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Festival Review

4th Women of Color Arts & Film Festival

 

By Johanna Brown

 

Mar. 22, 2008 (ATLANTA) - An 11-year-old trying to make sense of her father's imminent death; a Caribbean community in Toronto struggling with gun violence; Malcolm X's legacy in today's society - these are just a few of the stories told by women filmmakers at the Women of Color Arts & Film Festival (WOCAF).

"The film festival showcases films by and about women of color from across the globe," said Mojisola Sonoiki, the founder and director of Women of Color Arts & Film Festival (produced by Iyàlódè Productions).

Now in its fourth year, the three-day festival took place March 20-22 at the Auburn Avenue Research Library, the nation's second largest archives specializing in the history of African-Americans and Africans in the Diaspora.

"Events like the Women of Color Arts & Film Festival are held here because participants can delve further into the topics by exploring our collection," said Francine Henderson, Research Library Administrator, Auburn Avenue Research Library. "We have over 90,000 books and a vast collection of theater and films."

Opening night featured a Filmmakers' Reception followed by a screening of A Winter Tale, by Caribbean-Canadian filmmaker, Frances-Anne Solomon. Set in Toronto, the film is a fictionalized tale of a predominately Caribbean-immigrant neighborhood dealing with grief and suspicion after the fatal shooting of a 10-year-old.

"This film shows a side that people don't normally associate with Toronto," said Solomon. "I wanted to humanize the men, and to give young people an image they recognized."

Filmmakers in attendance for the reception and screening included A Winter Tale director, Frances-Anne Solomon; Kunle Afolayan, director of Irapada (Redemption);and Nefertite Nguvu, director of I Want You.Special guest, Canadian Consul General, Brian Oak, was also in attendance.


The second day of the festival featured shorts from around the world, including Wooden Soul, by Rehana Rose Khan, which follows an 11-year-old girl who finds her own unique way of dealing with her father's imminent death. The evening concluded with the festival's centerpiece feature, Malcolm's Echo's by British filmmaker, Dami Akinnusi.

"I really had to put aside stereotypes to feel the essence of Malcolm X," said Akinnusi during the question and answer period. "In a very short time, Malcolm X said so much…he is like the encyclopedia of our time."

The final day of the festival paid homage to Nigeria's growing film industry, commonly referred to as "Nollywood." Festival attendees were able to enjoy 11 films from Nigerian filmmakers, concluding with The Amazing Grace, by Jeta Amata, the first Nigerian film to be distributed widely throughout North America.

Awards

WOCAF's "Audience Choice Award" went to the following films:

  • First place - Malcolm's Echo:The Legacy of Malcolm X by Dami Akinnusi
  • Second Place - As Old As My Tongue by Andy Jones
  • Third Place - I Want You by Nefertite Nguvu