A free, three-day film festival celebrating the African diaspora is taking place this week in Port of Spain and St Augustine.
From tomorrow to Sunday the African World Documentary Film Festival will show simultaneously at the Caribbean Travelling Film School at 23 Gordon Street, Port of Spain and at the University of the West Indies Film Programme on Carmody Street, St Augustine.
The films will discuss issues such as love of natural African hair, modern-day African migration, the fishing industry in Senegal, African beauty and love of black skin, the female voice and Afrobeats in Cuban culture.
Shows such as We are all Migrants from the UK discuss activism in carnival; Emails to My Little Sister from Ethiopia is an anthropological film that looks at being black in Berlin; Children of the Incursion from Jamaica follows the lives of young people who were impacted by the arrest of Christopher “Dudus” Coke in 2010 and The Rise of Female Talking Drummers in Nigeria is the ground breaking work of Yoruba women who defy cultural limitations to perform and occupy a space men usually take.
The documentary film festival has been in existence since 2007. It seeks to show documentaries from Africa and its diaspora which includes countries such as Senegal, Ethiopia, Denmark, France, UK, US, Jamaica, TT and other countries in the Caribbean.
Five films will be shown each night of the festival with an intermission break in between. The films range from five minutes to 87-minutes long.
Wayne Cezair, founder of the Caribbean Travelling Film School said the festival was started as a way to educate people that there are more films out there than Hollywood action films.
Cezair said there is a special charm to documentary films. As opposed to narratives that only tell fictions, when people watch documentaries their eyes are opened to the magnificent realities of people’s situations.
“That’s the difference between narrative films and documentary films, you can’t change the truth.”
In spite of the quality films the festival shows, Cezair says people are hesitant to turn out as the terms “African films” and “documentary” seem daunting to the average viewer.
“These films are documentary films. When people hear documentary and hear 'African' they fear it is too heavy for them to enjoy. But it is not.”
One film last year was called Mully, a movie about Charles Mulli, an orphan boy from Kenya who created a social enterprise that helps orphaned children.
Cezair promises the festival to be entertaining, inspirational and thought-provoking.