Compiled by David Henderson (St. Lawrence University)
Acknowledgements: St. Lawrence University Libraries for
financial and technical support. This issue features new releases from
H2ONewsreel, a new partnership between Third World Newsreel and the
General | Africa | Americas | Distributor Information |
From Mali to Michigan: A Musical Bridge. 2006.
Directed by Louise Bourgault (USA/Mali). Distributed by Third World
Newsreel. DVD, 28 min. A documentary about musical collaboration in
the global age, From Mali to Michigan follows African world
music pop diva and griotte Naïny Diabaté during her 2005 visit to the
Northern Michigan University. The film traces the musical history of
Mali, including the development of pop music in the country. Shot on
location in Mali and Michigan, the documentary highlights the rich
cultural and performative heritage of Ms. Diabaté’s native Mali and
features the star’s lively collaborations with musical artists from
Michigan and with students from Northern Michigan University. In
English, French, and Bamanan, with English subtitles.
Unveiled Views: Muslim Women Artists Speak Out. 2009.
Directed by Alba Sotorra (Spain). Distributed by Women Make Movies.
DVD, 52 min. In this revealing documentary five extraordinary women
talk about their occupations, aspirations, and the rights and status of
women in their Muslim countries. Bosnian Alma Suljevic risks her life
daily clearing the landmines near Sarajevo that are war's deadly legacy,
then sells minefield earth in European art galleries so that she can
continue her work. Eren Keskin, a longtime human rights activist and
lawyer with music conservatory training, fights to change Turkey's legal
practices that perpetuate violence against women. Veteran filmmaker
Rakshan Bani-Ehmad, true to her credo that art must "look, observe, and
discover," frequently pushes Iran's censorship rules to the limit.
Surrounded by conflict since childhood, young Afghani writer Moshagan
Saadat creates brave, profoundly moving and memorable poems. And
renowned Pakistani dancer Nahid Siddiqui, once forced to live outside
her homeland when her work was banned, continues to perfect, renew, and
teach her art form. Captured by Spanish filmmaker Alba Sotorra, who
hitchhiked from Barcelona to Pakistan to shoot Unveiled Views,
these self-portraits of hope, heroism, and pride challenge conventional
Western stereotypes about women in the Islamic world. In Bosnian,
Turkish, Farsi, and Urdu, with English subtitles.
Democracy in Dakar. 2007. Directed by Ben Herson,
Magee McIlvaine, and Chris Moore (Senegal/USA). Distributed by
H2ONewsreel. DVD, 66 min. Explores the transformative role of hip-hop
in politics in Senegal during the 2007 presidential election campaign.
This documentary mixes interviews, freestyles, and commentary from
journalists, artists, and politicians. Senegalese society is seen on
the brink of democratic change, where hip-hop artists are one of the few
groups unafraid of speaking out.
I Love Hip Hop in Morocco. 2007. Directed by Joshua
Asen and Jennifer Needleman (Morocco/USA). Distributed by H2ONewsreel.
DVD, 80 min. This feature-length documentary follows the creation of
Morocco's first-ever hip-hop festival, from inception all the way to the
stage. Along the way we meet DJ Key, a self-taught turntable prodigy
who is torn between his love for hip-hop and his devotion to Islam;
H-Kayne, a pioneer rap group on the verge of stardom; and Fati, a high
school girl who's trying to make it as a female rapper in an Arab man's
world. In Arabic, French, and English, with English subtitles.
Masizakhe: Building Each Other. 2008. Directed by Angelica and Scott Macklin (South Africa/USA). Distributed by H2ONewsreel. DVD, 80 min. Explores
the role of art, social activism, and hip-hop in South African
education. It presents students, teachers, artists, and principals
working to support each other while re-establishing individual and
cultural identities, and shows hip-hop as a global culture committed to
peace and youth liberation.
Mr. Devious. 2006. Directed by John Fredericks (South
Africa). Distributed by H2ONewsreel. DVD, 73 min. A compelling story
of a young South African man committed to using his hip-hop skills to
change his community. This award-winning film takes you on a journey to
discover an artist who refused to compromise his artistic integrity,
while reaching into the hearts of youth at risk in the prisons.
The Art of Love and Struggle. 2006.
Directed by Jessica Habie (USA). Distributed by H2ONewsreel. DVD, 78
min. In this film, artists, singers, emcees, activists, poets, and
writers come together in an explosive exploration of feminine creation.
Each lady brings to the screen her innermost struggles in an attempt to
outline the obstacles that face the female artist. The Art of Love and Struggle navigates the challenges of poverty, politics, and personal sacrifice and explores love, identity, and urban culture.
La Bruja: A Witch from the Bronx. 2005. Directed by Felix
Rodriguez. Distributed by H2ONewsreel. DVD, 50 min. Art and labor
blend in this intimate documentary about spoken-word artist Caridad de
la Luz, better known as "LaBruja." Born and raised in the Bronx, this
daughter of Puerto Rican immigrants takes the number six train to
downtown Manhattan where she performs at popular New York City venues.
But opportunities are scarce and she struggles to make ends meet in an
industry where "to keep it real" often means to work for free.
Faubourg Tremé: The Untold Story of Black New Orleans. 2007.
Directed by Dawn Logsdon (USA). Distributed by California Newsreel.
DVD, 67 min. This film was largely shot before the Katrina tragedy but
edited afterward, giving the film both a celebratory and elegiac tone.
It is a film of such effortless intimacy, subtle glances, and authentic
details that only two native New Orleanians could have made it. Our
guide through the neighborhood is New Orleans Times-Picayune
reporter Lolis Eric Elie, who decided that rather than abandon his
heritage he would invest in it by rehabilitating an old house in the
Tremé district. His 75-year-old contractor, Irving Trevigne, whose
family has been in the construction business there for over 200 years,
becomes a symbol of the neighborhood’s continuity and resourcefulness;
Irving Trevigne represents a man who, unlike many Americans, is deeply
rooted in his community and its traditions. Winner of the Award of
Commendation from the Society for Visual Anthropology.
Frekuensia Kolombiana. 2006. Directed by Vanessa Gocksch
(Colombia). Distributed by H2ONewsreel. DVD, 58 min. Explores
Colombian music and its relation to hip-hop. By way of interviews,
events, situations, and landscapes, the documentary uncovers a youth
that constructs from exclusion a movement of hope and truth. As we
witness their efforts to self-produce, organize, and multiply knowledge,
we realize their need to perpetuate, communicate, give, and exist. We
discover the lucid consciousness of a youth that seeks to awaken and
renew its society through art. In Spanish with English subtitles.
Hip Hop SP. 1990. Directed by Francisco Cesar (Brazil).
Distributed by H2ONewsreel. DVD, 11 min. Young black members of Sao
Paulo's hip-hop movement depict their experiences and their views of
black Brazilian history through music, dance and graffiti.
Inventos: Hip Hop Cubano. 2005. Directed by Eli
Jacobs-Fantauzzi (Cuba/USA). Distributed by H2ONewsreel. DVD, 50 min.
Cuban hip-hop provides a special insight into the realities and
politics of contemporary Cuba. Inventos follows some of the
pioneers of this musical movement to their homes, the stage, and as they
travel abroad for the first time. Inventos embodies the true
spirit of hip-hop, which is to build something that is powerful and
useful out of what is seemingly impossible. In Spanish with English
Jails, Hospitals, and Hip Hop. 2000. Directed by Mark
Benjamin and Danny Hoch (USA). Distributed by H2ONewsreel. DVD, 90
min. Acclaimed Brooklyn actor, performance artist, and hip-hop activist
Danny Hoch spins out the stories of ten lives shocked by global
hip-hop, the prison system, and life in general. Moving masterfully in
and out of the characters' lives while the camera cuts from film
narrative to live performances, Danny makes you look at cultural power
in a new way that is hysterically funny, tragically sad, and uplifting
all at once.
Respect Is Due. 1992. Directed by Cyrille Phipps (USA).
Distributed by H2ONewsreel. DVD, 10 min. Examines the ways women of
African descent are frequently portrayed in rap lyrics and music videos.
Say My Name. 2009. Directed by Nirit Peled (USA/UK).
Distributed by Women Make Movies. DVD, 73 min. Sisters, mothers,
businesswomen, music artists—in a hip-hop and R&B industry world
dominated by men and noted for misogyny, the unstoppable female
lyricists of Say My Name speak candidly about class, race, and
gender in pursuing their passions as female MCs. From hip hop's
birthplace in the Bronx to grime on London's Eastside, from emerging
artists to world-renowned stars like MC Lyte and Monie Love, these are
women turning adversity into art.
A Song for Ourselves. 2009. Directed by Tadashi Nakamura
(USA). Distributed by Third World Newsreel. DVD, 35 min. An intimate
journey into the life and music of Asian American movement troubadour
Chris Iijima. Struggling to make sense of their father’s early death,
Iijima's teenage sons learn that during the 1970s, when Asians in
America were still considered "Orientals," Chris' music and passion for
social justice helped provide the voice and identity an entire
generation had been in search of. Through animated photographs,
intimate home movies, archival footage of Chris' introduction to
nationwide television by John Lennon, and Chris' own songs, their
father's life takes on bigger meaning than they had ever dreamed of.
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