by | 27 Jul 2015 | CELEBRATION, Conversation, Education, Film, International, Storytelling


1 – 8 August 2015

The E. Desmond Lee Africa World Documentary Film Festival is sponsored by the E. Desmond Lee Professorship in Africa/African-American Studies. Centre for International Studies at the University of Missouri, Saint Louis and the Center for Black and African Arts and Civilization (CBAAC), Lagos, Nigeria. Through the art of documentary filmmaking, the AWDFF is committed to the promotion of knowledge, life and culture, of the people of Africa worldwide.

District Six Museum co-hosts this Festival with the English Department of the University of Western Cape (UWC).

OPENING : Saturday 1 August

14h10 – 14h30: Welcome and opening remarks

14h30 – 14h50: LAND OF DANCE (17 minutes) / Idrissa Camara
Dancing is part of our identity, it’s part of who we are, how we express ourselves. Fara Ta – Land of Dance is a first attempt to document some of the dance practices in Guinea, West Africa and pose the question on what is meant by “traditional” African-dance. The film maker went back to Guinea to record the urban and village dance practices. Wales, the film maker’s new home country is often called the “Land of Song,” so then surely Guinea must be “the land of Dance!”


15h00 – 16h30: LIFE IN PROGRESS (99 minutes) / Irene Loebell
In a rundown township near Johannesburg, three youngsters from troubled backgrounds are right in the middle of the great adventure of coming of age. All members of the dance group Taxido, which provides a living while improving their prospects, their days are filled with rehearsals and performances. In Jerry, founder, choreographer and manager of the troupe, in spite of his frightful past they find the guidance lacking from their upbringings. Seipati, 18, lives with her overburdened grandmother and is proud of the trophies she has received as the group’s dancing queen. Venter, 19, is relieved that dancing keeps him from the wrong path. Ladies’ man, Tshidiso, 20, always on the phone dealing with one of his eleven girlfriends, conquers not only girls but also Taxido audiences with his charm. The youngsters receive praises wherever they performe their wild dance routines, homegrown on the streets of their township, Though back in their hovels they face again the daily grind of poverty added to by the sometimes aggressive treatment Jerry uses to keep them away from the violence of the streets. But then the youngsters start to rebel when other interests take hold.

Twenty years after apartheid’s end, ‘Life In Progress’ delivers a close insight into the lives of three adolescents living in a rundown township called Katlehong, a Sotho word for “progress”.
Contact for more information
The rest of the District Six Museum programme:
Monday 3 August
18h10 – 18h35 DEEPER THAN BLACK / Sean Addo

23 minutes

A Ghanaian-American filmmaker looks to bridge the divide between his African pedigree and American birthright by confronting the question: ‘Who am I, and where do I belong?’ Born and raised in the United States to Ghanaian parents, Sean Addo, a product of two different cultures, African-American and African. Propelled by his fear of the loss of his Ghanaian culture, Sean sets off on his quest to clarify his identity. He looks to connect to his African heritage through dance, food, and language. In the process he challenges what it means to be ‘Black’ in America, and shares a similar story of the new American in a growing multicultural society.

18h35 – 18h45 BREAK
18h45 – 19h15 CAPE OF GERMAN HOPE / Anna Sacco

31 minutes

‘Cape of German Hopes’ is a journey into the life experiences of German families and people of German heritage settled in Cape Town, South Africa. It uncovers how they seek to open up to an African culture while keeping their typical Germanness. The film explores both the distinctive differences and the surprisingly similar historical parallels between Germany and South Africa. On a larger scale, the documentary also unpacks such complex topics as identity, trans-nationalism and acculturation. Treasuring one’s own cultural heritage becomes more important in an increasingly mobile society. Consequently, the documentary not only throws light on the local German community, but also attempts to show a blueprint of immigration cultures living all over the world.

19h15 – 19h30 BREAK
19h30 – 20h35 LANTANDA / Gorka Gamarra

63 minutes

The Creole is the language used daily by the majority of the population of Guinea Bissau. However, the creole does not have the status of official language. Musicians and writers of different generations explain through their songs why they have chosen this language as an instrument to express their feelings and transmit the social reality of the country.

Tuesday 4 August
18h10 – 18h25 MONEY 1955: THE EMMETT TILL MURDER TRIAL / Rob Underhill

15 mins

In “Money 1955,” international press descend on a remote Tallahatchie County, Mississippi courthouse and draw the world’s attention to the murder trial of two white men accused of the horrific lynching of a 14-year old black boy from Chicago named Emmett Till.

One actor, Mike Wiley, performs all 20 roles in reenacting the Emmett Till murder trial. It is a true-crime story crafted from the actual court transcripts.

18h25 – 18h45 BREAK
18h45 -20h15 POVERTY INC / Michael Matheson Miller

94 minutes

Fighting poverty is big business, but who profits the most? The West has positioned itself as the protagonist of development, giving rise to a vast multi-billion dollar poverty industry of NGOs, state and multilateral agencies, and for-profit aid contractors. The business of ‘doing-good’ has never been better.

Unfortunately, the results have been mixed, in some cases even catastrophic, and leaders in the developing world are growing increasingly vocal in calling for change.

Drawing from over 200 interviews filmed in 20 countries, Poverty, Inc. unearths an uncomfortable side of charity we are all too tempted to ignore. The film invites the viewer to step into the shoes of local entrepreneurs and their colleagues, parents and their families, with expert commentary from public leaders, development economists, anthropologists, and others.

From TOMs Shoes to international adoptions, from solar panels to U.S. agricultural subsidies, the film challenges each of us to ask the tough question: Could I be part of the problem?

Wednesday 5 August
18h10 – 18h50 UNFAIR GAME: THE POLITICS OF POACHING / John Antonelli

37 minutes

Can wildlife conservation efforts go too far? Is killing people ever a just punishment for hunting wild animals? ‘Unfair Game: The Politics of Poaching’ documents what happens when measures to protect wildlife are in direct conflict with indigenous peoples’ land rights, human rights and their very own survival.

The documentary explores conservation and sustainable development as a viable method for safeguarding the human rights of indigenous peoples whose traditional homelands are bordering wildlife refuges and nature conservancy. The film also shows the limitless positive repercussions when native people and animals are both valued and respected.

18h50 – 19h15 BREAK
19h15 – 20h30 GOLD IS HERE / David A. Masterwille

71 minutes

‘Gold is Here’ explores the lives of artisan gold miners in the rain forests of Ghana. The film takes a critical look at villagers who have been shot and have suffered serious gun injuries while defending their lands from illegal mining. The film also focuses on the women who ferry ores from dangerous pits and process them in poisoned waters as their means of livelihood. And in particular, it sheds light on the involvement of children mining in abandoned and collapsing mine pits. For most of these children, mining in sometimes mercury-infested streams has become their only means of raising revenue to cater for their elementary school needs. As a result, some suffer serious water borne diseases, which mostly go untreated for years, and in the process, impede their physical and educational development.

Thursday 6 August
18h10 – 18h20 DIRTY HANDS / John Goheen

8 minutes

In many African countries garbage is an ever increasing problem. In Uganda’s largest city, Kampala, roughly 800 tons of trash is generated each day. With limited government programs to deal with trash, some enterprising citizens have taken to the streets with profitable solutions in some unexpected ways.

18h20 – 18h55 MAESTRA / Catherine Murphy

33 minutes

Cuba, 1961: 250,000 volunteers taught 700,000 people to read and write in one year. 100,000 of the teachers were under 18 years old. Over half were women. The documentary explores this story through the personal testimonies of the young women who went out to teach literacy in rural communities across the island – and found themselves deeply transformed in the process.

18h55 – 19h20 BREAK
19h20 – 19h30 NOISE RUNS / Kim Borba, Ashley Panzera

18 mins

In the aftermath of the 2010 Haiti earthquake, failed reconstruction has pushed social unrest to the breaking point. Protests erupt in the streets, and armed UN soldiers stalk the angry crowds. But a group of young Haitians, driven by their passion for a new Haiti, is sparking social change. To democratize information and offer hope to the population, they produce a radical newspaper, Bri Kouri Nouvèl Gaye (Noise Travels, News Spreads).

The documentary follows this team of idealistic citizen journalists as they confront the problems that NGOs and government could not solve. Undaunted by the threat of an oppressive government, they maneuver their way into prison to visit a political prisoner and unravel the story behind his illegal arrest. Unfazed by the downpour of Tropical Storm Isaac, they take us into the tent camps of Port-au-Prince to investigate the housing crisis that has left more than 150,000 people homeless. With youthful optimism, they strive to catch international attention via Twitter and YouTube. Their on-the-ground accounts take the audience beyond the characterization of Haiti as “the poorest country in the Western Hemisphere,” putting a human face on the statistics and challenging stigmas of victimhood. ‘Noise Runs’ is a story of triumph over repression and a testament to the power of hope.

19h30 – 20h40 VILLAGE OF PEACE / Ben Schuder, Nicholas Philipides

68 minutes

‘The Village of Peace’ reveals the untold story of the African Hebrew Israelites, an incredible group originally from Chicago, now thriving in the Israeli desert. The stories and perspectives of four Village members are woven together to illustrate a place unlike any other; a community enlightened by ancient scripture and determined to prioritize ‘life’ in its purest form. Their unique culture evolves from an uncommon interpretation of the Torah (Hebrew Bible), embedded in their foundation, principles, and daily lifestyle practices that includes polygamy, natural birth, veganism, and a rigorous emphasis on health.

Although the community is growing in numbers, recent immersion into the Israeli Army leaves the youth susceptible to outside influences. Ultimately we learn about the struggle to preserve the African Hebrew culture, and the challenges of passing their traditions to future generations.

Friday 7 August
18h10 – 18h25 A DAY IN THE SUN / Nerina Penzhorn

13 minutes

The Daily Sun is the most widely read tabloid newspaper in South Africa. ‘A Day in the Sun’ takes a poetic look at the stories behind the headlines. The film contrasts the often flippant headlines with the hardship that the subjects of Daily Sun stories often experience and shows the detrimental effect that reporting on the suffering of others has on Daily Sun journalists.

18h30 – 18h45 SEE ME NOW / Glen Mackay

13 minutes

‘See Me Now’ is a fashion film inspired by the quote – “The darker the skin, the uglier they’re considered”.

Upon hearing that, the film maker called upon models and designers of color to showcase the beauty of dark skin. And to send a message that beauty comes from being comfortable in your skin. See Me Now is a fashion film inspired by the quote – “The darker the skin, the uglier they’re considered”.
Upon hearing that, I called upon models and designers of colour to showcase the beauty of dark skin.
And to send a message, that beauty comes from being comfortable in your skin.

18h45 – 19h15 ROAD TO RIO / Nathan Erasmus

52 minutes

In greater Fortaleza in the north of Brazil there were 12,777 children and adolescents recorded to be in child labor, living and working on the streets in 2013. ‘Road to Rio’ follows 9 of them who won the chance to play in the 2014 Street Child World Cup. The film follows as the children go on an inspiring, emotional and often amusing journey while preparing and playing in the tournament.

This is more than a fascinating window into the lives of street children; this is their chance to shine!