by Ed Guerrero
Accra, Ghana: October 1-4. Professors Manthia Diawara and Ed Guerrero did a stellar job of representing Cinema Studies at this year’s 6th annual “Real Life Pan African Film Festival,” by introducing this year’s top billed documentaries, organizing and participating in many of the seminars, workshops and panels. Of note were Manthia Diawara’s introduction and commentary on Chergui Kharroubi and Salem Brahimi’s Africa is Back (92 min.), documenting the 2nd Pan African Cultural Festival, held in ’09 in Algiers and attended by 8500 intellectuals and artists form “the heart of Africa” and its diaspora, including Danny Glover, Andre Brink, Jihane El Tahri. Equally of note was Ed Guerrero’s introduction and commentary on Stanley Nelson’s, Freedom Riders (113 min., PBS ‘American Experience’), documenting the bloody ‘freedom rides’ of the ‘60s Civil Right Movement, and recognized as a cinematic masterpiece by winning no less than 3 ‘Prime Time Emmys’ this year.
Overall this year’s festival was a great aesthetic, intellectual, and organizational success, screening a dozen new and remarkable films from the African diaspora, in a number of venues, including University of Ghana, Legon; La Maison Franciase; and the Goethe Institut. The festival drew popular crowds, aspiring student filmmakers, and our own ‘NYU in Ghana’ students. Cinema Studies and MIAP have participated in the production, workshop, restoration and festival process for several seasons now. Confidence is high and the cinematic future is bright.