PHOTO: A scene from “Colors: Bangin’ in South Carolina,” one of the documentaries in the Africa World Documentary Film Festival, which begins Feb. 6 at the Missouri History Museum.
By Cate Marquis, A&E Editor for The Current

The 8th annual Africa World Documentary Film Festival kicks off its world tour on Feb. 6-8 at the Missouri History Museum. The film festival is sponsored by the University of Missouri’s International Studies Program, the E. Desmond Lee Professorship in African/African American Studies, and the Des Lee Collaborative Vision.

Forty documentaries, ranging from shorts a few minutes long to feature-length films, will be included in the Africa World Documentary Film Festival (AWDFF). All films are either in English or have English subtitles. The international film festival spotlights peoples of African descent around the world, and aims to promote knowledge and appreciation of the culture and people of Africa and of African descent. Panel discussions and talks with the film’s directors are interspersed throughout the festival.

Ephrem Andemariam is the program coordinator for the festival, and ‘Niyi Coker, Jr., E. Desmond Lee Professor in the Department of Theatre, Dance and Media Studies, is the festival director,

The start of the festival coincides with the beginning of Black History Month but the festival’s worldwide tour continues through the year, concluding in Kingston, Jamaica in October. Cities visited by the festival include London and Philadelphia, and countries include the United Kingdom, Nigeria, South Africa, Barbados, Cameroon and Ghana. The festival’s full list of films and locations can be found at their website

AWDFF begins Friday, Feb. 6 at 10:30 AM to noon at the Missouri History Museum with the short “My Favorite Things” an Ethiopian documentary about play and the rights of children, followed by “A Goat for a Vote,” an hour-long film from Kenya and Netherlands, about children competing in a school election. Two other short films dealing with children, “Cholo” and “The Ball,” round out the first part of the program, which is followed by a discussion of the films, and the topics they highlight, noon to 1 p.m.

On Saturday, Feb. 7, the festival continues at 2 – 3:45 p.m., with “Colors: Bangin’ in South Carolina,” a feature length American documentary about the deadliest gang feud to ever take place in Columbia, South Carolina. It is followed by “The Vow,” a Kenya-American film about a man who wins ticket to the U.S., thinking he will find the American Dream but finds violence, drugs and tragedy instead. These two films are followed by a discussion 3:50 – 4:30 p.m.

The evening program starting a 5 p.m. features a pair of American documentaries, the short “Money 1955: The Emmett Till Murder Trial” and feature “In His Own Home,” about University of Florida students’ outcry about police mistreatment of a Ghanaian doctoral student when a neighbor called 911 to report his screams from his apartment. Instead of helping, the campus police SWAT team shot him, although not fatally. Discussion with the director of “In His Own Home” follows the film, then followed by a panel discussion “Race relations in America: Past, Present and the Future.”

AWDFF resumes Sunday, Feb. 8 at 2 p.m. with “See Me Now” and “Deeper Than Black,” two short films about the impact and meaning of skin color, and “Cape of German Hopes,” about a German family in South Africa. The festival concludes with a panel discussion on the issues of ‘Identity, cultural heritage and skin color & tone’ from 3:30 – 4:30 PM.

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