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Black History Month

Nigerian actress Esosa E stars in Mahogany Too, part of the juror presentation Triple Consciousness: Films by Akosua Adoma Owusu.

"[Black History Month is] about the lived, shared experience of all African Americans, high and low, famous and obscure, and how those experiences have shaped and challenged and ultimately strengthened America. It’s about taking an unvarnished look at the past so we can create a better future. It’s a reminder of where we as a country have been so that we know where we need to go."

—Barack Obama

Here at the Ann Arbor Film Festival, we recognize and appreciate not only the contributions of black artists and filmmakers who help make the festival what it is, but also the continued efforts by people of color and their allies around the world in righting injustices and promoting equality. In these turbulent political and social times, it is important to look to the past to inform our future, to appreciate the great strides accomplished, and to look ahead to the challenges that remain.

This year at the 57th AAFF, we are pleased to present many films and special programs that explore and celebrate black history and the black experience. To name a few:

On Friday, March 29, at 1pm in the Michigan Theater Screening Room, 57AAFF Juror Akosua Adoma Owusu will present her special program Triple Consciousness: Films by Akosua Adoma Owusu. Owusu’s films address a collision of identities, where the African immigrant located in the United States has a triple consciousness. This third identity or consciousness of the African immigrant transitions between avant-garde cinema, fine art, and African tradition to complicate the nature of identity. Owusu’s documentary essay and experimental film work uses a range of archival material, direct animation, and staged scenes to examine the construction of historical memory and cultural identity. ​This special program is free and open to the public.

The film New Panther: A Call for Action by Sage Love and Nola Asantewaa will be screened as a part of Films in Competition 11 at 1:15pm on Saturday, March 30, in the Main Auditorium of the Michigan Theater. New Panther: A Call for Action is a documentary about a collective of people focused on creating a thriving Afrikan community rooted in self-determination, collective action, and economics. The mission of the film is to cause a culture shift by eradicating stereotypes and bringing light to certain injustices within the community locally.

At 3pm on Saturday, March 30, in the Screening Room of Michigan Theater, the AAFF audience will have the opportunity to experience the special program Remnants of A Dream, curated by Amir George. Our memory can be a rekindling of the moments that shook us most—a pool party gone wrong, a summer on the brink, a disaster within the days of youth, our ancestral struggles, and our own desires. Directed toward paths of healing, this presentation explores a recollection of global black experiences.

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