The African Film Festival at Washington University is celebrating its 15th year, offering the latest and best of African Cinema to the Saint Louis region.
Each year, the Department in African & African American Studies, Film & Media Studies and the African Students Association partner to present the African Film Festival to the Washington University and larger Saint Louis communities. The festival showcases films, less than two years old, that have fared well at international festivals.
Wilmetta Toliver-Diallo, academic coordinator and senior lecturer in African & African American Studies and assistant dean in the College of Arts & Science, founded the festival in fall 2005 in an effort to increase dynamic conversations about the African continent on Washington University’s campus. The festival introduces contemporary artistic production by African artists to American audiences, combating stereotypes. The festival promotes African filmmakers, who have limited access to international distribution.
Chosen films showcase the landscape and diversity on the African continent while presenting very human glimpses into social realities that are compelling and cause further desire for exploration. In each iteration of the festival, there is an attempt to showcase films of different genres as well as to represent a diversity of cultures and countries.
An effort is made each year to bring filmmakers, film historians, and other African studies scholars to lead post-show discussions about the films.
The festival is supported also by community sponsors. The Saint Louis Art Museum supports the Youth Matinee each year. The Art Museum prepares take home craft kits associated with the youth matinee theme and donates materials to the festival for youth activities. Each Saturday evening of the film, the Saint Louis Metropolitan Alumnae Chapter of Delta Sigma Theta Sorority, Inc., hosts a reception for festival goers.
The festival receives funding from the Washington University Women’s Society and the Missouri Arts Council. For the past two years, the Festival has received additional support from the Missouri Humanities Council to invite artists and scholars for pre and post show discussions.