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African Film Festival in Macomb and Monmouth Oct. 9-Nov. 4

October 3, 2006

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MACOMB/MONMOUTH, IL - - The inaugural Western Illinois African Film Festival: Two Campuses, Two Continents, One Festival – a joint effort by faculty at Western Illinois University and Monmouth College – will bring 10 films and four of the filmmakers to these communities for four weeks of informational entertainment Monday, Oct. 9 through Saturday, Nov. 4.

“For those of us who are unfamiliar with Africa and its rich and diverse film industries, this festival will be an eye-opener,” said Peter Cole, WIU associate history professor and a member of the planning committee. “The organizing committee has selected films from many parts of the vast continent and diverse peoples of Africa, north and south, east and west.”

The film festival was organized by, and for, both schools and their surrounding communities. All films are open free to the public. Every showing will allow for some audience discussion before and/or after the film, either with the filmmaker or with a professor, Cole added.

Seven film dates are scheduled for Macomb, with three dates in Monmouth.

The festival begins with the 6 p.m. Monday, Oct. 9 showing of “Who’s Afraid of Ngugi” in Morgan Hall 109 on the WIU campus. A discussion with filmmaker Manthia Diawara, professor of comparative literature (Africana Studies) at New York University, will follow at 7:30 p.m. Diawara’s film chronicles the return of African activist Ngugi wa Thiongo and his wife to their home in Kenya, following 22 years of exile. Diawara, who also is director of NYU’s Institute of Afro-American Affairs and the Africana studies program, accompanied the Ngugis homecoming trip and documented their experiences, which included being attacked by four men armed with machetes and pistols. Diawara’s visit is sponsored by Western’s Expanding Cultural Diversity Project and African American studies department.

Other films scheduled in Macomb include the following:

  • Friday, Oct. 27 (4 p.m.) – “The Twelve Disciples of Mandela” will be shown in the WIU University Union Sandburg Theatre. Director Thomas Allen Harris will give an introduction and lead a discussion following the film, which explores a dozen South African activists who helped found the African National Congress. Harris, who was raised in the Bronx and Dar es Salaam, Tanzania, is the stepson of one of the “disciples” which this films pays tribute to.

  • Saturday, Oct. 28 (7 p.m.) – “Thunderbolt,” which will be shown in Morgan Hall 109 on the WIU campus, is Tunde Kelani’s film of the still-lasting effects of the brutal Nigerian civil war of the 1960s.

  • Sunday, Oct. 29 (4 p.m.) – “Africa Dreaming,” a series of short films from Namibia, Tunisia, Senegal and Mozambique, will be shown in Morgan Hall 109.

  • Friday, Nov. 3 (3:30 p.m.) – “Moolaadé” will be shown at Cinema I and II on University Drive off of U.S. 67 in Macomb. Ousmane Sembene’s film deals with the controversial practice of female circumcision through the life of a married woman who tried to protect young girls from the traditional ritual. The film’s content may not be suitable for young viewers.

  • Saturday, Nov. 4 (7 p.m.) – “Lumumba,” which will be shown in Morgan Hall 109, is Raoul Peck’s film of Patrice Lumumba, the first prime minister of Congo, who led the African continent away from European colonization.

  • Sunday, Nov. 5 (4 p.m.) – “Ali Zaoua,” Nabil Ayouch’s film about street children in Casablanca forced to rely upon each other while they struggle to survive, will be shown in Morgan Hall 109.

Films scheduled in the Monmouth College Hewes Library Barnes Electronic Classroom include:

  • Tuesday, Oct. 26 (7 p.m.) – “Flame” is Ingrid Sinclair’s 1996 tribute to women fighters in the Zimbabwean liberation struggle, which aroused the ire of war veterans and the military because it revealed officers sometimes used female recruits as “comfort women.”

  • Thursday, Nov. 2 (7 p.m.) – “Madame Brouette,” a film by Ousmane Sembene, focuses on the trials on poor Senegalese women through the eyes of Mati, also known as “Madame Brouette,” who makes her livelihood selling goods out of a push cart. She encourages the village women to stand up to their domineering husbands, but then Mati falls for the scoundrel Naaga.

  • Saturday, Nov. 4 (1 p.m.) – “Hip Hop Colony,” a documentary by producer/director Michael Wanguhu filmed in Kenya, recently earned top honors at H20 (Hip-Hop Odyssey) International Film Festival in New York and Best Urban Documentary Award at the Houston Black Film Festival. Wanguhu will lead a discussion following the film.

Sponsors for the Western Illinois African Film Festival include the WIU Center for Innovation in Teaching and Research, Provost’s Office, University Theme Committee, Expanding Cultural Diversity Project and the departments of history, African and American studies and women’s studies; as well as Monmouth College’s public affairs committee, Association for Student Activity Planning, Global Partners Project and the modern foreign languages department; and the National Geographic Society.

For more information, e-mail Cole at or Heather Brady at

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