Opening Night Film
The team at CFAF is currently getting everything ready for the 22nd annual festival and cannot wait for February 3, 2012, when the festival will open with Scheherazade, Tell Me a Story, a film by one of Egypt’s foremost directors. This film dramatically captures the fusion of oppressive politics, repression, and desire for freedom and creativity that fueled the 2011 “Arab Spring.” Framed like The Arabian Nights and set in modern-day Cairo, the film centers on a popular talk-show host named Hebba. When pressured by her husband to tone down the government criticism in her show so he can get a much-desired government job promotion, she turns her show’s attention to the lives of ordinary women. The results are not at all what her husband or his bosses expected.
Exploring the New African Diaspora
This year, CFAF is also excited to show several films exploring the New African Diaspora. On February 10, Nigerian director Andrew Dosunmu will be on hand for the screening of his extraordinarily beautiful film, Restless City, which tells the story of a young Senegalese immigrant and musician struggling to survive on the margins of New York City. On February 18, CFAF will screen two documentaries about Somali immigrants living in the U.S. Film director Fathia Absie will present her film, Broken Dreams, an investigation into the disappearance of Somali youth from Minneapolis, Minnesota, home to the largest population of Somali immigrants in the country. The Letter: An American Town and ‘The Somali Invasion’ addresses how Somali residents found themselves at the center of a heated immigration conflict in Lewiston, Maine.
On February 17, don’t miss the thrill ride of the festival with this year’s Centerpiece Film, VIVA RIVA! In this gritty, gripping race through the streets of Kinshasa, Riva tries to get away with living the high life on stolen money. But his dreams turn nightmarish when a game of cat and mouse ensues and he finds himself running for his life. Note that this film is rated R and is not recommended for younger audiences.
The documentary film series covers a range of themes this year. You will not want to miss Kinshasa Symphony on February 9. This inspiring film provides intimate portraits of some of the musicians of the only classical orchestra in the Democratic Republic of Congo and the incredible challenges they face. Popular with audiences around the world, the film has been well received for its raw enthusiasm and positive message.
On February 16,join CFAF for Zimbabwe’s Forgotten Children, a wrenching documentary chronicling the economic, political, and social degradation of Zimbabwe, and the devastating impact this is having on the country’s children.
On February 23, The Manuscripts of Timbuktu brings to life the legendary city of Timbuktu, which flourished as part of the Mali Empire as a great center of commerce, learning, and religion. Historians, imams, and experts tell the fascinating tales of this iconic African city, interspersed with creative dramatizations of the life of Ahmed Baba, one of Africa’s greatest scholars (1556-1627).
War Don Don onMarch 1 provides a peek inside the trial of Issa Sesay, a former Sierra Leonean rebel leader, at the international tribunal on war crimes in Freetown, Sierra Leone. Though accused of crimes against humanity, Sesay was also one of the key players in the peace negotiations that led to the long-awaited end to the years of unspeakable violence.
Family Film Day
The animated Kenyan folktales Tinga Tinga Tales will delight the young and the young-at-heart as the Family Film matinee at McMenamins Kennedy School on Saturday, February 25. Arrive early so you don’t miss Malian artist and author Baba Wagué Diakité, who will once again captivate the audience before the film with folktales from West Africa.