. Manyisa, a young man who has just completed a jail sentence, is given a second life when a pastor and his family takes him in. The film will be facilitated by Willis-Grider and Etta Kralovec, a Fulbright Fellow, who helped establish the Africa University in Zimbabwe.
"Clouds Over Conakry" is about an artist who must choose between succeeding his father as the guardian of his village's ancestral traditions and a life as a computer scientist.
Many of the films in the series are in African and European languages with English subtitles. For a complete schedule and to register to attend the festival, visit the UA South Web site.