Festival Highlights

Opening night with director Mahamet-Saleh Haroun at the Hollywood Theatre

Chadian film director Mahamat-Saleh Haroun will open the festival with his Cannes award-winning film, A Screaming Man/Un Homme Qui Crie. Mr. Haroun has become one of Africa’s most acclaimed filmmakers, and the festival has been proud to showcase his films over the years, starting in 2001 with his documentary Bye-Bye Africa, the first film ever made in Chad, followed by Abouna/Our Father in 2004, Darratt/Dry Season in 2008 and the wildly popular Sex, Okra and Salted Butter in 2010.

Two documentary filmmakers present their films about solar energy and soccer

This year’s documentary films will cover a wide range of topics and issues, including a tribute to the great Senegalese actor Sotigui Kouyaté, slavery in Western Sahara, albinism in Kenya, hair salons in Ghana, a solar energy project in Mali, and a homeless World Cup soccer team in South Africa. Cambria Matlow, a recent transplant to Portland, will be on hand to present her documentary Burning in the Sun. And Demetrius Wren, from New York City, will present his documentary Streetball.

Centerpiece Film showcases The Athlete about first black African to win Olympic Gold Medal

The Centerpiece film is The Athlete/Aletu, which is based on the life of the Ethiopian runner, Abebe Bikila, the first black African to win an Olympic gold medal. It will be shown at the Hollywood Theatre on February 18.


StudentFest presents films with special appeal to students of high school and college age in a matinee program. This year’s StudentFest will be at noon on Thursday, February 17 and will feature The Athlete and a series of African short films. Pumzi is a science fiction film set in Africa, 35 years after World War III, when life has gone underground; Ousmane provides a creative twist to begging on the streets of Dakar; and Saint Louis Blues is an old-fashioned musical that takes place in a Senegalese taxi.

Family Film Day at the Kennedy School with Baba Wagué Diakité

Family Film Day focuses on films that appeal to younger audiences (ages 5 and up). This year’s selection is White Lion, the remarkable story of a rare white lion’s struggle to survive alone on the wild African plains and the young boy who is determined to protect the animal at all costs. Artist/storyteller Baba Wagué Diakité of Mali will carry on the tradition of introducing the film with a traditional story from West Africa.

Women Filmmakers Week

The final week of the Festival features a variety of films by women directors, this year with documentaries and feature films made in Ghana, Kenya, Mali, South African and Uganda.