NEW YORK—From a Panamanian man’s artistic expression in Harlem to youthful hopes of overcoming war and poverty in Colombia, the third season of AfroPoP: The Ultimate Cultural Exchange puts the lives of Latino people in the African Diaspora in the spotlight. Highlighting the use of art as expression and the human rights crises affecting people in the Pan-African world, the five-week series premiered on January 12 at 7 pm (ET) on the 24-hour documentary channel, World.
It continues through February 9. Encore airings of each film will be shown at 12 am (ET)/9 pm (PT). AfroPoP is produced by the National Black Programming Consortium (NBPC) and co-presented by American Public Television (APT).
AfroPoP brings to public television diverse documentaries about members of the African Diaspora in Haiti, the United States, Colombia, Jamaica, South Africa and Zimbabwe. Films by and about Latinos are a part of the series. On February 2, and running through February 8, AfroPoP takes viewers to Colombia, introducing them to Noris, a single-mother struggling to make a life for herself and children in Villa España, a refugee town in Colombia. Uprooted, by Juan Mejia Botero, examines the civil war’s effect on the day-to-day lives of Afro-Colombians living on the country’s Pacific Coast and its impact on their long-term dreams and hopes.
The series also included the story of artist Franco the Great captured in 125 Franco’s Boulevard by Sia Nyorkor and Jacob Templin. Born and raised in Panama, Franco the Great gained fame as the creator of the legendary, roll-down gate murals which now decorate many of the storefronts on Harlem’s 125th Street. Although they are acknowledged as culturally, and historically, significant works of art, Franco’s masterpieces are now threatened by gentrification and new zoning laws.
Trailers of these films (as well as the other six featured in the series), interviews with the filmmakers and other behind-the-scenes information on the documentaries including blogs, virtual talks centered on topical themes and filmmaking contests can be found at www.blackpublicmedia.org, the official website of NBPC. Additionally, the documentary A Day Without Mines, the story of filmmaker Adisa Septuri’s mission to provide child laborers in Sierra Leone with scholarships and a one-day football tournament, will be available for viewing online at the site.
JANUARY 26, 2011
RiseUp: Reggae Underground
By Luciano Blotta
RiseUp is a journey into the heart of Jamaica—the island that gave birth to the worldwide cultural phenomenon of reggae. In a society where talent abounds and opportunity is scarce, three courageous artists fight to rise up from obscurity and write themselves into the pages of history. With music and appearances by legends Lee “Scratch” Perry, Sly Dunbar and Robbie Shakespeare, RiseUp follows artists who demonstrate the raw power of hope and courage in a land which is largely unseen, but certainly not unsung. The film won the 2009 American Film Institute/Discovery Silverdocs Best Music Documentary Award.
RiseUp is Luciano Blotta’s first feature documentary, shot over several years on the island of Jamaica. In 2002 he directed the controversial documentary short Nutrition Facts, which premiered at Slamdance Film Festival and Argentina’s BAFICl International Film Festival, to rave reviews. When not directing documentary projects, Luciano pours his passion into cinematography, photographing commercials, music videos and feature films.
FEBRUARY 2, 2011
By Juan Mejia Botero
Uprooted explores the effect of Colombia’s civil war on the people of the Colombian Pacific region, an area that, for centuries, remained exclusively a mining frontier on the periphery of the nation’s development. The majority of the population—freed and runaway slaves and indigenous peoples—lived in relatively dispersed communities up and down the river basin, where their livelihoods depended on agriculture, gold panning, fishing and the collection of shellfish in the river deltas. However, the Colombian Pacific has become a new frontier for development and as Colombia’s civil war has escalated, violence and mass displacement have become all too common as struggles for land and resources intensify. At the center of Uprooted are Noris, a mother and community leader, and her family, displaced since 1996 and living in a refugee shelter on the outskirts of Quibdó, a growing city on the Pacific Coast. This documentary is an intimate portrayal of the tragedy of uprooting; a beautifully detailed tale about struggle and resilience; a bittersweet story of loss, love, family, and dreams.
Sanza Hanza: King Surfer
By Nadia Hallgren
Sanza Hanza, a Zulu dialect term for King Surfer, is a short documentary following V.I.R.U.S (Very Intelligent Riders Usually Survive), a gang of young train surfers in the South African slums of Soweto. Born out of a restless desire to embrace life (and death) after years of oppression, it is here that you will find train surfing—the semi-suicidal act of climbing outside, on top and under the city’s public trains while in full flight. Sanza Hanza intimately captures the bleak, almost existential outlook exhibited by many of the best train surfers as they search for the ultimate ride.
FEBRUARY 9, 2011
Mrs. Goundo’s Daughter
By Attie & Goldwater Productions
Mrs. Goundo’s Daughter is the story of a young mother’s quest to keep her baby daughter healthy and whole. It is also the story of the African tradition of female genital cutting—which dates back thousands of years—and how it affects people’s lives in just two of the many places where the practice is being debated today. To stay in the U.S., Malian immigrant Mrs. Goundo must persuade an immigration judge that her two-year-old daughter Djenebou, born in the U.S., will most certainly suffer clitoral excision if Goundo is deported to Mali where up to 85% of women and girls are excised. The film also focuses on people from both sides of the argument in Mali: activists fighting to the end the practice and traditionalists who defend excisions.