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HAILE GERIMA TO DURBAN. (article first published : 2003-04-25)

Sankofa - the multi-award winning and eagerly awaited international movie focusing on the slave trade will have special Durban screenings this week, and the film’s director, Haile Gerima will be in Durban to conduct lectures and workshops.

Premier distributors of African films across the African continent, the Film Resource Unit (FRU) is to release the multi-award winning film simultaneously on the semi-independent cinema circuit in five cities across the country from April 25.

Sankofa is directed by Ethiopian filmmaker, Haile Gerima, a professor of film at Howard University in the US. The film is globally regarded by African cinephiles as a courageous work, dramatically depicting the history of slavery focusing on the West African, American and Caribbean slave trade route starring Jamaican artist and activist Mutabaruka.

Sankofa is an Akan word meaning one must return to the past to move forward. In the film, Gerima captures a stunning masterpiece about self-determination, overcoming adversity and healing pain. Shot on location in Jamaica and Ghana, the film takes its viewers through a moving experience that portrays the caste system of slavery through the eyes of a present-day African model who is snatched back into time to experience life on a sugar cane plantation.

The film comes at time when South African cinema-goers are showing an increasing appetite for African images on the silver screen. Past box-office successes like the feature film, Lumumba, released by FRU last year, surpassed all expectations and smashed box office records for an African film of its genre.

A multi-faceted promotional campaign featuring educational tertiary and high school lecture tours given by Haile Gerima and Mutabaruka, community discussions and a number of cultural events underscore the visionary approach to the film campaign.

In Durban, Sankofa will be screened at the Workshop and Berea Centre. Haile Gerima will present a workshop on May 4 from 10h00 until 15h00 at the BAT Centre. On May 5, he will present three lectures: at the Durban Institute of Technology (ML Sultan campus) from 08h30 until 10h30; at UDW (Senate Chamber) from 13h30 to 14h30 and at University of Natal, Howard College Theatre at 17h30 to 19h30.

For more information visit www.sankofa.co.za or contact Alex Holt on 031 368 5603.




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