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Film Resources Available Through the Center
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Title: Smithsonian Folkways Video Anthology of Music and Dance of Africa, Volume 1: Egypt, Uganda, Senegal
Language: English
Type: Domumentary
Age Group: Ages 5 to Adult
Year: 1996
Length: 56 min.
Subtitles: None
Media Type: DVD
Description: This is part of the three tape, three book collection and does not duplicate any of the performances from the original JVC Video Anthology volumes on Africa. It contains detailed information regarding the regions, performers and performances and provides an introduction to the vastness of traditional musical forms in Africa.


Title: A Day in the Life of a Village in Africa
Language: English
Type: Documentary
Age Group: Ages 6 to Adult
Year: 2002
Length: 60 min.
Subtitles: None
Media Type: DVD
Description: What is it REALLY like to live in Africa? Scenes of daily life in the village of Sayaga, a small farming village in southwest Burkina Faso. Filmed in 2002 by Christopher D. Roy, Professor of African art at the University of Iowa, the DVD includes scenes of food preparation, building a house, children in school, spinning thread, weaving, making pottery, forging iron, mask performances, a traditional funeral, sand divination, balafon music, and much more.


Title: Africa: Volume 1
Language: English
Type: Documentary
Age Group: Ages 8 to Adult
Year: 2001
Length: 120 min.
Subtitles: None
Media Type: DVD
Description: This Epic series presents Africa through the eyes of its people, conveying the diversity and beauty of the land and the compelling personal stories of the people who shape its future. Episode 1: Savanna Homecoming: Witness the splendor of East Africa's golden Plains in this story of two women and their journeys between bustling cities and rural landscapes. Through these personal tales, set against a backdrop of age-old animal migrations, you'll experience urban and traditional life in the magnificent land known as the cradle of humankind. Episode 2: Desert Odyssey: Examine the harsh beauty of the Sahara through the eyes of a nine-year-old boy as he embarks on his first camel caravan. Following time-honored Tuareg tradition, the boy and the men if his village make a 1,500-mile, six-month trek that provides the oppurtunity for commerce and serves as a voyage of discovery.


Title: Africa: Volume 2
Language: English
Type: Documentary
Age Group: Ages 8 to Adult
Year: 2001
Length: 120 min.
Subtitles: None
Media Type: DVD
Description: This Epic series presents Africa through the eyes of its people, conveying the diversity and beauty of the land and the compelling personal stories of the people who shape its future. Episode 3: Voices of the Forest: The dense, mysterious rain forest of central Africa's Congo River Basin is home to the Baka people and a complex veriety of plants and animals. But the logging of its old-growth timber by outside interests could endanger the rain forest itself, threaten the Baka villages, and have an adverse impact on local business. Episode 4: Mountains of Faith: Discover Ethiopia's rugged beauty and ancient traditions in a tale tracing the lives of two ambitious young men on the brink of manhood. Follow a precocious entrepeneur on his annual pilgrimage from the cosmopolitan capital to a time-honored celebration in his family's rural village. Then join another young man as he embarks on a spiritual journey deep in the Horn of Africa.


Title: Africa: Volume 3
Language: English
Type: Documentary
Age Group: Ages 8 to Adult
Year: 2001
Length: 120 min.
Subtitles: None
Media Type: DVD
Description: This Epic series presents Africa through the eyes of its people, conveying the diversity and beauty of the land and the compelling personal stories of the people who shape its future. Episode 5: Love in the Sahel: Near the edge of the desolate and wind-swept Sahara, two young men participate in age-old rituals guided by nature's complex rythms. But despite their different backgrounds, both youths have the same goal: to make successful passage into manhood and become full-fledged members of their respective communities. Episode 6: Restless Waters: In the midst of Africa's fertile heartlands, on Lake Victoria, the continent's largest lake.. A man is about to risk his family's saving's for a chance at a better future. Meanwhile, 500 miles away, in the Kilombero Valley, another family's fortune is at the mercy of the elements.


Title: Africa: Volume 4
Language: English
Type: Documentary
Age Group: Ages 8 to Adult
Year: 2001
Length: 210 min.
Subtitles: None
Media Type: DVD
Description: This Epic series presents Africa through the eyes of its people, conveying the diversity and beauty of the land and the compelling personal stories of the people who shape its future. Episode 7: On the sunny island of Zanziber, off Africa's eastern coast, an amateur soccer team has qualified to compete in a chamionship match on the mainland. But in a place still tied to the past, these men, who make their living from the sea, discover that keeping pace with modern changes can help them reach their goal. Episode 8: Southern Treasures: Since apartheid's dramatic downfall in 1994, South Africans from all walks of life have embarked on a remarkable journey in search of a new future. Witness their efforts and challenges through the eyes of young women seeking new careers, miners struggling in a changing industry, and indigenous peoples reclaiming a storied past. Episode 9: The Making of Africa: Get a behind-the-scenes look at the adventurous three-year effort behind the making of the epic series 'Africa'.


Title: Master of the Killer Ants
Language: English
Type: Documentary
Age Group: Ages 8 to Adult
Year: 2007
Length: 54 min.
Subtitles: None
Media Type: DVD
Description: In the Mandaras Mountains of northern Cameroon live the Mofu- an ancient tribe that shares its homes and crops with insects in a mutual balance of survival. But this year, a terrible drought has hit the region and a legion of termites has invaded their huts and granaries. To drive them out, the Mofu shaman calls for help from the Jaglavak, a ferocious red army ant protected by a thick carapace and armed with pincers that cut, tear and slice through anything in its path. Filmed in an intimate style that reveals the traditional customs of the Mofu shaman and the villagers who depend on him. Master of the Killer Ants, also uses stunning macro photography to go underground, giving us a terrifying up-close look at the termite's fortress and the war that rages between termites and Jaglavak. Winner of best film awards at Shanghai Film Festival and Japan's Wildlife Film Festival.


Title: Large Dams, Small People: Management of an African River
Language: English
Type: Documentary
Age Group: Ages 10 to Adult
Year: 1993
Length: 29 min.
Subtitles: English Dubbing
Media Type: DVD
Description: Produced by the Institute for Development Anthropology. As on many rivers in the tropical developing world, dam constructions on the Senegal--or rather, conventional dam management strategies, threaten not only the riverine environment but also human rights and economic productivity of hundreds of thousands of people, whose livelihoods depend on the annual flooding of the plain.


Title: Senator Obama Goes to Africa
Language: English
Type: Documentary
Age Group: Ages 10 to Adult
Year: 2007
Length: 60 min.
Subtitles: None
Media Type: DVD
Description: Part personal odyssey and part chronicle of diplomacy in action, this timely documentary follows Barack Obama as he travels to the land of his ancestry. From South Africa to Kenya to a Darfur refugee camp in Chad, Obama explores the vast continent that is gaining increasing importance in this age of globalization. The heart of the film is Obama's emotional homecoming to Kisumu, Kenya - his father's former home - where thousands of people turn out to greet him. In South Africa, we follow Senator Obama on a trip to Robben Island - the infamous prison where Nelson Mandela was jailed for 21 years. At a Darfur refugee camp in Chad, we see, through Obama's eyes, the devastating effects of genocide. Throughout it all, Senator Obama narrates the film, giving his own perspective on the journey and the significance of Africa to U.S. interests. Additional perspective is included through interviews with experts on African affairs as well as with U.S. political commentators.


Title: Africa: a Voyage of Discovery with Basil Davidson, Programs 1 and 2
Language: English
Type: Documentary
Age Group: Ages 12 to Adult
Year: 1984
Length: 114 min.
Subtitles: None
Media Type: VHS
Description: Africa: A Voyage of Discovery with Basil Davidson is a critically acclaimed informative series describing the history of Africa. The eight-hour series is broken up into eight sections on four videos. Each section is 57 minutes long. Program 1: Different but Equal: For centuries, Africa was ravished by the slave trade, which has distorted our view of its people. Davidson shows that Africa gave rise to some of the world's greatest civilizations. Program 2: Mastering a Continent: Davidson focuses on three different communities to see how African peoples carve out an existence in an often hostile environment.


Title: Africa: a Voyage of Discovery with Basil Davidson, Programs 3 and 4
Language: English
Type: Documentary
Age Group: Ages 12 to Adult
Year: 1984
Length: 114 min.
Subtitles: None
Media Type: VHS
Description: Africa: A Voyage of Discovery with Basil Davidson is a critically acclaimed informative series describing the history of Africa. The eight-hour series is broken up into eight sections on four videos. Each section is 57 minutes long. Program 3: Caravans of Gold: Traces the roots of the medieval gold trade--which reached from Africa to India, China, and Italy--and examines its influence on the African continent. Program 4: Kings and Cities: We view the wonderful sculptures and carvings left behind by old Africa's kings and queens. We also visit Kano, Nigeria, where a king still holds court in his 15th-century palace, and ancient rituals continue to command the respect of the people.


Title: Africa: a Voyage of Discovery with Basil Davidson, Programs 5 and 6
Language: English
Type: Documentary
Age Group: Ages 12 to Adult
Year: 1984
Length: 114 min.
Subtitles: None
Media Type: VHS
Description: Africa: A Voyage of Discovery with Basil Davidson is a critically acclaimed informative series describing the history of Africa. The eight-hour series is broken up into eight sections on four videos. Each section is 57 minutes long. Program 5: The Bible and the Gun: Looks at how the slave trade decimated the African population and tore the fabric of society, as well as the impact of explorers, missionaries, and men like Cecil Rhodes. Program 6: The Magnificent African Cake: Takes us back to the 30-year "scramble for Africa" that began in the 1880s and dramatically changed the continent. Nearly all of Africa became subject to colonial rule until World War II.


Title: Africa: a Voyage of Discovery with Basil Davidson, Programs 7 and 8
Language: English
Type: Documentary
Age Group: Ages 12 to Adult
Year: 1984
Length: 106 min.
Subtitles: None
Media Type: VHS
Description: Africa: A Voyage of Discovery with Basil Davidson is a critically acclaimed informative series describing the history of Africa. The eight-hour series is broken up into eight sections on four videos. Each section is 57 minutes long. Program 7: The Rise of Nationalism: Charts Africa's struggle for independence, focusing on the final collapse of the white minority in Zimbabwe and on apartheid in South Africa. Program 8: The Legacy: Davidson looks at Africa in the aftermath of colonial rule. Interviews with political leaders illuminate Africa's problems and successes.


Title: Africa: Economics and Change
Language: English
Type: Documentary
Age Group: Ages 12 to Adult
Year: 2004
Length: 52 min.
Subtitles: None
Media Type: DVD
Description: Africa's productive farms, mines, and waterways demonstrate the continent's wealth of resources. Visit Mali, Tanzania, Algeria, South Africa, and other countries. Students see numerous ways that people use natural resources for economic benefit.


Title: Black Gold
Language: English
Type: Documentary
Age Group: Ages 12 to Adult
Year: 2006
Length: 78 min.
Subtitles: None
Media Type: DVD
Description: Black Gold asks us 'to wake up and smell the coffee,' to face the unjust conditions under which our favorite drink is produced and to decide what we can do about it. The film traces the tangled trail from the two billion cups of coffee consumed each day back to the coffee farmers who produce the beans. In particular, It follows Tadesse Meskela as he tries to get a living wage for the 70,000 Ethiopian coffee farmers he represents. In the process Black Gold provides the most in-depth study of any commodity on film today and offers a compelling introduction to the ‘fair trade’ movement galvanizing consumers around the globe.


Title: Duara, Sound the Drum
Language: Kiswahili
Type: Feature
Age Group: Ages 12 to Adult
Year: 2002
Length: 24 min.
Subtitles: English
Media Type: DVD
Description: The pilot project for the West Virginia State College – University of Dar es Salaam filmmaking program, TeleDrum, “Duara” tells the story of two love struck schoolmates: Yusufu and Mariam, who, oblivious in their love, face the fateful consequences of opening their intimate duara (circle in Kiswahili). With the support of a Fulbright Alumni Initiative Award, this short-feature was written and produced by filmmaking students from the Fine and Performing Arts Department of the University of Dar es Salaam and West Virginia State College’s Communications Department to complement AIDS prevention campaigns in Africa. Utilizing elements of the African oral tradition in the filmmaking style, the film, while set in Tanzania (and shot entirely on location), presents a theme relevant to young adults worldwide. Video comes with a 24 minute 'making of Duara' documentary called "Sound the Drum".


Title: War Dance
Language: English
Type: Documentary
Age Group: Ages 13 to Adult
Year: 2007
Length: 105 min.
Subtitles: None
Media Type: DVD
Description: War Dance was nominated for the 2008 Academy Award for Best Documentary Feature. The film centers on three children - Rose, a 13-year-old choir singer; Nancy, a 14-year-old dancer; and Dominic, a 14-year-old xylophone player. They are members of the Acholi ethnic group, living in the remote northern Uganda refugee camp of Patongo, which is under military protection from the Lord's Resistance Army, a terrorist group that has been rebelling against the government for the past two decades. In 2005, the camp's primary school won its regional music competition and headed to Kampala to participate in the annual National Music Competition. Over the course of three months, the film's creative team observes the three youngsters as they prepare for the event and gain their confidence enough to have them discuss the horrors they have experienced and express their individual fears, hopes, and dreams.


Title: Belonging
Language: English
Type: Documentary
Age Group: Ages 14 to Adult
Year: 2004
Length: 52 min.
Subtitles: Zulu and English
Media Type: DVD
Description: Born into exile as the daughter of political émigrés, Kethiwe Ngcobo and her family returned to their longed-for homeland, South Africa in 1994. Now ten years later, Kethiwe, a hip, young woman with a British accent finds herself struggling to find her place in the new South Africa. Hoping to reconcile the warring strands of her identity, Khetiwe seeks healing in her Zulu traditions. At the same time, her sister refuses to participate in any ceremonies as meaningless rituals. Khetiwe is not alone in her journey to find belonging. The country is also in the process of finding itself. This is a personal and honest look at one person's quest for identity.


Title: Congo: White King, Red Rubber, Black Death
Language: Dutch
Type: Documentary
Age Group: Ages 14 to Adult
Year: 2003
Length: 84 min.
Subtitles: English and French
Media Type: DVD
Description: Congo: White King, Red Rubber, Black Death describes how King Leopold II of Belgium turned Congo into its private colony between 1885 and 1908. Under his control, Congo became a gulag labor camp of shocking brutality. Leopold posed as the protector of Africans fleeing Arab slave-traders but, in reality, he carved out an empire based on terror to harvest rubber. Families were held as hostages, starving to death if the men failed to produce enough wild rubber. Children's hands were chopped off as punishment for late deliveries. The Belgian government has denounced this documentary as a "tendentious diatribe" for depicting King Leopold II as the moral forebear of Adolf Hitler, responsible for the death of 10 million people in his rapacious exploitation of the Congo. Yet, it is agreed today that the first Human Rights movement was spurred by what happened in the Congo.


Title: Yesterday
Language: Zulu
Type: Feature
Age Group: Ages 15 to Adult
Year: 2004
Length: 95 min.
Subtitles: English
Media Type: DVD
Description: Set against the awesome, harsh landscapes of South Africa, Yesterday is an eloquent, unsentimental film that quietly builds an overwhelming emotional force. The film's title protagonist is a 30-year-old mother who lives in Rooihoek, a remote village in South Africa's Zululand. Yesterday's life is not easy; there's little money, no modern conveniences, and her husband is away in Johannesburg working as a miner. But she possesses a sunny nature, and takes great joy in her seven-year-old daughter Beauty (Lihle Mvelase). The precarious balance of Yesterday's life is threatened when she is diagnosed with AIDS, and must journey afar to learn about and confront her illness. Yesterday's primary driving force for survival is her daughter, who is a year away from starting school. Yesterday herself never had the chance to go to school, and as she faces her affliction she sets her sights on a single goal: to be with Beauty on her first day of class, along with all the other proud mothers of Rooihoek.