AfroPoP

Recent Articles

AfroPoP, a showcase for filmmakers of color

AfroPop

Two DuVernay films – Middle of Nowhere and I Will Follow both were shown at the Twin Cities Black Film Festival, notes Founder-Director Natalie Morrow. The acclaimed director is just one of many Black female filmmakers who successfully produced small and big-screen cinematic pieces, which typically get exposure at annual film festivals such as Morrow’s. Continue Reading →

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Documentary highlights NYC street basketball

By Charles Hallman
Staff writer

 

The best basketball players often aren’t found in college or in the NBA, but on the nation’s blacktops. Using a late 1970s tune by the Blackbyrds as its overall theme, Doin’ It In The Park: Pick-Up Basketball, New York City accurately gives viewers a well-deserved look into pick-up basketball. Although they focused on the Big Apple, in many urban corridors, if you are a hoopster of any note, you will make or break your hoopin’ reputation on the blacktop. Many go on to star on high school and college teams; some even make it to the pros. Many others don’t — but that doesn’t make them any less significant in basketball circles — their streetball exploits will sometimes precede them. Continue Reading →

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Despite its success, AfroPoP series still faces challenges

 

 

By Charles Hallman
Staff Writer

 

AfroPoP, the successful public television program that shows independent films and documentaries “on contemporary life, art and pop culture across the African Diaspora” is now in its sixth season. “If you would have told me that we were going to have six seasons, I probably would’ve said, ‘I need to get through this first one, I can’t think that far ahead,” jokes Co-Executive Producer Leslie Fields-Cruz.  She also is National Black Programming Consortium (NBPC) vice president of operations and director of programming. The NBPC was founded in 1979. AfroPoP is produced by NBPC and co-presented by American Public Television (APT), and shown on the PBS World channel.  Beginning in February, however APT will distribute AfroPoP to additional public television

stations. As a result, TPT Life Channel 2.3 now airs the program on Saturday nights (check local listings for times). Continue Reading →

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Multicultural filmmaker uncovers painful truths in search for family roots

 

By Charles Hallman

Staff Writer

 

Eliaichi Kimaro’s need to fully understand her father’s culture later transformed a legacy project into a documentary on sexual violence. A first-generation American with a Tanzanian father and Korean mother, Kimaro said in a recent phone interview with the MSR that she wrestled with “what culture am I going to pass down” to her children one day. Despite nearly a baker’s dozen visits every other summer during her growing-up years to her father’s homeland, “I realize [that] I don’t know anything — all the visits to Tanzania I haven’t been paying attention,” she admitted. “I didn’t feel that I had anything real or [of] substance that I could pass down to my kids that would help them understand [their heritage]. When that thought hit me, that’s when the need came for me to go back and pay attention for a purpose.”

As a result, Kimaro’s seven-year project that “kept growing and evolving” became A Lot Like You, a documentary that premiered on PBS World channel’s AfroPoP series in January. Continue Reading →

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An African Election: a look at Ghana’s 2008 presidential election

 Producers hope to inspire U.S. Blacks to get out to vote 
 

 

By Charles Hallman

Staff Writer

 

Both political parties are doing almost anything to win this national election. Not the upcoming U.S. presidential election but An African Election, a film by Jarreth Mertz that shows a behind-the-scenes look at the days leading up to the 2008 presidential elections in Ghana. The documentary premiered October 1 on PBS World (which is not available locally) and will be shown on all public television stations nationwide on Wednesday, October 3 (check local listings), but viewers can see the documentary online for up to two weeks after it premiers at http://afropop.tv. Mertz’s film shows the people of Ghana wrestling with who to choose as their next president. He expertly captured both candidates and their speeches around the country, while their campaign operatives feverishly worked in their attempts to convince the voters that their party has all the answers. Continue Reading →

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That’s My Face depicts a journey seeking African images, affirmation

 
Filmmaker finds himself reflected in Afro-Brazilian culture

 

By Charles Hallman

Staff Writer

 

Thomas Allen Harris did what his grandfather always wanted to but didn’t get the chance — embark and complete a mythic journey to the motherland. “My grandfather emphasized Marcus Garvey and always wanted to go to Africa, but he wasn’t able to go because my grandmother refused to let him go,” says Harris, who was born in the Bronx. “So he passed on his dream to all of his kids, and they all went to Africa.”

Harris’ mother accepted a short-term teaching job there, and took him and his brother with her when they were youngsters. “My mother imagined Africa as a place that would accept us,” said the filmmaker in That’s My Face, which was shown on the PBS World channel during Black History Month in February. “When it was time to come back to the States, none of us wanted to come back. Continue Reading →

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