|Africa in the Picture: Press Release|
New Film Series Focuses Lens on Africa in the Picture
Program Hosted by Danny Glover Airs during February 2003 on Public Television
First National Broadcast of African Dramatic Films Shows Africa through African Eyes
Presented by California Newsreel and KQED Public Television San Francisco
San Francisco, CAAfrica in the Picture, a series of recent dramatic films by acclaimed African directors, premieres on public television (distributed by American Public Television) during February 2003, Black History Month (check local listings). The three-part Africa in the Picture series is a groundbreaking event in American television history, marking the first national broadcast of African-produced films.
The series illustrates the rich diversity of styles and genres that African filmmakers are using to address the urgent social issues facing their continent. Viewers will have the opportunity to see films that genuinely represent Africa through African eyes rather than images filtered through Western lenses. A presentation of KQED Public Television San Francisco, Africa in the Picture is produced by California Newsreel, the distributor of the largest collection of African films in North America. Noted actor and activist Danny Glover hosts the series.
The programs in order of presentation are:
"Faat Kine" This is the most recent work by internationally recognized director Ousmane Sembene, regarded by many as the father of African cinema. Sembene describes the film as an homage to the "everyday heroism of African women." The film features a few climactic days in the life of Faat Kine, a middle-aged liberated single mother and successful businesswoman, and is interspersed with brief flashbacks to her past relationships with the men who betrayed her and, symbolically, the needs of the country as well. "Faat Kine" is a penetrating analysis of the interplay of gender, economics and power in post-independence Senegal. The film is in French and Wolof with English subtitles. "One of the 10 best films of 2001," says The New York Times. According to Vibe, the film is "a heady mix of social comedy and melodrama." Two hours.
"Tales of Ordinary People" This program consists of the two films in a proposed trilogy by the late Senegalese visionary director, Djibril Diop Mambety. Using fables and humor, Mambety juxtaposed the harsh economic and social realities against the dream of economic and social justice in Africa. Both segments are in Wolof with English subtitles. 90 minutes.
In the first segment, Le Franc, a down-on-his-luck-musician and West African "everyman," reminiscent of Chaplin's "little tramp," stakes all his hopes on the national lottery. It is a parable about the plight of ordinary Africans buffeted by the changing winds of the international monetary system.
In the second segment, La Petite Vendeuse de Soleil ( The Little Girl Who Sold the Sun), a feisty 12-year-old paraplegic wants to become the first female news vendor in Dakar. Refusing to accept the role the world has assigned her, her self-reliant vision transforms the reality around her. "One of the top 10 films of 2000," says The Village Voice.
"Daresalam" Emerging director Issa Serge Coelo sets Daresalam, one of the first features from the central African nation of Chad, in the 1970s when that country was plagued by civil war, and shows how ordinary people get swept up into larger political events. Two young friends join the rebel army after their village is brutalized by the government army for refusing to pay exorbitant taxes. Their friendship is later destroyed when they take opposite sides after the rebels split into factions. Daresalam means "Let there be peace" in Arabic, a perfect title for a film calling for an end to war and a return to the urgent tasks of nation-building. In Chadian Arabic and French with English subtitles. 102 minutes.
Funding for Africa in the Picture is provided by grants from the Rockefeller Foundation, the National Endowment for the Arts and the National Black Programming Consortium.
California Newsreel is a 35-year-old, non-profit film and video distribution and production center. Africa in the Picture is a project of its Library of African Cinema, the largest source for African film and video in North America. The Library of African Cinema is dedicated to building an audience for African films and using the medium to increase awareness about African issues. newsreel.org
KQED operates KQED Public Television 9, the nationís most-watched public television station, and Digital Television 9, Northern California's only public television digital signal; KQED Public Radio 88.5 FM, the most-listened-to public radio station in the nation; KQED.org, which harnesses the power of the Internet to bring KQED to communities across the Web; and KQED Education Network, which brings the impact of KQED to thousands of teachers, students, parents and media professionals through workshops, seminars and resources.
For 40 years, American Public Television (APT), located in Boston has been a major source of programming for the nation's public television stations. APT has more than 10,000 hours of available programming including Discovering the Real World of Harry Potter, Globe Trekker, Muhammad Ali: Through the Eyes of the World, Nightly Business Report, Rick Steves' Europe, Julia and Jacques Cooking at Home, Ballykissangel, Brian Jacques' Redwall and The Three Tenors Christmas. APT is known for identifying innovative programs and developing creative distribution techniques for producers. In four decades, it has established a tradition of providing public television stations nationwide with program choices that enable them to strengthen and customize their schedules. For more information about APT's programs and services, log on to aptonline.org.