“Father of African cinema” screening this weekend
John Muafangejo Art Centre and the UNAM will join the biggest community screening in history, as the award-winning documentary, Sembene will show on Saturday 10 June at the Katutura Community Arts Centre.
The Normandy Cinema is partnering with more than 50 institutions across Africa to share the story of Ousmane Sembene, the “father of African cinema,” who spent decades shaping a meaningful, visionary cinema for a newly independent Africa.
Through the Sembene Across Africa project free public screenings as well as free streaming of the award-winning documentary will take place across the continent at schools, museums, cultural centers and NGOs.
The Old Complex, more commonly known as the Katutura Community Art Centre, on Leonard Auala Street will show all screenings locally free of charge. Funding is provided from the Ford Foundation and the Sundance Institute, and through grassroots efforts by the filmmakers.
The documentary, created by Sembene’s biographer, premiered in competition at the Sundance and Cannes film festivals and has been screened throughout the world. It was also included in seven best-of-2015 lists, including a top-ten-of-2015 notice from New York magazine.
To date, more than 90 public screenings in 30 countries have been confirmed, with more venues being added on a daily basis.
The project’s prominent team of advisors, producers and consultants includes Kenya’s Ngugi Wa Thiong’o, Fatou Kande Senghor, Ousmane Sene and Rama Thiaw of Senegal, Gaston Kabore (Burkina Faso), Samanta Etane and Issa Nyaphaga of Cameroon, Dr. N. André Siamundele (Democratic Republic of Congo), Fibby Kioria (Uganda), Mickey Fonseca (Mozambique), with more being added.
The project is motivated by Sembene’s desire, unfulfilled in his lifetime after 50 years of focused work-to return African stories to the African people. For decades, during Africa’s colonial period and until African independence in the late 1950s and early 1960s, European-run schools, newspapers, TV, movies and languages were Africa’s dominant cultural forces.
African culture was criminalized and marginalized, and many Africans lost connection with their past. Starting with his first film, Borom Sarret, completed in 1962, Sembene sets out to use movies as what he called “an evening school”.