The 27th annual Cascade Festival of African Films will run Feb. 3 to March 4, from Thursdays to Sundays, with most scheduled in the Moriarty Auditorium at the Cascade Campus of Portland Community College, 705 N. Killingsworth St. Admission is free.
The Cascade event, the nation’s longest-running annual African film festival, will show 23 films made by Africans for Africans rather than packaging a vision of Africa for Western viewers, said college spokesman James Hill. Information on screenings and filmmaker appearances is at www.africanfilmfestival.org.
The festival will open with a double screening of “Rain the Color Blue with a Little Red in It,” an homage to musician Prince’s song “Purple Rain.” The film, a collaboration between Portland director Christopher Kirkley and actor/musician Mdou Moctar of Niger, will screen at 6:30 p.m. and 9:15 p.m. Feb. 3 at the opening night gala at the Hollywood Theatre, 4122 N.E. Sandy Blvd.
The film is set in the burgeoning rock-guitar scene in Agadez, Niger, and is the first narrative feature film in the Tuareg language, in which the title is “Akounak Tedalat Taha Tazoughai.” Both Kirkley and Moctar will be at the showings to discuss the film. Moctar also will give a special concert at 11:15 p.m. Feb. 3, following the second showing, at the Hollywood.
For the first time, the festival will include staged readings of two African plays at 3 p.m. and 4:30 p.m. Feb. 11 in Moriarty Auditorium. They include “Fishers of Hope/Tawaret,” by Lara Foot of South Africa. The play examines the prospects of hope and livelihood in Africa. The other play is “Onions Make Us Cry,” by Zainabu Jallo of Nigeria. It examines the consequences of domestic abuse.
Special features of the festival include a social hour starting at 5:30 p.m. Saturdays in Moriarty Auditorium, preceding film showings, with music, food and an African marketplace.
The documentary film series at 7 p.m. Thursdays will focus on the power of dissent. Viewers may witness how political and economic resistance can bring about social change.
A student matinee at noon Feb. 16 will feature “Green White Green” from Nigeria. It captures the energy of young creative talents in the capital city of Lagos.
A family-friendly film ,“K3nt & Kat3,” directed by Jayant Maru of Uganda, will show at 2 p.m. Feb. 25. The story features Kent, who is teased by other students for failing his school exams but is bolstered by his best friend, Kate. One day they escape from school to go on a magical journey where Kent discovers his dyslexia and creative talent as a pianist. Master storyteller Baba Wagu Diakite of Mali will host the screening.
Women Filmmakers Week, March 2-4, will showcase works by women directors from Mali, Ethiopia, South Africa and Tunisia.
“In our increasingly volatile political climate, it is integral that free and inclusive community events like the Cascade Festival of African Film continue,” said Tracy Francis, festival coordinator.
“Now more than ever, we need to open our minds and hearts to understanding different cultures, and create safe spaces for personal and artistic expression.”