2017 Festival Schedule


2007 - 2017 A Decade of AWDFF

Retrospective of Films through the decade

Retrospective of Films through the decade
  • The Al-Hadji and His Wives 52m
    Jie Li (Cameroon, USA)
    A portrait of a Fulani patriarch, his savvy wives, and their rebellious daughters, this documentary provides a glimpse into their everyday lives, religious and moral practices, as well as their idiosyncratic political opinions and worldview. With a critical but sympathetic gaze, it also chronicles the process and rationale by which Amina, a 16-year-old daughter of the family, is forced into an unwanted marriage.
  • Common Enemies 25m
    Nick Guroff, Tonantzin De Aztlan (Libya, USA)
    The story of a group of Black Muslims, American Indians, and Chicano radicals who, in the mid-1980s, met each other, then met again in Muammar Qaddafis Libya. They went to a series of meetings with one of Americas principal enemies, intending to meet a revolutionary and find common cause. What actually happened in those meetings, and the pandemonium that ensued, landed some participants in prison and helped catapult tensions between the U.S. and Libya to an all-time high.
  • Reyita84m
    Oliva Acosta (Cuba, Spain)
    The story of a Cuban, black woman who was born in 1902: Maria de los Reyes, Reyita. Her story would have gone unnoticed, even by her own family, if her youngest daughter had not written a book about it. A story of slavery, discrimination and struggle at a time when being a woman meant invisibility and fighting for survival.
  • Africa: War is Business 52m
    Frank Vellenga (Africa: War is Business)
    A documentary that uncovers the system of moneymaking based on warfare in many parts of Africa. It reveals the nature of a system that doesnt stop at national borders, with UN resolutions or apparent peace. HRH Prince Jaime de Bourbon Parme, specialist in conflict prevention, travels through Sierra Leone, Liberia and Congo. He is looking for the source of wars in Africa. He asks the question of how it is possible that these countries, so rich in natural resources are still under the terror of poverty. He analyses the role of the natural richness with these conflict.
  • Raadis: in search of... 48m
    Emmanuel Mutsune (Canada, Kenya)
    This documentary explores the criminalization of Somali identity in Kenya and how this has affected the legal and civil rights of Kenyan citizens of Somali extraction and how this in turn has affected identity formation amongst Kenyan Somalis.
  • The Professor 25m
    Jason Price (Liberia, USA)
    In a meager, one-bedroom apartment on the outskirts of New York City lives a quiet, old man who was once President of an African country. Former law professor and Supreme Court justice David D. Kpormakpor served as Interim President of Liberia between 1994 & 95, during its disastrous civil war. An unforgettable, lyrical portrait of a decent man, 'The Professor' ultimately reflects upon the nature of honor and character in an unjust world.
  • My image still complete 57m
    Alfonso Par (Sierra Leone, Spain)
    A human story about how sport and friendship can overcome the hardest of situations. Three young boys who were victims of the massive amputations due to the civil war in Sierra Leone, and were destined to be alone, handicapped and beggars in the streets of Freetown. But one-day football came across their life. When they started to play, they understood they were not victims anymore: they were determined to become heroes.
  • NSSM 72m
    Del Walters (USA)
    The real story of the collapse of Africa. The film traces the roots of the CIA in Africa and how racism and American ignorance fueled foreign policy. To make their case the film makers use never before heard audio tapes, films and newly declassified textual records from the National Archives that truly revealed the real reason as to why the brightest lights on the African continent are dark
  • Volcanic Sprint53m
    Steve Dorst (USA)
    The sleepy town in Buea in the Southwest Province of Cameroon hosts Africas most grueling footrace: the Mt. Cameroon Race of Hope, a marathon-length sprint 10,000 feet up a live volcanoand back down again. To conquer the mountain, racers must overcome some of the cruelest conditions in sport: temperatures fluctuate 50 degrees, altitude sickness claims the weak, and loose volcanic stones can cause serious injuryand even deathas runners fly back down the mountain.
  • Elephant People: An African Secret Society and Globalization 27m
    Lyombe Eko (Cameroon)
    The filmmaker made a pilgrimage into the inner core of the Bakweir "Mahle" secret society in Cameroon, which he describes as "the most enduring aspect of the Whakpe culture" which survived 125 years of colonial and missionary effort to stamp it out. The film focuses on role of the secret society as a symbol of how the Bakweri strive a balance between their culture, religion (Christianity) and the influence of modernity
  • The Little Black School House 60m
    Sylvia Hamilton (Canada)
    The Little Black School House unearths the hidden story of Canada's racially segregated Black schools. It is a poignant and unfailingly honest evocation of the struggle of the children, women and men to achieve dignity and equality in education--a right fundamental to democracy.
  • The Lost Wave: An African Surf Story 58m
    Paul Taublieb (Sao Tome and Principe, USA)
    Legendary surf explorer and filmmaker Sam George travels to the remote African island nation of Sao Tome, its history steeped in slavery and colonialism, to see if he can prove surfing is an African sport and revive his passion for the sport that has defined his life.
  • What Hope for the African Youth? 71m
    Franck Gilles Brice, Hameni Bieleu (Cameroon)
    This documentary explores the reasons behind the exodus phenomenon of the African youth. It tries to find out why this continent so rich in resources drives its youth away.
  • Jamaica for Sale 92m
    Esther Figueroa, Diana McCaulay (Jamaica)
    The Caribbean is the region's most economically dependent on tourism. As Jamaica is irreversibly transformed by the travel and service industry, the documentary "Jamaica for Sale" documents this transformation and also counters the dominant view that tourism is the savior of the Jamaican people.
  • Prince among Slaves 60m
    This is a docu-drama of real life events surrounding an inspiring African prince, captured in Africa, and enslaved for 40 years in the United States in the nineteenth century before finally regaining his freedom.
  • SOMAY KU: A Uganda Tennis Story 99m
    Rex Miller (USA, Uganda)
    Patrick Olobo, Uganda's top-ranked tennis player, struggles to leave behind a devastating civil war, finding a new set of obstacles after emigrating to the United States.
  • A Voodoo Memory 61m
    Irene Lichtenstein (Haiti, Switzerland)
    The film draws a portrait of Marianne Lehmann, a Swiss woman settled in Haiti, who has built the biggest voodoo objects collection in the world. A voodoo memory reveals the beauty and signification of these pieces, highlights the link between voodoo and the emancipation of the Haitian people, and draws a unique portrait of this 70-year old woman still imbued with a youthfull spirit.
  • All the World's a Stage 60m
    Nirmal Chander (India)
    The Sidis came to India from East Africa 800 years ago. Centuries of discrimination have pushed them down the socio-economic ladder but their unique devotional music has given them a strong sense of identity.
  • Kick the Lion - Witchcraft and Football in Africa 90m
    Oliver G. Becker (Oliver G. Becker)
    What can you do to strengthen your own body and mind before playing a soccer match? What can you do to weaken your opponent? "Kick the Lion" explores the secret but fascinating world of Traditional African Medicine & Religion! You may call it 'juju', 'muti', 'witchcraft' or 'magic'.
  • The Art of Stick Fighting 28m
    Joseph Valley (Trinidad, Tobago)
    The film highlights the significance, purpose and meaning of this traditional art form of stick fighting. The documentary contains interviews from some of the famous stickfighters in Trinidad and Tobago, researchers in the area of traditional carnival culture and individuals who have been around the culture of stickfighting for many years.
  • God is American 52m
    Richard Martin-Jordan (France, Vanuatu)
    God is American, and he was born in the USA! The people of Tanna, an island in the archipelago of Vanuatu in the South Pacific Ocean, have invented a new religion. They pray to the American flag and adore John Frum, an American prophet whose return they await.
  • Journey through Emancipation 2007 29m
    Cathy SitaRam (US Virgin Islands)
    Every summer, US Virgin Islanders commemorate 1848 ... the climactic end to the brutality of slavery that took place in the Danish West Indies on the island of St. Croix. "Journey through Emancipation 2007" takes you through celebration events and dramatic accounts of bravery and survival in the face of crimes against humanity.
  • Through the Negev 18m
    Ya-Hsuan Huang (USA, Israel, Sudan)
    The genocide and violence in Sudan has created a diaspora of refugees as far north as Israel. Narrated by the few women and children who have made the journey by walking from Egypt to Israel. Caught in complicated geographic, religious and political webs, the simplicity of their message becomes even more powerful: all they want is a place to call home.
  • Salah, an African Toubab? 68m
    Margriet Jansen (John Swindells)
    Every African wants to go to Europe is the common public opinion in Europe. But there are those who stayed in their native country and who realize that happiness is not an easy commodity in a foreign land. Salah Salahina Sounfountera, living in Mali, is such a man. Having made his decision to stay, and ambitious enough to build his own company in Africa, his daily reality is a hard one. As a tourist guide he has become a 'modern man', with western ideas who wants to take the best of both worlds, not realizing that he will fall into the gap between two cultures. His ideas conflict with the expectations of both his family and his wife. He is seen as a toubab, an outsider, a white man. In this intimate portrait of a young man struggling with his identity, we get to see a different picture of contemporary West Africa.
  • Music by Prudence 33m
    Roger Ross Williams (USA, Zimbabwe)
    A quadriplegic singer thrills the crowd with her voice night after night. Academy Award winner 2010
  • A Family Divided 52m
    John Swindells
    An exiled Sierra Leonean journalist and political prisoner, returns to her former refugee camp in Ghana in an attempt to reconcile her past, re-unite her family and help those still trapped in the camp.
  • Forest of Crocodiles 52m
    Mark Aitken (United Kingdom)
    What choices do white South Africans make when addressing their fears of crime, violence and black people? Some are well resourced while others are ingeniously resourceful. The consequences are regression and isolation or freedom from fear. Like crocodiles, these people have been left to evolve according to their own laws.
  • Shades of the Border 12m
    Patrick William Smith (Dominican Republic, Haiti, USA)
    Located on the same small island divided by class, wealth, and skin color, Haiti and the Dominican Republic face heated immigration issues. This film explores the disconnect between the Dominican media and the reality of violence and racism against Haitians in the Dominican Republic.
  • The Athlete 90m
    Davey Frankel, Rasselas Lakew (Ethiopia, Germany, USA)
    The remarkable and true life story of the great Ethiopian Olympic marathon runner, Abebe Bikila. The film is an extraordinary narrative feature that seamlessly blends autobiography, biopic, drama and documentary. It investigates the inner workings of a man who is ceaseless and single-minded in his journey for greatness.
  • Freddy Illanga: Ches Swahili Translator 20m
    Katrin Hansing (USA)
    The film looks at the unusual life story as a Congolese rebel youth, his time and relationship with Che Guevara and his long awaited re-encounter with his family. It is a film about an African man whose life has predominantly been determined by the power struggles of the Cold War and Cuban Revolution and who is now trying to take his destiny back into his own hands.
  • Freddy Illanga: Ches Swahili Translator 48m
    Nicole Brooks (Canada)
    A documentary that celebrates and chronicles the life of the Hon. Lincoln Alexander - a Canadian black man who in the time of the turbulent 60s became the first black man to achieving one of the highest position in the Canadian government. This is the first time his story has been told - in his own words.
  • Cellular Wisdom 54m
    Lisa Brody (Cameroon, Venezuela)
    In the Clinic of Hope a revolutionary vaccine called Vanhivax is being used to treat patients with HIV/AIDS. Today there is documented evidence of 25 sero-conversions (HIV+ to HIV-). If this treatment is so effective, why haven't we heard about it? 'Cellular Wisdom' tell us why.
  • Solidarity in Saya: an Afro-Bolivian Music Movement 30m
    Maya Jensen (USA)
    This documentary examines the traditional Afro-Bolivian, who has remained isolated in rural poverty as subsistence farmers since the abolition of slavery, and their recent movement that uses their Saya music to pursue their social and political needs.
  • Voices of Witness Africa 30m
    Cynthia Black (USA)
    Religious authorities in Africa have claimed that there are no gay or lesbian people in their country. This film features the stories of lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender Africans who strive to be faithful to their church and their sexuality.
  • Dont Lose Hope 60m
    David Gobert (France)
    A docu-drama on the African myth on immigration as lived by African themselves. The problems of immigration and integration, be they physical or cultural, constitute the backdrop of the film. It explores the position of the African woman in France, wedged between modernity and traditions. The film casts an eye on an Africa divided between its vision of the Europe and its attachment to some little accepted customs in the western world such as: black magic, polygamy and the relationship between men and women as they are traditionally lived in Africa.
  • Mrs. Goudu's Daughter 60m
    Barbara Attie, Janet Goldwater (Mali, USA)
    The story of a West African mother's fight for asylum in the U.S. to protect her two-year old daughter from female genital cutting. Shot in Philadelphia and Mali, the film explores the African tradition of female genital cutting from an African perspective, as well as the intricacies and frustrations of the asylum process.
  • Chasing Keino 28m
    Ed Vaughen (USA)
    The film follows the lives of four Kenyan runners training in the US to complete in US marathons so that the monies won through racing may be repatriated to Kenya to improve not only the runners' lives but also the lives of others in their culture.
  • Sweet Crude 95m
    Sandy Cioffi (USA, Nigeria)
    The story of Nigeria's Niger Delta - the human and environmental consequences of 50 years of oil extraction, the history of non-violent protest, and the members of a new insurgency who, in the three years since the filmmakers met them as college students, became the young men of the Movement for the Emancipation of the Niger Delta (MEND).
  • Home Free 22m
    Christopher Redmond (Burundi, Canada)
    In 1972, civil war and ethnic massacres forced hundreds of thousands of Burundians from their homes. Most fled to Tanzania, where they would live as refugees for generations. Thirty-six years later, they are finally finding a place to call home. Home Free follows three Burundian families; one has chosen to stay in Tanzania and become citizens, another.has chosen to return to Burundi after some 35 years and a third that has resettled in Canada. The film reveals the process developed by the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees to handle refugee situations around the world and humanizes one of Africa's most prolonged situations.
  • Soka Afrika 77m
    Suridh Hassan (United Kingdom)
    Soka Afrika is a feature length documentary film celebrating African football in the run up to World Cup 2010. Following the different paths of aspiring young African players from South Africa, Ivory Coast, Egypt and Cameroon, Soka Afrika explores the power of football to influence Africa for better or worse. Follow Kermit Erasmus and Ndomo Sabo as they pursue very different routes to potential stardom and witness as a former Cameroon international makes it his mission to save those hopefuls falling through the cracks.
  • Where Do I Stand? 38m
    Molly Blank (South Africa)
    When xenophobic attacks broke out across South Africa in 2008, many were shocked by a violence that felt like a violation of the principles of their democratic nation. Where Do I Stand? is a window into the lives of seven young people grappling with their actions during and after this violence. They include a Rwandan refugee, a girl wrestling with the reality of foreigners in her township, a boy facing calls of cowardice, a girl whose family sheltered their Malawian gardener. This violence was another challenge to a country still struggling with the legacy of apartheid -- poverty, unemployment, racial divisions. Where Do I Stand? captures the optimistic voices of youth struggling with their experiences and carving out their own places in this complex nation.
  • The Stinking Ship 28m
    Bagassi Koura (USA)
    'The Stinking Ship' is a 26 minute documentary film that chronicles the odyssey of an oil toxic waste shipment and the human tragedy that followed the dumping of the ship's cargo in the middle of an African city causing perhaps one of the biggest environmental disasters of the last decade. The film starts with a view of the ship, the Probo Koala, when on August 19, 2006, it sneaked into Abidjan and spread its toxic cargo across Abidjan, Cote d'Ivoire's largest city. Weeks earlier, after numerous attempts in several places within the USA and the Mediterranean, the ship sailed to the Netherlands at a specialist facility. But Trafigura quickly found the disposal cost to be too expensive. Probo Koala then sailed to Africa and found in Cote d'Ivoire what they called 'an experienced subcontractor:' a local company with no waste handling experience at all. On August 19, 2006, a fleet of trucks unloaded the ship's cargo in the cover of the night at trash sites across the city, causing what the national newspaper then called 'The Ivorian Chernobyl'. More than 100,000 intoxicated people sought medical consultations and many died within days. Since then, Trafigura has dismissed any responsibility, but has still paid a quarter billion dollars, most of which ($200 millions) was paid to the local government to protect the London-based company from ever being sued in Africa.
  • Wrong Side of the Bus 56m
    Rod Freedman (Australia)
    There is a high price to pay for being a bystander. Sidney Bloch, a professor of psychiatry, returns to South Africa from Melbourne for his medical school reunion, determined to resolve his guilt for colluding with Apartheid, that has troubled him for forty years. He is accompanied by his teenage son, Aaron who turns out to be his harshest critic. Wrong Side of the Bus is one man's journey to forgiveness.
  • The Team that Never Played 54m
    Greg Appel (Australia)
    In the 1970's South African soccer players were some of the best in the world. But because they agreed to support sporting sanctions against the apartheid regime they never played in the international arena. Their legacy however, is very significant. The documentary is told primarily through the eyes of three of the star township players of that era, three players who should have been international superstars but whose careers were cut short by the politics of the time. These stories will capture the world of the fans, helpers and the township youth of today whose hopes and dreams seem to be so different and yet can benefit from the experience the legends of old can offer.
  • Real Voodoo 52m
    Sandra M. Whiteley (Haiti, Canada)
    In January 2010 a few days after Haiti suffered a massive earthquake, evangelical leader Pat Robertson went on air to blame the devastation on Haitians' 'pact with the devil' He was talking about Voodoo Was he right? Is Voodoo evil? To find out we decided to ask 'What is Voodoo? After many trips to Haiti pre and post-earthquake you know what we found? This is not Pat Robertson's Voodoo. It is something else. We think we have seen the Real Voodoo and we think you will be amazed when you see it too.
  • Brother Time 56m
    Wesley Shrum (Kenya, USA)
    Brother Time is a mythic tale of neighbors from different tribes caught in a wider conflict. Kenya erupted in ethnic violence after the 2007 Presidential election, and the two friends fell apart when, suddenly, it was 'not the brother time.' Filmed in the Rift Valley during the clashes, the roots of tribalism are explored as one who saw the worst of the conflict returns home to see his neighbor. To be released during the 2012 Presidential campaign, this message of hope shows it can be Brother Time once again.
  • 18 Days 19m
    Tarek Abouamin (Egypt)
    In an 18-day popular uprising that toppled a decades-long oppressive regime, the people of Egypt rose to change the social and political landscape of the region and the world. Many Egyptians paid with their lives in a fight against corruption and autocracy. They fought bravely for basic civil liberties, justice and freedom from a government that tortured, murdered its citizens, and embezzled billions of public money. Countless people risked their lives to tell the story to the world. This film is made with footage shot by protesters, revolutionaries, and everyday Egyptians.
  • We Win or We Die 21m
    Mathew Millan (USA)
    In an 18-day popular uprising that toppled a decades-long oppressive regime, the people of Egypt rose to change the social and political landscape of the region and the world. Many Egyptians paid with their lives in a fight against corruption and autocracy. They fought bravely for basic civil liberties, justice and freedom from a government that tortured, murdered its citizens, and embezzled billions of public money. Countless people risked their lives to tell the story to the world. This film is made with footage shot by protesters, revolutionaries, and everyday Egyptians.
  • The Big Banana 85m
    Franck Gilles Brice Hameni Bieleu (Cameroon)
    In the coastal region of Cameroon, in Central Africa, a western conglomerate has set up a lucrative exploitation of dessert banana for over 30 years. This lucrative business should normally generate wealth and economic growth for community as well as for the company, instead, the plantation workers barely manage to survive with as low as 40 dollars per month work over 15 hours a day, health issues arise due to the use of toxic chemical product use to treat banana trees, people get expropriated by the state in favor of the almighty big banana company so it can generate billions of profits. People of the Moungo region are failed by their government and their representatives who are bought and paid for by the company.
  • Street Journeys 58m
    Tracy Christian (USA)
    For the street children of Nairobi, hope for the future is dim-until renowned Kenyan actress Anne Wanjugu lifts their spirits and awakens their joy through the power of the theater. Given a home and the chance to express their gifts on stage, the orphaned children flourish, but an unexpected event puts their resilience to the test as they journey from down-and-out Nairobi to the bright lights of Broadway.
  • Twilight Revelation: Episodes in the Life & Times of Emperor Haile Selassie 58m
    Yemane I Demessie (Ethiopia, USA)
    The documentary film explores and analyzes watershed events during the reign of the former Ethiopian emperor, Haile Selassie. Using a wealth of archival footage and photographs, the documentary reexamines the imperial administration through the eyes of numerous notable individuals who played substantive roles and worked closely with the emperor. The featured witnesses include former ministers, a general, a state attorney and a judge, parliamentarians, high ranking civil servants and staff from the royal court. It also featured members of the royal family including his grandchildren. The observations and narratives of these individuals shed a new light on the personality, leadership style and the myth behind Ethiopia's last emperor.
  • Fambul Tok 82m
    Sara Terry (USA)
    Victims and perpetrators of Sierra Leone's brutal civil war come together for the first time in an unprecedented program of tradition-based truth-telling and forgiveness ceremonies. Through reviving their ancient practice of fambul tok (family talk), Sierra Leoneans are building sustainable peace at the grass-roots level -- succeeding where the international community's post-conflict efforts failed. Filled with lessons for the West, this film explores the depths of a culture that believes that true justice lies in redemption and healing for individuals - and that forgiveness is the surest path to restoring dignity and building strong communities.
  • Sunday in Brazzaville 51m
    Enric Bach, Adrià Monés (Dimanche a Brazzaville)
    A young radio talk host, Carlos La Menace, unveils in his weekend show three figures of Congo's capital, Brazzaville. The Sapeur Yves Saint Laurent, surrounded by extreme poverty, chooses elegance as a way of life. Cheriff Bakala is not a usual rapper. Finally, Palmas Yaya, Brazzaville's wrestling champion is relying on voodoo to defend its throne in a crucial moment of his life...
  • White and Black: Crimes of Color 58m
    Jean-François Méan (Tanzania, Canada)
    In the East African region ten times more people have albinism than in North America and Europe. In Tanzania and parts of East Africa certain corrupt healers traffic in the body parts of persons with albinism (PWA). They sell them for magical potions and amulets to anyone who will dare to use them and prey upon deep-seated and long-standing prejudices and superstitions. Vicky Ntetema, former BBC Tanzania Bureau Chief, investigates the murders of PWA sweeping the country. She takes us into the lives of those terrorized by this scourge and we experience through their own eyes their fear and their courage.
  • Surfing Soweto 85m
    Sara Blecher (South Africa)
    Over the course of the last 3 years Cinga Productions has been following and documenting the lives of three of the most notorious train surfers in Soweto: Bitch Nigga, Lefa and Mzembe. We have followed them on to the top of trains hurtling through Soweto. We have followed them into the heroin dens of Hilbrow, and jails with names like Sun City - all in the hope of understanding their frustrations and documenting the lives of the new generation of youth in Soweto. Surfing Soweto is the story of this forgotten generation.
  • The World's Youngest Nation: South Sudan 50m
    Viktor Pesenti (UK, USA)
    After 60 years of civil war, the Republic of South Sudan has emerged as the world's youngest nation. The documentary filmed on location in the Republic of South Sudan, explores the emergence of a new nation from civil war and its many hurdles. The Republic of South Sudan is not only the world's newest nation but it is also one of its youngest, with 70 percent the population being under 30 years of age. Yet it is the youth who give the new nation hope. Through the eyes of five Southern Sudanese youths, this documentary explores not just the politics of the country but also the creativity and courage of its youth in art, music, sports and education.
  • In Our Ghetto 24m
    Marcus Hed (Nigeria)
    A documentary based on the making of the Kinabuti Show, a Nigerian based fashion label that launched its first collection in December 2010. Kinabuti chose to work with aspiring models from varying communities of Port Harcourt. In the twenty days prior to the event, film director Marcus Werner Hed documented the challenges and daily progress of this major project, placing a special focus on three of the twenty-two participants and aspiring models. By following them on a daily basis as well as interviewing them during and after the, In Our Ghetto, depicts the lives of these three girls who despite their impoverished and challenging backgrounds, continue to fight in order to make their aspirations a reality and become what they dreamt they wanted to be.