Films Focus On African Diaspora

Posted July 21, 2009 at 3:24pm

For many, President Barack Obama’s recent visit to Ghana resonated with a theme of ancestry that Obama touched on numerous times during his campaign and in his best-selling autobiography.

A new film series at the National Geographic Society’s Grosvenor Auditorium explores the same theme. The Washington DC African Diaspora Film Series, running July 23-25, will present 10 films focusing on issues faced by those whose family trees stretch back to Africa.

The films are set in locations that range from South Africa to Los Angeles, with directors hailing from the United States, Germany, Ghana, Canada, Senegal and Mozambique, to name a few.

National Geographic is working in collaboration with the transAfrica Forum, a nonprofit advocacy group. The film series is an offshoot of a larger festival in New York, with the D.C. version selecting some of the best films from the New York festival.

“All the films showing are really part of our educational organizing [mission] of giving a broader perspective on the issues facing all those of African descent,— said Mwiza Munthali, public outreach director for the transAfrica Forum.

The All Roads Film Project, a branch of the National Geographic Society that is presenting the series, is devoted to “showcasing and supporting minority filmmaking culture from around the world,— director Francene Blythe said.

The project supports minority filmmakers by providing them with funding and screening opportunities, Blythe said.

“We’re working to build and expand audience awareness about these programs,— she said, noting that sponsored films have appeared in festivals in Berlin, Vancouver and Los Angeles.