Support provided in part by the Union Square Awards, a project of the Tides Center,
The New York State Council on the Arts,
and public funds from the New York City Department of Cultural Affairs, in partnership with the City Council.
Films presented by Doc Watchers, a Harlem, community-based documentary film screening club and series. Curated by Hellura Lyle, Maysles Cinema's very first screening partner. The first Monday of every month at 7pm.
The box office is open for advance ticket purchases Monday, Tuesday, Thursday, & Friday, 12 - 6 pm, and one hour before the start of all events until they end. If the door is locked during these hours, knock on the store front window. Ticket-holders arriving 15 minutes beforeshowtime are guaranteed a seat inside the theater. Overflow seating available for sold out shows.
Tickets $10 suggested donation, unless otherwise noted. Members only: Reserve your seat at firstname.lastname@example.org Become a member>
Our Cinema and one of our restrooms are handicap accessible. Feel free to call the Box Office at (212) 537-6843 if you have any additional questions or concerns.
DOC WATCHERS - PAST SCREENINGS
The Perfect Life Director: Sam Lee, USA, 2006, 85 minutes
A documentary on the lives of Harlem teenagers who are reunited with their 2nd grade teacher (the film's director).
1:00 pm -
Doc Watchers Presents: FOUR FILMS
One day only!
Maquilapolis Directed by Vicky Funari and Sergio de la Torre, 2006. 68 min.
This documentary tells the story of
factory worker Carmen, in a Tijuana maquiladora, where labor violations
and environmental destruction prevail.
3:30 pm The Big Sellout Directed by Florian Opitz, 2007. 94 min.
This hard-hitting documentary
spells out the devastating effects on everyday people caused by the
policies of the WTO and IMF, and the World Bank.
5:30 pm Black Gold Directed by Marc and Nick Francis, 2006. 77 min. "Wake
up and smell the coffee." This film follows coffee farmer Tadesse
Meskela as he tries to get a living wage for the 70,000 Ethiopian
coffee farmers he represents.
Long Night's Journey Into Day Directed by Frances Reid and Deborah Hoffman, 2001. 94 min. After
the end of apartheid, South Africa's Truth and Reconciliation
Commission (TRC) was formed to bring together both victims and
perpetrators of racial
The Pact Dir: Andrea Kalin, 2006, 84mins.Filmmaker to attend.
A gritty and provocative true-life story of three friends from the ‘hood, Rameck Hunt, Sampson Davis, and George Jenkins, who made a pact in high school to find a way to go to college and then medical school.
Monday, Oct. 13
American Outrage Dir: George and Beth Gage, 2007, 56 mins.
Two grandmothers fight against the U.S. government's unlawful attempts to take over their traditional Shoshone land in Nevada. Director will be in attendence.
Faces Of Change Dir. Michele Stephenson , 2007, 80 mins. Faces of Change highlights the story of five activists from five different continents. From their communities in Brazil, India, Mauritania, Bulgaria and the United States, these activists go behind the camera to find a common voice denied them because of their social, racial, gender or ethnic background.
In Our Lifetime Dir. Allison Bonner
During this historic election 7 African Americans who have lived through 15 presidents, 2 World Wars, 1 Great Depression, Jim Crow and the Civil Rights movement sat down and shared their thoughts and feelings about the possibility of having a black president in their lifetime.
November 4, 2008 in Harlem Dir. Anthony Harris
November 4, 2008. It is the day that changed the world! As every corner of the globe waited with anticipation for the U.S presidential election results the ramifications of this potentially historic event resonated profoundly with Harlem.
Harlem 11.4: Obama's Election Dir. Jake Boritt
From a great-grandmother who came up from the South when voting when was not an option for an 18 year old casting her first vote -- Harlem 11.4 captures the richness of the experience on this greatest day in Harlem.
November 4, 2008 in Harlem
Cuba: An African Odyssey Dir. Jihan El Tahri, 117 mins. From Che Guevara's military campaign to avenge Lumumba in the Congo up to the fall of apartheid in South Africa, 300,000 Cubans fought alongside African revolutionaries. CUBA, AN AFRICAN ODYSSEY is the previously untold story of Cuba's support for African revolutions, one of the Cold War's most vigorous contests over resources and ideology.
Behind Forgotten Eyes Dir. Anthony Gilmore, 2007, 78 min.
While Korea groaned under the harsh colonial rule of Imperial Japan from 1932 until 1945, the Japanese military coerced, tricked, and forced more than 200,000 women of Korea into a brutal and systematic form of sexual slavery on an unimaginable scale. Forbidden to leave the rickety shacks hastily constructed near the front lines of Imperial Japan's aggressive wars, often with a blanket as the room's only "furniture", they were forced to have sex with some 30-40 men every day. Behind Forgotten Eyes presents the stories of a few brave Korean women who have come forward and broken the silence exposing a past that some may want to stay buried.
Unnatural Causes - In Sickness and in Wealth
UNNATURAL CAUSES - In Sickness and In Wealth sounds the alarm about the extent of our glaring socio-economic and racial inequities in health. It turns out there's much more to our health than bad habits, health care or unlucky genes. The social conditions in which we are born, live and work profoundly affect our well-being and longevity.
An Evening of 100% Free Harlem Made Shorts
A Harlem Mother Dir. Ivana Todorovic, 2009, 11 min.
This documentary short packs a whopper of a punch, one mother's tragedy leads to a coalition of mothers taking action.
Reprogram Dir. Shani Peters, 2008, 20 min. Through both manual and digital collage, Peters combines mediated visuals of black political icons and fictional media characters within a single video and inserts conversations initiated by these icons of a racially divided past into a contemporary pop culture discussion.
Bronx Princess Dir. Yoni Brook and Musa Syeed, 2008, 38 min.
Bronx Princess follows headstrong 17-year-old teenager Rocky's journey as she leaves behind her mother in New York City to reunite with her father, a chief in Ghana, West Africa. Filmed over the tumultuous summer between high-school and college, Bronx Princess tells Rocky's coming-of-age story. By confronting her immigrant parents' ideas of adulthood, Rocky reconciles her African heritage with her dream of independence.
Q&A with directors of all three films following the screening.
Welcome to the Terrordome Dir. Robert Patton-Spruill, 2007, 100 min.
Public Enemy has had a monumental impact on the music world. This film examines the group's social and cultural impact over the past two decades, with rare concert footage, backstage interludes, and interviews with notable artists.
Boy Scouts 100th Anniversary
The Boy Scouts of Rahway Dir. Tom Mason, 2009, 10 min. The Boy Scouts of Rahwa takes a tongue-in-cheek look at a Boy Scouts competition in New Jersey, the Klondike Derby.
759: Boy Scouts of Harlem Dir. Jake Boritt & Justin Szlasa, 2009, 72 min.
Scout Troop 759 heads from the streets of Harlem to the woods of Camp Keowa. Eleven year old new scout Keith Dozier spends his first week at camp facing the challenges of the woods - the dock test in the deep dark lake, creepy creatures of the night, the daunting climbing tower, the raucous dining hall and the seductive Siberian sirens of the kitchen. With help from his fellow Scouts KC, Devon and Manny and wise Scoutmaster Sowah, young Keith faces the challenges and earns his place as a Scout. 759: Boy Scouts of Harlem is a warm, tender, and funny family documentary about Scouting in an unexpected place.
Followed by a reception.
Up With Me Greg Takoudes, 2008, 80 mins.
This East Harlem local, indie, coming-of-age narrative film follows Francisco who after winning a scholarship to a prestigious boarding school must struggle to maintain his relationships with his girlfriend, Erika, who fears he will no longer be the boy from El Barrio she loves, and best friend Brandon, who acts out in increasingly serious ways to force Francisco back home.
Followed by a reception.
From the Ground Up Dir. Su Friedrich, 2007, 54 min.
Using minimal narration, From the Ground Up shows how an ordinary cup of coffee occupies center stage in the world economy. Traveling with the filmmaker from Guatemala to South Carolina to New York City and seeing each phase of coffee production unfold the growing, picking, processing, distribution, brewing and selling one comes to understand that most products we use have passed through the hands, and lives, of countless people in numerous countries. This film is all about the coffee, and about everything else we consume, consume, consume.
Followed by a reception.
!VALA!: The Power of Black Students at Columbia University 1968-2008 Dir. Kamau Suttles, 2008, 28 min.
On April 23, 1968, African American students risked their academic standing, future careers, and possibly their lives, when they took over the Hamilton Hall Building at Columbia University. VALA! tells the real story of well-organized rebellion which was staged to protest the Vietnam War and the university's proposed construction of a gymnasium in Harlem.
Freddy Ilanga: Che's Swahili Translator Dir. Katrin Hansing, 2009, 24 min.
In April 1965, Freddy Ilanga, a fifteen-year-old Congolese youth became Che Guevara's personal Swahili teacher and translator, during Guevara's secret mission in the Congo to train anti-Mobutu rebels. After seven intense months by Che Guevara's side, the Cuban authorities sent Freddy to Cuba. During his early years, Freddy thought that his stay in Cuba would be temporary. However, 40 years passed during which time he lost all contact with his family and homeland.
Keep On Steppin' Dir. Christine Noschese, 2008 25 min.
Originally founded in Harlem as an alternative to “sitting around and complaining about their aches and pains,” the Steppers dance company has become a source of strength for the dancers that has empowered them to persevere through the inevitable tragedies of life.
Q&A with directors & reception to follow screening.
Keep On Steppin'
Streetball Dir. Demetrius Wren, 2010, 78 min.
Streetball is fast-paced documentary that tells the story of South Africa's 2008 Men's Homeless World Cup team. The Homeless World Cup is an annual soccer tournament that draws teams from over 56 countries and is composed of young people who are homeless and excluded from society. The South Africa squad consists of orphans, recovering drug addicts, ex-convicts, and former gangsters, all of whom band together to represent their country, proving that no one is beyond redemption.
Followed by talkback with director Demetrius Wren and a reception.
Has God Forsaken Africa Musa Dieng Kala, 52 min.
Brussels, Belgium - August 1999. Two teenagers are found dead in the undercarriage of a plane from Conakry, Guinea. In the pocket of one of the young men was a letter in which he had written, “There's too much suffering in Africa”. Each year, thousands of young Africans risk their lives in search of a brighter future. Many drown or die of cold, hunger and fatigue. Shocked by this growing phenomenon, director Musa Dieng Kala returns to Dakar, Senegal, where he grew up, and asks the painful question: Has God Forsaken Africa? The film follows five young adults who seek to immigrate to the West at any cost. This moving film makes the case for a global ecology in which no nation or people is abandoned.
AFTER THE MOVIE:
Discussion & Reception.
Mine Dir. Geralyn Pezanoski, 2009, 81 min.
When tens of thousands of pets were left behind as Hurricane Katrina bore down on New Orleans, custody battles arise between the pets' original owners and their adoptive families that bring to light some of the same race and class issues that have permeated five years of discussion of Hurricane Katrina.In the clamor to get out of the city, many pet owners left their animals with food and water, fully intending to return in a few days. People without the means to leave the city on their own were forced onto buses and barred from bringing their pets. Mine follows some of the hundreds of volunteers who mobilized in the hours and days after the storm, entering the city and capturing as many stranded pets as they could find. Film website> NY Times Review>
AFTER THE MOVIE:
Discussion & Reception.
Thomas Sankara: The Upright Man Dir. Robin Shuffield, 2006, 52 min.
Sankara, a charismatic army captain, came to power in Burkina Faso, in 1983, in a popularly supported coup. He immediately launched the most ambitious program for social and economic change ever attempted on the African continent. To symbolize this rebirth, he even renamed his country from the French colonial Upper Volta to Burkina Faso, "Land of Upright Men." This film offers a detailed history of Sankara's revolutionary program for African self-reliance as a defiant alternative to the neo-liberal development strategies imposed on Africa by the West, both then and today.
AFTER THE MOVIE:
Nov. 10 7:00 pm
Very Young Girls Dir. David Schisgal & Nina Alvarez, 2008, 82 mins. Very Young Girls is an exposé of human trafficking that follows thirteen and fourteen year old American girls, as they are seduced, abused, and sold on New York's streets by pimps, while being treated as adult criminals by police. The film follows the barely-adolescent girls in real time, as they are first lured on to the streets, and the dire events that follow. The film also uses startling footage shot by the brazen pimps themselves giving a rare glimpse into how the cycle of street life begins for many women.
The film identifies hope for these girls in the organization GEMS (Girls Education and Mentoring Services), a recovery center founded and run by Rachel Lloyd, herself a survivor of sexual exploitation. She and her staff are heroic and relentless in their mission to help girls sent by the court or found on the street. Given a chance to piece their lives back together, many will teeter on edge of two different worlds consistently battling the force that will suck them back into the underground. Very Young Girls' unprecedented access to girls and pimps will change the way law enforcement, the media and society as a whole look at sexual exploitation, street prostitution and the human trafficking that is happening right in our own backyard.
AFTER THE SCREENING:
Q&A with Jennifer Park, Girls Are Not For Sale Campaign Coordinator, Girls Education & Mentoring Services (GEMS)
The Jena 6 Big Noise, 2008, 28 min.
In a small town in Louisiana, six families are fighting for their sons lives. Two nooses are left as a warning to black students trying to integrate their playground, fights break out across town, a white man pulls a shotgun on black students, someone burns down most of the school, the DA puts six black students on trial for attempted murder, and the quiet town of Jena becomes the site of the largest civil rights demonstration in the South since the 1960s. The Jena 6 is a powerful symbol for, and example of, how racial justice works in America where the lynching noose has been replaced by the DA's pen.
The Torture of Mothers: The Case of the Harlem Six Dir. Woodie King, Jr., 1980, 52 min.
In 1963 a group of young Black boys living in Harlem were involved in an incident that earned them the nickname "The Harlem Six." Intent on protecting and clearing the names of their sons, several mothers bonded together to make their story known. This work emerges as a powerful close up of police brutality, and of power dynamics of 1960's Harlem.
Director Woodie King Jr. will be present for post-screening Q&A
The Jena Six
The Torture of Mothers
A Work in Progress Screening of: Prep School Negro Dir. Andre Robert Lee, 2011
Andre Robert Lee and his older sister grew up in the ghettos of Philadelphia while their mother struggled to support them by working in a local factory. When Andre was 14 years old he received what his family believed to be a golden ticket -- a full scholarship to attend one of the most prestigious prep schools in the country, Germantown Friends School. Elite education was Andre's way up and out, but at what price? Yes the tuition was covered but this new world cost him and his family much more than anyone could anticipated. In Prep School Negro Andre takes a journey back in time to revisit the events of his adolescence while also spending time with current-day prep school students of color and their classmates to see how much has really changed inside the ivory tower.
AFTER THE SCREENING: Q&A with Dir. Andre Robert Lee
12th & Delaware Rachel Grady & Heidi Ewing, 2009, 80 min.
On an unassuming corner in Fort Pierce, Florida, it's easy to miss the insidious war that's raging. But on each side of 12th and Delaware, soldiers stand locked in a passionate battle. On one side of the street sits an abortion clinic. On the other, a pro-life outfit often mistaken for the clinic it seeks to shut down.
As the pro-life volunteers paint a terrifying portrait of abortion to their clients, across the street, the staff members at the clinic fear for their doctors' lives and fiercely protect the right of their clients to choose. Shot in the year when abortion provider Dr. George Tiller was murdered in his church, the film makes these fears palpable. Meanwhile, women in need become pawns in a vicious ideological war with no end in sight.
AFTER THE SCREENING: One of the filmmakers will be present for Q&A
Americana Dir. Topaz Adizes, 2010, 91 min.
The compelling stories of two American teenagers in their last months of high school before enlisting in the U.S. Army are juxtaposed with conversations between Americans and locals overseas of what it means to be ‘American' and ‘free'. Shot all over the world from Vietnam and Hiroshima, to Belgrade and Istanbul, Americana is an epic exploration of American identity at home and abroad. The Americana Project website>
Zimbabwe's Forgotten Children Dir. Jezza Neuman, prod. Xoliswa Sithole, 2010, 90 min., South Africa
The story of three children trying to survive in Robert Mugabe's Zimbabwe. Winner of the Peabody Award
Followed by Q&A with Peabody Award Winning Filmmaker, Xoliswa Sithole
All I Wanna Do Dir. Michelle Medina, 2010, 59 min., Morocco
Forty-eight year-old Simohamed, who works as a parking guard, and his 17-year-old son Ayoub, get the opportunity to pursue their dreams of being Hip Hop artists.
Jazz Mama Dir. Petna Katondolo, 2010, 30 min., Congo
How do you talk about rape in a place where basic human rights are systematically violated? Katondolo skirts the boundaries of reality and fiction, offering a compelling portrait of Conoglese women who stand strong in their communities and denounce the violence they experience.
A Blues for Tiro Dir. Steve Kwena Mokwena, 2007, 48 min., South Africa
A poetic tribute to an extraordinary black consciousness activist and inspirational leader, who was murdered in 1974.
Ladies In Waiting Dir. Dieudo Hamadi & Divita Wa Lusula, 2010, 24 min., Congo
In a maternity ward in the Congo, new mothers are "held hostage" until they are are able to settle their medical bills.
Shouting Silent Dir. Renee Rosen, prod. Xoliswa Sithole, 2002, 50 min., South Africa
An adult orphan who lost her mother to HIV/AIDS journeys back home in search of other young women who have also lost their mothers to HIV/AIDS and are now struggling to raise themselves (and, in many cases, their siblings) on their own.
Followed by Q&A with Peabody Award Winning Filmmaker, Xoliswa Sithole
Alex's Wedding Jean-Marie Teno, 2003, 45 min., Cameroon
Three people's lives are about to change dramatically. Alex goes to his in-laws' to bring home his second wife. His childhood sweetheart and first wife, Elise, reluctantly accompanies him.
North-South.com Dir. Francois Ducat, 2007, 53 min., Cameroon
In a country where nearly half the population lives under the poverty threshold, many young women surf the internet hoping to "escape" by marrying a rich, white foreigner.
Zero Tolerance Dir. Dieudo Hamadi, 2010, 18 min., Congo
The systematic use of rape casts a dark shadow on the Congolese society. Ordinary men are guilty of violently exploiting women, and are unable explain what came over them.
Driving with Fanon Dir. Steve Kwena Mokwena, 2010, 70 min., Sierra Leone
Avant-garde filmmaker, Kwena Mokwena travels through Freetown, Sierra Leone with the ghost of Frantz Fanon, engaging a new generation into conversation about the radical black scholar, psychiatrist and revolutionary thinker.
Doc Watchers Presents Three Short Docs
One of These Mornings Dir. Valery Lyman, 2010, 17 min.
Realizing the feeling would be big as people went to vote for Obama, filmmaker Valery Lyman set up a phone line and asked folks to call right after they voted and say whatever was on their minds. Messages poured in from all over the country, and while it all still hung in the balance. This tapestry of incredibly moving messages narrates our journey from dawn til dusk, revealing a nation on the brink of transformation. Film website>
Weightless Dir. Faith Pennick, 2010, 39 min.
Fat girls rule the water in this film about a scuba diving camp for plus-size women called Big Adventures. The camp was created by a psychologist and certified scuba diver & instructor who felt ostracized by other divers because of her size. Weightless depicts larger women as they are rarely seen, physically active and not consumed by the need or expectation to be thin. Film website>
Why Are They Here? Dir. Yara Costa, 2010, 30 min.
A tiny village in Lesotho, an isolated island in Mozambique, the bustling capital of Ghana...poor Chinese immigrants come here hoping to thrive and prosper, but find themselves facing all kinds of obstacles - even death. This film takes a close look at three stories representing the most personal encounters between Africans and Chinese in the past ten years.
Fresh Dir. Ana Sofia Joanes, 2009, 72 min
Fresh celebrates the farmers, thinkers and business people across America who are re-inventing our food system. Each has witnessed the rapid transformation of our agriculture into an industrial model, and confronted the consequences: food contamination, environmental pollution, depletion of natural resources, and morbid obesity. Forging healthier, sustainable alternatives, they offer a practical vision for a future of our food and our planet. Among several main characters, Fresh features urban farmer and activist, Will Allen, the recipient of MacArthur's 2008 Genius Award; sustainable farmer and entrepreneur, Joel Salatin, made famous by Michael Pollan's book, The Omnivore's Dilemma; and supermarket owner, David Ball, challenging our Wal-Mart dominated economy.
Charge It To The Game Dir. Joseph Rodman, 2010, 60 min. Charge It To The Game takes viewers on an emotional journey with those directly affected by gun violence. This revealing documentary includes testimonies of young people who have seen gun violence straight on; mothers who have lost their children; former gang-members who have committed murders; and Brooklyn's District Attorney. Charge It To The Game, not only features numerous first-hand accounts of violence, but it also explores solutions for creating a safer future for our young people.
Post-screening Q&A with Producers and Participants
& Reception to follow Screening.
Special Video Presentation of Men of Majesty
with Co-founder, Shawn Blanchard
Men of Majesty, a service organization in the Holcombe Rucker HS in the South Bronx, is dedicated to the cultivation of true manhood in young men aspiring to such. Their objective is to bridge the gap between adolescence and manhood. They seek to help participants to build within themselves the Seven Pillars of Manhood as defined by Men of Majesty. These pillars are Servant-hood, Leadership, Scholarship, Self-Control, Humility, Integrity, and Spirituality.
An Unreasonable Man:
A Documentary About Ralph Nader
Steve Skrovan & Henriette Mantel, 2007, 122 min.
In 1966, General Motors, the most powerful corporation in the world, sent private
investigators to dig up dirt on an obscure thirty-two year old public interest lawyer
named Ralph Nader, who had written a book critical of one of their cars, the Corvair.
The scandal that ensued after the smear campaign was revealed launched Ralph Nader
into national prominence and established him as one of the most admired Americans and
the leader of the modern Consumer Movement. Over the next thirty years and without ever
holding public office, Nader built a legislative record that is the rival of any contemporary
president. Many things we take for granted including seat belts, airbags, product labeling,
no nukes, even the free ticket you get after being bumped from an overbooked flight are
largely due to the efforts of Ralph Nader and his citizen groups. Yet today, when most people
hear the name "Ralph Nader," they think of the man who gave the country George W. Bush. With
the help of exciting graphics, rare archival footage and over forty on-camera interviews
conducted over the past two years, An Unreasonable Man traces the life and career
of Ralph Nader, one of the most unique, important, and controversial political figures of
the past half century.
Post-Screening Discussion and Reception with Director, Henriette Mantel
Traces of the Trade: A Story from the Deep North
Dir. Katrina Browne, 2008, 86 min.
In the feature documentary Traces of the Trade: A Story from the Deep North, filmmaker Katrina Browne discovers that her New England ancestors were the largest slave-trading family in U.S. history. She and nine cousins retrace the Triangle Trade and gain powerful new perspectives on the black/white divide.
Post-screening Discussion and Reception to Follow
A Special Screening of Salesman in Honor of
Al Maysles' 85th Birthday
Dir. Albert Maysles, David Maysles & Charlotte Zwerin, 1968, 85 min.
The documentary follows four salesmen as they travel across New England and Southeast Florida trying to sell expensive Bibles door-to-door in low-income neighborhoods. The film focuses in particular on the struggles of salesman Paul Brennan, a middle-aged Irish-American Roman Catholic from Boston, who struggles to keep up his sales.
The screening will be followed by a Q&A with Director Albert Maysles
Dir. Yoruba Richen, 2010, 52 min.
Though apartheid ended in South Africa in 1994, economic injustices between blacks and whites remain unresolved. As revealed in Yoruba Richen's incisive Promised Land, the most potentially explosive issue is land. The film follows two black communities as they struggle to reclaim land from white owners, some of whom who have lived there for generations. Amid rising tensions and wavering government policies, the land issue remains South Africa's "ticking time bomb," with far-reaching consequences for all sides.
Q&A with Director Yoruba Richen & Reception to follow screening.
Wake Up Jonas Elrod and Chloe Crespi, 2009, 97 min
Jonas Elrod was leading an ordinary life until he woke up one day to a totally new reality. He suddenly could see and hear angels, demons, auras and ghosts. The documentary Wake Up follows this fascinating story of an average guy who inexplicably developed the ability to access other dimensions. With his loving but skeptical girlfriend by his side, Jonas crisscrosses the country as he searches for answers and delves deeper into this thrilling world of the phenomenal and spiritual.
"WAKE UP is a call to consciousness to everyone who sees it; an invitation to accept that there is more to this life than meets the eye." Sting and Trudie Styler
"A hugely important, life-changing film." – Filmmaker Joe Berlinger ("Brother's Keeper," "Paradise Lost," "Crude")
WAKE UP had its festival premiere at the SXSW Film Festival and was recently featured by Oprah Winfrey on the OWN Network's "Super Soul Sunday" programming block and on her radio program, "Oprah's Soul Series."
Strange Fruit Joel Katz, 2002, 57 min. Strange Fruit explores the history and legacy of a song unique in the annals of American music. Best-known from Billie Holiday's haunting 1939 rendition, the song "Strange Fruit" is a harrowing portrayal of the lynching of a black man in the American South.
The film tells a dramatic story of America's past by using one of the most influential protest songs ever written as its epicenter. The saga brings us face-to-face with the terror of lynching as it spotlights the courage and heroism of those who fought for racial justice when to do so was to risk ostracism and livelihood if white - and death if black. It examines the history of lynching, and the interplay of race, labor, the Left and popular culture that would give rise to the civil rights movement.
Rabbit Proof Fence Phillip Noyce, 2002, 94 min.
The true story of three aboriginal girls who were forcibly taken from their homes in 1931 to be trained as domestic servants as part of an official Australian government policy. They make a daring escape and embark on an epic 1,500 mile journey to get back home -- following the rabbit proof fence that bisects the Australian continent -- with the authorities in hot pursuit. A verite-fiction classic.
The Tracker Rolf de Heer, 2002, 98 min.
The year is 1922 in this docu-drama. The Tracker (David Gulpilil) has the job of pursuing a fugitive, an aborigine who is suspected of murdering a white woman, as he leads three mounted policemen across the outback. As they move deeper into the bush and further away from civilization, the toxic forces of paranoia and violence begin to escalate, stirring up questions of what is black and what is white and who is leading whom. Their journey becomes an acrimonious and murderous trek that shifts power from one man to another.
Our Generation Sinem Saban & Damien Curtis, 2010, 73 min. Our Generation is a powerful and upfront documentary on the Australian Aboriginal struggle for their land, culture and freedom -- a story that has been silenced by the Australian Government and mainstream media. In this film, national indigenous leaders, historians and human rights activists explore the ongoing clash of cultures that is threatening to wipe out the oldest continuing culture in the world. Our Generation Website>
More Than a Month Shukree Hassan Tilghman, 2012, 60 min.
Shukree Hassan Tilghman, a 29-year-old African-American filmmaker, sets out on a cross-country campaign to end Black History Month. He stops in various cities, wearing a sandwich board, to solicit signatures on his petition to end the observance. He explains that relegating Black History Month to the coldest, shortest month of the year is an insult, and that black history is not separate from American history. Through this thoughtful and humorous journey, he explores what the treatment of history tells us about race and equality in a "post-racial" America. His road trip begins in Washington, D.C., crisscrosses the country during Black History Month 2010, and ends with an epilogue one year later. Each stop along the journey explores Black History Month as it relates to four ideas: education, history, identity, and commercialism. Tilghman's campaign to end Black History Month is actually a provocative gambit to open a public conversation about the idea of ethnic heritage months, and whether relegating African American history to the shortest month of the year — and separating it from American history on the whole — denigrates the role of black people and black culture throughout American history. But it is also a seeker's journey to reconcile his own conflicting feelings about his own identity, history, and convictions. More Than a Month is not just about a yearly tradition, or history, or being black in America. It is about what it means to be an American, to fight for one's rightful place in the American landscape, however unconventional the means, even at the risk of ridicule or misunderstanding. It is a film about discovering oneself.
After the screening: Q&A with director Shukree Hassan Tilghman and Anthony Riddle, Managing Director of the Maysles Insitute and descendant of Dr. Carter Woodson, creator of Negro History Week.
Reception to follow, co-presented by DocWatchers
Doc Watchers Presents:
Curated by Hellura Lyle of Doc Watchers, a Harlem, community-based documentary film screening club and series.
Violeta Ayala & Dan Fallshaw, 2009, 75 min.
In 2007, while attempting to make a feel-good documentary about the scheduled family reunion of a Saharawi woman who has been stranded in a refugee camp in Western Sahara, a former Spanish colony in North Africa, two Australian-based filmmakers stumble on something altogether more politically explosive and find themselves at the center of an international controversy. The UN-sponsored reunion uncovers a complex network of relationships amounting to nothing less than modern-day slavery. This exceptional film is a searing testimony to man's continued inhumanity to man.
Stolen is a compelling, real-life cloak-and-dagger thriller.
Followed by a Doc Watchers reception.
I Am Sean Bell
Stacey Muhammad, 2009, 11 min.
Black boys (between the ages of 11 and 13), along with their parents, speak about the brutal murder of Sean Bell by police officers, the effect it has had on their communities, and their heartbreaking fear, spurned by growing up as young black men in our racist society, of Sean Bell's fate someday being theirs.
Little Brother: Things Fall Apart
Nicole Franklin & Jasmin Tiggett, 2008, 18 min.
The first installment of a documentary film series dedicated to giving Black boys a unique voice. Set in Camden, New Jersey, well-known as one of the nation's most dangerous cities, the film takes a look at boys growing up amongst extreme violence, poverty and crime, and explores their feelings on love and relationships set against impossible odds.
For Our Sons (Young, Black & Male in America)
Vanz Chapman & Eric McKay, 2007, 86 min.
This groundbreaking documentary consists of powerful interviews with Black men from different walks of life, men who have "been through the fire" of growing up in the oftentimes hostile inner cities. Through their stories of strength and perseverance, For Our Sons offers a hopeful and reflective outlook for many fatherless black boys who are in danger of becoming a statistic.
Q&A with Directors from all of the films and Reception to follow the screening.
In partnership with Doc Watchers and The New York African Film Festival, Maysles Cinema will be showing a selection of short and feature length African films from Friday, May 4th through Sunday, May 6th.
Yoole, The Sacrifice
Moussa Sene Absa, 2010, 75 min.
In April 2004, a boat was found in Barbados with eleven dead bodies on board; the boat had left Senegal bound for Europe four months earlier. Absa, lecturing in Barbados at the time, decided to go home to Senegal to explore the lives of the men found on the boat.
Africa the Beat
Samaki Wanne, 2011, 60 min.
Filmed in Nzali, an enclave situated in the heart of Tanzania where the Wagogo live, this film captures and reveals this unique musical universe. From the film's first frame to the last sound heard, each image takes us further into their daily reality while their music gradually engulfs us in a world of surprising sensations.
Africa Shafted: Under One Roof
Ingrid Martens, 2011, 55 min.
Filmed in the Ponte, Africa's tallest residential apartment building, which is home to more than 4000 people from every corner of Africa. This is not your everyday film. The film allows the viewer to be a fly on the wall, and intimately interact face to face with Africa. This serious, poignant, humorous, and uplifting film reveals the courage, heart, hope, beauty and stories of daily struggles of Africans from the rest of the continent living in South Africa today.
Where Do I Stand?
Molly Blank, 2010, 38 min. Where Do I Stand? is a window into the lives of seven young people who are thinking deeply about their actions, their communities, and the state of their country during and after xenophobic attacks broke out across South Africa in May 2008.
The Unseen Ones
Kurt Orderson, 20 min.
A musical documentary film that centers around 27-year old Leagan Davids, aka Nico10long, a dispossessed youth from the township Wesbank/Delft struggling against the high crime rate, substandard schooling and unemployment on the Cape Flats while trying to raise his three-year daughter, Allevia.
Filmmaker present for post-screening Q&A
The Dance of King David
Axel Baumann, 33 min.
The film is based on a dance King David performed in front of the Ark over 3000 years ago and which is still practiced today during the Jewish festival of Simchat Torah and the festival of Timkat in Ethiopia. The film is a beautiful journey through the ancient and modern worship of this object.
Filmmaker present for post-screening Q&A
The Prodigal Son Kurt Orderson, 2009, 64 min. The Prodigal Son retraces the lost history of the Orderson family. The filmmaker's great grandfather, Joseph Orderson was of the generation of newly emancipated slaves, who with fellow West Indians left Barbados to settle all over the world, including Cape Town's District Six. These men came as sailors and were part of the pioneering Black Atlantic Communication Network, inspired by Marcus Garvey's Universal Negro Improvement Association.
Ayen's Cooking School for African Men
Sieh Mchawala, 2007, 52 min.
In Sudan it is taboo for a man to cook. What happens when a Sudanese woman starts a cooking school for the Sudanese refugee men in Australia and asks them to prepare a feast for their biggest critics, the elder women?
Our Beloved Sudan
Taghreed Elsanhouri, 2011, 92 min. Our Beloved Sudan documents the political destiny of the Sudanese nation; from its birth in 1956 to its eventual partition in 2011. Juxtaposing a personal narrative with a larger social commentary, the filmmaker seeks to understand how the world reached the inevitable conclusion of Sudan's partition, and the Sudanese people's coming to terms with the events.
Fire In Babylon
Stevan Riley, 2010, 83 min.
Throughout the Caribbean, one sport rules over all others—cricket. Comprised of players from 15 countries, the West Indies cricket team rose to preeminence throughout the 1970s despite civil unrest at home and racial prejudice abroad. When Clive Lloyd assumed the team's captaincy, he transformed a laughingstock into world champions. Fire in Babylon is the thrilling story of how the West Indies triumphed over their colonial masters through the achievements of one of the most gifted teams in sporting history.
Farewell Exile (Salam Ghourba)
(Narrative Short Film)
Lamia Alami, 2011, 15 min.
In an underprivileged Moroccan neighborhood surrounded by misery, Fatima anxiously waits to join her husband, who emigrated to France over a year ago. Will a letter from her husband secure a brighter future, allowing her to take her son away from this harmful environment? Or will she have to make a crucial sacrifice?
Filmmaker will be present.
The Education of Auma Obama
(Feature Length Documentary)
Branwen Okpako, 2011, 79 min
Branwen Okpako's The Education of Auma Obama is a captivating and intimate portrait of the U.S. president's older half-sister, who embodies a post-colonial, feminist identity. An academic overachiever, she studied linguistics and contemporary dance in Heidelberg, Germany, before enrolling in film school in Berlin, where she met Nigerian-born director Okpako in the nineties.
Our Generation Sinem Saban & Damien Curtis, 2010, 73 min.
The slow and quiet genocide of the very isolated Aborigines in Australia is long overdue for international mainstream attention.
Our Generation is a powerful and upfront documentary on the Australian Aboriginal struggle for their land, culture and freedom -- a story that has been silenced by the Australian Government and mainstream media. In this film, national indigenous leaders, historians and human rights activists explore the ongoing clash of cultures that is threatening to wipe out the oldest continuing culture in the world.
Please join us for the screening of this recently completed engaging documentary which reveals the current predicament in which the Aborigines find themselves. Our Generation Website>
Ernie Park & Michael Graziano, 2010. 63 min.
The documentary Lunch Line takes a new look at the school lunch program. The National School Lunch Program began in 1946, and now, more than 60 years later, the program feeds more than 31 million children every day. Lunch Line follows six kids from one of the toughest neighborhoods in Chicago as they set out to fix school lunch — and end up at the White House. Their unlikely journey parallels the dramatic transformation of school lunch from a patchwork of local anti-hunger efforts to a robust national feeding program. The film tracks the behind-the-scenes details of school lunch and childhood hunger from key moments in the 1940s, 1960s, and 1980s to the present, revealing political twists, surprising alliances, and more common ground than people might realize.
Every Night at
Dir. Kevin Macdonald, 2012, 145 min.
Bob Marley's universal appeal, impact on music history and role as a social and political prophet is both unique and unparalleled. Marley is the definitive life story of the musician, revolutionary, and legend, from his early days to his rise to international superstardom. Made with the support of the Marley family, the film features rare footage, incredible performances and revelatory interviews with the people that knew him best. From Academy Award-winning director Kevin Macdonald (One Day In September, The Last King of Scotland) comes the story of a towering figure of musical history, whose music and message has transcended different cultures, languages and creeds to resonate around the world today as powerfully as when he was alive. Starring Bob Marley, Ziggy Marley, Cedella Marley, Rita Marley, Neville Bunny, Wailer, Chris Blackwell among others. "I think what's great about the film is though there have been a lot of things done on Bob, I think this one will give people a more emotional connection to Bob's life as a man- not just as a reggae legend or a mythical figure, but his life as a man." -Ziggy Marley.
Official Film website and trailer>
Doc Watchers on Monday, August 6th will be in honor of the official 50th anniversary of Jamaican Independence and will be followed by a reception as well.
Africa Shafted: Under One Roof
Ingrid Martens, 2011, 55 min.
Filmed in the Ponte, Africa's tallest residential apartment building, which is home to more than 4000 people from every corner of Africa. This is not your everyday film. The film allows the viewer to be a fly on the wall, and intimately interact face to face with Africa. It puts a human face to refugees and migrants that have traveled so far for a better life, in search of the "African dream", in the continent's most economically booming city, Johannesburg, South Africa. This serious, poignant, humorous, and uplifting film reveals the courage, heart, hope, beauty and stories of daily struggles of Africans from the rest of the continent living in South Africa today.
Doc Watchers reception to follow screening.
In My Genes
Lupita Nyong'o, 2009, 78 min.
The first feature-length documentary by talented Kenyan director Lupita Nyong'o, In My Genes follows eight individual Kenyans who have one thing in common: they were born with albinism, a genetic condition that causes a lack of pigmentation. In many parts of Africa, including Kenya, it is a condition that marginalizes, stereotypes, and even endangers those who have it. Though highly visible in a society that is predominantly black, the reality of living with albinism is invisible to most. Through her intimate portraits, Ms. Nyong'o lets us see their challenges, their humanity, and their everyday triumphs.
Post-screening Q&A with director Lupita Nyong with reception to follow.
In My Genes
Our House Greg King & David Teague, 2010, 58 min. On Dan Taylor's first day out of prison he had nowhere to go, and faced one of the most important choices of his life: to return to his past of drug addiction or to try for something better. Through a chance encounter the next day, he met Derek, a young Christian anarchist, who invited him to move into a new and very unusual community in Brooklyn. Called "Our House," it was an alternative to the impersonal shelter system, providing the homeless a safe place where everyone lived communally (and illegally) in an abandoned Williamsburg warehouse. Besides a roof and healthy food, Dan also found new friends, a spiritual haven in a makeshift 'prayer tent,' and the hope of putting his life back together. But when the building is set for demolition to make way for luxury condos, Dan and the other residents must confront the inevitable end of their community and what that will mean for their futures.
Post-screening Q&A with directors Greg King & David Teague followed by a reception
Roots Dir. Evan Turk, USA, 2011, 4 min.Based on the history of the African Burial Ground in Lower Manhattan, this animated short explores the ritual of coffins and burial as an unbreakable connection between the Africans brought to America as slaves and those who stayed behind in West Africa.
Twinkl Dir. Gilles Elie-Dit-Cosaque, Martinique, 2008, 51 min. In the seventies, whilst Martinique was facing social unrest, one man Robert Saint-Rose, a great admirer of Aime Cesaire, planned an incredible project: to be the first Frenchman in space. Thanks to the testimony of politicians, scientists and personalities of this period in time, and, of course, Robert Saint-Rose's family, Twinkl describes this extraordinary adventure and finally draws the portrait of a man, a dream, a society.
Daughters of the Dust Dir. Julie Dash, USA, 1991, 112 min. Julie Dash's Daughters of the Dust, is a masterpiece work created 20 years ago that captured a spell-bounding portrait of South Carolina's Gullah culture, whose traditions are some of the most pronounced African traditions retained in American today.
Followed by Discussion & Reception with
Daughters of the Dust Cinematographer Arthur Jafa
& Daughters of the Dust Publicist Michelle Materre (Moderator)
About the Speakers: Arthur Jafa is a cultural critic/worker, visual artist and African diasporic organic intellectual of the first order. His thinking around questions of black cultural politics, black cultural nationalism and film is published in Michele Wallace's "Black Popular Culture" (1992). As cinematographer, he has done work with Julie Dash, on Daughters of the Dust as well as Spike Lee's Crooklyn and Manthia Diawara's Rouch in Reverse.
Michelle Materre has a professional background spanning more than 25 years experience as film producer, writer, arts administrator, and distribution and marketing specialist. She is an Assistant Professor of Media Studies and Film and currently the Associate Director of The Bachelor's Program where she has taught since 2001. As a founding partner of KJM3 Entertainment Group, Inc., a film distribution and marketing company that specialized in multicultural film and television projects, she directly managed the marketing and positioning of 23 films including the successful theatrical release of Daughters of the Dust, the highly acclaimed film by Julie Dash.
Real Stories From a Free South Africa
How have the ten years of freedom from apartheid since Nelson Mandela’s election in May, 1994 effected the lives of ordinary South Africans? In 2003, South African Broadcasting 1, the most widely-watched channel in South Africa, with the support of the National Film and Video Foundation, decided to find out. They commissioned fourteen emerging filmmakers from different classes and racial groups to make video portraits of South African society. Real Stories from a Free South Africa is a fascinating experiment in empowering people to tell their own life stories as they are unfolding. It provides a unique grassroots view of the first decade of one of the most ambitious and radical experiments in social reconstruction in human history.
Minky Schlesinger and Khetiwe Ngcobo, 2004, 52 min.
Born into exile as the daughter of political émigrés, Kethiwe Ngcobo and her family returned to their longed-for homeland, South Africa in 1994. Ten years later, Kethiwe, a hip, young woman with a British accent finds herself struggling to find her place in the new South Africa. This is a personal and honest look at one person’s quest for identity.
Andrea Spitz, 2004, 49 min.
Ivy is a black woman who managed to run her own beauty salon surreptitiously during the dark days of apartheid. She lives in Alexandra, a restless and poor township, while her white, mostly elderly, clients live in the tree-lined suburbs of Johannesburg. In her salon she is part beautician, long-time friend, lay counselor and honest commentator to her customers. While she masks her clients’ imperfections, she also peels away layers of difference separating the races.
A Special Fundraiser Screening of Pray the Devil Back To Hell
6:30pm: Reception (For reception and screening Doc Watchers Inc. is requesting that you make a $25 tax-deductible donation)
One hundred and twenty miles from Monrovia, Liberia’s capital city, there is a small village called Goyazu, which is in the midst of repairing itself after more than a decade of war, which nearly destroyed this community. Since the reestablishment of peace in Liberia, formerly displaced villagers have returned and have been working together to rebuild their community from the ground up. Currently, the residents of Goyazu are completing the village’s first school, and starting to build a clinic. As you can imagine, this has been no small undertaking. Goyazu is not as far away as it may seem. This community was founded by the grandfather of a Harlem resident and good friend of Doc Watchers Inc., Kolu Zigbi. And in a few months Kolu and her family will be traveling to Goyazu to assist in the rebuilding efforts.
On Monday, February, February 4th, Doc Watchers Inc. will be hosting a fundraiser screening of Pray the Devil Back To Hell, a film which chronicles the remarkable story of the courageous Liberian women who came together to end a bloody civil war and bring peace to their shattered country. All of the donations will go directly to supporting the village’s rebuilding project. The evening will begin with a cozy reception at 6:30, during which we will enjoy live West African Kora music, yummy food & drinks. We will also have the opportunity to hear Kolu and her family speak about the village and the project.
7:30 pm - Screening (for screening only $10.00 suggested donation)
Pray the Devil Back to Hell
Gini Reticker and Abigail E. Disney, 2008, 72 mins.
Pray the Devil Back to Hell chronicles the remarkable story of the courageous Liberian women who came together to end a bloody civil war and bring peace to their shattered country. Thousands of women — ordinary mothers, grandmothers, aunts and daughters, both Christian and Muslim — came together to pray for peace and then staged a silent protest outside of the Presidential Palace. Armed only with white T-shirts and the courage of their convictions, they demanded a resolution to the country’s civil war. Their actions were a critical element in bringing about a agreement during the stalled peace talks.
Screening will be followed by a Panel Discussion
Doc Watchers Inc. is requesting that you make a $25 tax-deductible donation and come out and share this experience with us.
I hope that you will join us, but if not, don’t despair, you can still make a tax-deductible donation through PayPal - www.ACCEUSA.org or by mailing a check to:
The African Center for Community Empowerment
111-20 Farmers Blvd., Building A, St. Albans, NY 11412.
(Please make checks payable to: African Center for Community Empowerment and write Village Project in the memo line.)
A Women’s History Month Special
AurelinaCinderella of the Cape Flats
Ebony Goddess: Queen of Ilê Aiyê Carolina Moraes-Liu, 2010, 20 min
Filmmaker Carolina Moraes-Liu's documentary Ebony Goddess: Queen of Ilê Aiyê tells the story of three young women searching for identity and self-esteem as they compete to be the queen of Ilê Aiyê. The documentary explores the contest’s role in reshaping the idea of beauty around Afro-centric notions of beauty, as opposed to prevailing standards in Brazil, a country famous for slim supermodels and plastic surgery.
Cinderella of the Cape Flats: Volume 2 of Real Stories from a Free South Africa Jane Kennedy, 2004, 58 min.
Everyday the working class women of color in the garment industry of the windswept flats around Cape Town toil anonymously to make clothes so that other women will look beautiful. Invariably they cannot afford these garments themselves. But for one day a year they come out in all their glory at the Annual Spring Queen pageant. The pageant is created by the workers and their trade union to bring their families together for an evening of solidarity and fun. After working for weeks on glamorous costumes, which one will be queen for a day? Set against the preparation for the 2003 pageant, this film explores the lives of working women and celebrates them as creators of beauty. Although the end of apartheid has not taken away the drudgery of repetitive factory labor, this pageant shows working class women inventing their own lively folk culture.
Reception to follow screening.
The Karlton Hines Story
The Karlton Hines Story
Troy Reed, 2005, 57 min
Karlton Hines was one of the most fierce basketball players in the streets of NYC, from the age of 12 he would go on to dominate the game. His talent would eventually catch the eyes of every top Division I college in the nation. Coaches would flock from suburban areas into the inner-city projects to recruit him. But inevitably, scouts would face a big disappointment: Karlton preferred to live the street life. At the age of 18, Karlton went on to make a name for himself in the NY drug trade.
Post-screening Q&A with director Troy Reed.
African Film Festival Inc., Doc Watchers' Inc, and Maysles Cinema Present:
Five Days of African Docs
Curated by Hellura Lyle
Fredrik Stanton, 2012, 85 min, Egypt
Produced by an Academy Award-winning team including the Executive Producer of Taxi to the Dark Side and the Editor of Inside Job, Uprising tells the inside story of the Egyptian revolution from the perspective of its principal leaders and organizers, including four Nobel Peace Prize nominees. Their success in forcing the downfall of a brutal dictatorship has changed the face of the Middle East and provided hope for millions of oppressed people across the world. Above all, it is a story of profound hope, and of courage rewarded.
Doc Watchers reception to follow screening.
African Film Festival Inc., Doc Watchers' Inc, and Maysles Cinema Present:
Five Days of African Docs
Curated by Hellura Lyle
Rasta: A Soul's Journey
Rasta: A Soul’s Journey
Stuart Samuels, 2011, 93 min, Canada
Rasta: A Soul's Journey tells the story of the journey of Rita and Bob Marley's granddaughter, Donisha Prendergast, to eight (8) countries around the world to explore the roots and evolution of Rastafari. Her journey takes her to places where her grandfather's captivating performances and his message are still fondly remembered. The documentary boasts an uplifting and inspiring reggae soundtrack that features established as well as emerging contemporary, reggae stars such as Humble, Matisyahu and Damian Marley. This exciting mix of travel, music and culture packs a powerful punch that will appeal to audiences around the world.
Post-Screening Q&A with director/granddaughter of legendary artist Bob Marley, Donisha Prendergast.
Creation In Exile
Daniela Ricci, 2013, 53 min, France
This documentary follows the personal and artistic paths of five major African filmmakers in exile from Paris to Washington, from Ouagadougou to London, via Uppsala.
Sifuna Okwethu: We Want What's Ours
Bernadette Atuahene, 2011, 19min, South Africa
Under Apartheid, the Ndolila family’s ancestral land was stolen. Years later, with their descendents trying to regain ownership of the land, the family is still battling apartheid and its lingering effects. And much to the dismay of the middle-class black mortgage holders who now own their ancestral land, the Ndolilas have built shacks on the disputed property.
Dara Kell & Christopher Nizza, 2012, 90 min, South Africa
When the South African government promises to 'eradicate the slums' and begins to evict shack dwellers far outside the city, three friends who live in Durban's vast shantytowns refuse to be moved. Dear Mandela follows their journey from their shacks to the highest court in the land as they invoke Nelson Mandela's example and become leaders in a growing social movement. By turns inspiring, devastating and funny, the film offers a new perspective on the role that young people can play in political change and is a fascinating portrait of South Africa coming of age.
Jeppe On A Friday
Arya Lalloo & Shannon Walsh, 2012, 85 min, Quebec/South Africa
The directors and a team of local filmmakers spent a single day following five distinct characters, creating a portrait of a community pulsing with life. The result is an astonishing work that stands as a fluid exploration of the complex and fascinating spectrum of South African society.
You Laugh But Its True
David Paul Meyer, 2011, 84 min, US/South Africa
In South Africa’s emerging world of stand-up comedy, comedians of color have only recently started performing on stage. With the opportunity to finally command the attention of a large audience, they go beyond just settling for easy laughs and confront the legacy of apartheid head on in their material. Against the backdrop of this volatile environment, 25-year-old Trevor Noah ambitiously pursues his passion to entertain. Yet his fledgling career as a comedian is largely relegated to headlining at corporate events due to the country’s comedy scene being so small. Determined to pursue his dream of performing all over the world, Trevor decides to produce his first one-man show, despite his lack of experience performing on stage. Based on the size of the proposed venue alone, it will be the most ambitious debut ever attempted by a comedian in South Africa. To prepare for the show, Trevor revisits his past, creating material from memories of growing up in the township under apartheid. As the child of an interracial couple, a union that was illegal in South Africa at the time of his birth, Trevor’s life reveals the story of an outsider who has somehow figured out a way to relate to everyone through his comedy. Despite this progress, the preparation for the show becomes increasingly difficult as Trevor faces a multitude of challenges: an underdeveloped comedy scene, criticism from other comics, strained personal relationships, lingering racial tension, and a shocking family tragedy. They combine to form a crisis that threatens not just the success of the show, but Trevor’s dreams of lifting himself and the South African comedy scene to the global stage.
Post-Screening Skype Q&A with Director David Meyer to follow screening.
Footprints of My Other
Claude Haffner, 2011, 52 min, France/Congo
Directed by Claude Haffner, 2011, 52 min, France/Congo
Claude Haffner, daughter of a French father and Congolese mother, sets off for Congo in search of her African identity. Her starting point is the archive of photos left by her late father, a specialist in African cinema. She also speaks with her mother, who tells of life in Congo and adjusting to France. In 2004, Claude and her mother visited Congo for the first time since the family left in 1981. This experience has inspired Claude to return again, now alone, to deepen her relationship with her mother’s family. Her journey brings her face to face with the diamond trade, and with her sense of otherness, both in Congo and back home in France.
Post-Screening Skype Q&A with Director Claude Haffner.
Chai Vasarhelyi, 2013, 83 min, Senegal/USA
Touba chronicles the Grand Magaal pilgrimage of one million Sufi Muslims to the holy city of Touba, Senegal. This observational film takes us inside the Mouride Brotherhood, one of Africa's most elusive organizations.
Q&A with director Chai Vasarhelyi to follow screening.
Mugabe: Villain or Hero?
Roy Agyemang, 2012, 11 6min, UK
Is there more to President Robert Mugabe and Zimbabwe than is being shown on our television screens? What’s the true extent of Mugabe’s support inside Zimbabwe? What has happened to the country that they all called the bread basket of Africa – and why? These questions and more led British filmmaker Roy Agyemang on a journey to Zimbabwe to make a documentary about President Robert Mugabe. What started out as a three-month mission turned into three life-changing years, culminating in a rare interview with one of the world’s longest-serving yet most reviled leaders. Mugabe: Villain or Hero? Is an epic personal journey, narrated by Agyemang who, together with his UK-based Zimbabwean fixer, found themselves in Mugabe’s entourage, on Colonel Gaddafi’s private jet and around a host of prominent African leaders.
Post-Screening Skype Q&A with Director, Roy Agyemang and reception to follow screening.
The Maysles Cinema is located at:
343 Malcolm X Boulevard / Lenox Avenue (between 127th and 128th Streets)