Africa Film WebMeeting

Message from: Cameron Bailey (african-cinema-conference@XC.Org)
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Fri, 1 Aug 1997 15:13:49 -0700 (PDT)

Originally from: Cameron Bailey <>
Originally dated: Fri, 1 Aug 1997 15:13:49 -0700 (PDT)

July 25, 1997
Sender: owner-african-cinema-conference
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Toronto -- Planet Africa enters its third season at the Toronto
International Film Festival, with a strong slate of films from Africa
and the African diaspora. Mali, Jamaica, Egypt, South Africa and the US
-- all these countries are among those represented in an exciting
programme of eight features and five short films.

"We got off to a great start two years ago and the programme has hit its
stride in year three," says Bailey. "We're presenting the North American
premieres of six new films. The Toronto Festival has truly become one of
the leading events in the world for African cinema."


Gaston Kabore, Burkina Faso/France, 97'
North American Premiere
This entertaining tale returns to characters first filmed fifteen years
ago in WEND KUUNI, one of the most popular African films ever made. Wend
Kuuni is now a young man. When his adoptive sister falls victim to a
mysterious illness, he sets out to find the healing Lion's Herbs. Kabore
draws on traditional African storytelling to weave this charming,
beautifully photographed tale. Winner of the top Yennenga Stallion prize
at this year's Pan African Film Festival in Burkina Faso (the African
Palme D'Or). Selected for Cannes 1997.

Don Letts and Rick Elgood, Jamaica, 98'
North American Premiere
Dancehall reggae may be the rawest, most outrageous pop music on the
planet, and DANCEHALL QUEEN is its faithful ambassador. Marcia works as
a street vendor outside a dancehall in Kingston, Jamaica. When her
family is threatened by local thugs and operators, she realizes she has
to act. Marcia begins her makeover as a dancehall queen. With a
soundtrack that includes Beenie Man, Bounty Killer, Lady Saw and
Sanchez, this movie does for dancehall what THE HARDER THEY COME did for
reggae 25 years ago.

Youssef Chahine, Egypt/France, 135'
A bold challenge to fundamentalist Islam from Arab cinema's pre-eminent
director, DESTINY concocts a free-wheeling adventure story to celebrate
the power of open minds. In 12th century Muslim Spain, the great
philosopher Averroes is threatened when local fundamentalists force a
fatwa against him. Chahine's last film, THE EMIGRANT, was banned in
Egypt after protests by fundamentalists, and the parallel with this tale
is clear. DESTINY prompted a career-capping special prize at this year's
Cannes Film Festival. It is Chahine's most joyous call for freedom.

Ramadan Suleman, South Africa/France, 90'
North American Premiere
Professor Zamani, a well-respected member of the community and teacher
of history, once raped one of his students, but the township dwellers
have turned their backs on that. But when Zani, younger brother of the
girl who was raped returns home from school in Swaziland, he is
determined to change everything. He meets Zamani one morning in a
Johannesburg railway station, and together they return to the harsh
reality of the township. Ultimately Zamani regains some of his pride,
while Zani will inevitably lose his. This is the first feature film ever
written and directed by a black South African.

John Akomfrah, UK, 60'
North American Premiere
For millions, Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. was a moral giant martyred for
the Civil Rights movement. For J. Edgar Hoover and the FBI, he was a
dangerous adulterer. DAYS OF HOPE sets out to reconcile these
contradictory views and reveal "a man torn between his public image and
his private life." By talking to King's colleagues and intimates
Akomfrah shows how the mounting pressures of leadership affected the
man. Riven by self-doubt, under attack from his own supporters and
constantly under the threat of death, King challenged America to live up
to its own ideals.

Safi Faye, Senegal, 105'
English-language Premiere
Fourteen years old and possessed of natural, timeless beauty, Mossane
excites by her mere presence. In this Wolof village between the sea and
the savannah, such beauty proves tragic. Safi Faye's gorgeous, powerful
film begins from a detailed observation of contemporary village life,
but unfolds with the mounting force of ancient drama. Mossane tempts
fate when she refuses the man to whom she had been promised at birth;
it's a desperate act, with desperate consequences.

Adama Drabo, Mali, 100'
North American Premiere
There's been an upheaval in a quiet village in northeast Mali. Suddenly
men must do women's work and women act as men. Is it divine punishment?
Or sweet justice? Adama Drabo's hilarious satire is the smartest,
sharpest look at Africa's gender skirmishes to come along in ages.
'Taafee Fanga' translates roughly as 'The Power of the Skirt,' and it's
an awesome force when unleashed.
Winner of the Special Jury Prize at Burkina Faso's Pan African Film
Festival. Selected for Cannes 1997.

Shirikiana Aina, 75', USA
World Premiere
In the style of a jazz suite, Shirikiana Aina sets out to move past the
secrecy that shrouds the African Holocaust. Traveling from the US to
Ghana, she meets African Americans who have traveled there to visit or
to start new lives, eager to create new healing rituals. She finds the
slave trading forts on Ghana's coast still exert their ominous hold on
the mind. And she finds Ghanaians grappling with what it means to see
its forgotten children return. THROUGH THE DOOR OF NO RETURN serves as a
joyous, disturbing companion to the slave-era drama SANKOFA by Aina's
partner Haile Gerima.


BREEZE, Barbara Sanon, USA, 6'
In a few short moments, Breeze captures the essence of a dream. A young
girl steps out of her Brooklyn brownstone and enters a fantasy space of
black women. Sanon's sensual short film captures a moment of contact
between girlhood and beyond, set to music by Haitian sensations Boukman

LE DAMIER, Balufu Bakupa-Kayinda, Gabon/France, 40'
This wicked little political satire couldn't be more timely. The
President-for-life of the Payssien Republic is bored. He summons his
Chief of Guards to find him someone who can challenge him at his
favourite game -- checkers. It just so happens that the country's best
player is a pot-smoking rebel from the slums. He plays the President
like he plays everyone else -- in a cloud of smoke and a barrage of
insults. Balufu Bakupa-Kayinda pointedly gives his dictator all the
hallmarks of a certain Mobutu Sese Seko.

HOMECOMING, Richard Pakleppa, Namibia, 26'
In a story familiar to millions of women, Sophia returns to her village
after years as a nanny in the capital. Her own children scarcely know
her, and her husband Naftali, has taken her sister as his mistress.
Pakleppa's short drama delves into the heart of an intimate betrayal,
but its magnificent desert images give the story an epic, symbolic

SABRIYA, Abderrahmane Sissako, Tunisia, 26'
At a cafe hidden in the desert, the main pastime is chess. Said and
Rajeh, owners and close friends, live there harmoniously, in rhythm with
the weather and the game. One day, fate thrusts a young woman into their
ordered universe...

TO BE A BLACK MAN, Nelson George, USA, 4'
Based on a popular essay George wrote for New York's Village Voice
newspaper, this poetic vision of the African-American male in the last
decade of the 20th century is narrated by and features Samuel L.

Planet Africa is sponsored by Oxfam Canada
The 22nd Toronto International Film Festival runs September 4 - 13,

For further information: Valerie Wint (416) 934-3296 or

July 25, 1997


Toronto -- The world premiere of EVE'S BAYOU starring Samuel L. Jackson,
will be a Gala presentation on Sunday, September 7, at 7:00 p.m. The
22nd Toronto International Film Festival runs from September 4 - 13,

The directorial debut of Kasi Lemmons, EVE'S BAYOU is a vibrant and
evocative drama about a prosperous Southern family seen through the eyes
of ten-year-old Eve Batiste. A rich tale about the fact and fiction of
her family's lives and loves, Eve's Bayou is a place where magic and
superstition coexist naturally with the rational world and where truth
is not absolute.

The film, set in the early 60s, stars and is co-produced by Academy
Award nominee Samuel L. Jackson as Louis Batiste, Eve's father and the
highly-respected town doctor, who can "fix everything" -- except his own
family's problems. Lynn Whitfield (THE JOSEPHINE BAKER STORY) stars as
his beautiful, long-suffering wife. Debbi Morgan (PORT CHARLES, ALL MY
CHILDREN) portrays Louis' sister, Mozelle, who's preoccupied with the
supernatural world.

Diahann Carroll (Academy Award-nominated for CLAUDINE) plays Elzora, a
fortune teller steeped in the dark art of voodoo, who both terrifies and
fascinates Eve, portrayed by newcomer Jurnee Smollett.

The supporting cast includes Vondie Curtis Hall and Branford Marsalis.
EVE'S BAYOU is written by Kasi Lemmons and marks her directorial debut.

The film is a Trimark Pictures release of a ChubbCo/Addis-Wechsler
Production, produced by Caldecott Chubb (THE CROW, TO SLEEP WITH ANGER)
and Samuel L. Jackson, with cinematography by Amy Vincent. The musical
score is by Terence Blanchard and the end title track is written by

EVE'S BAYOU is distributed by Trimark Pictures. Gala presentations at
Roy Thomson Hall are made possible through the generous sponsorship of
Viacom Canada Ltd., Famous Players Inc., and Paramount Pictures (Canada)

- 30 -

For more information, please contact: Valerie Wint or Gabrielle Free
(416) 934-3296

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