The auditorium was
full as the African Film Festival screened its first film -- by young Ethiopian
director, Yihdego Abeselom. The movie, "13 Months of Sunshine," shows the lives
of first-generation immigrants trying to adjust to a new way of life and the
challenges of a new world.
Shot in California,
the movie explores cultural and identity conflicts that arise in the pursuit of
dreams and goals.
Ubang Sirius is a
Nigerian who lives in America. He says the story of "13 Months of Sunshine"
resonates with him. "I like the movie. It [reflects a commonality felt by] most
African [immigrants to the US].
generation of Africans are trying to find a way to navigate in this society and
trying to hold on to some of [their] cultural esthetics, at the same time [they
are] trying to develop and grow [their] own individuality."
Fana Maru Aragaw is
an Ethiopian who lives in Washington, D.C. She says the movie captures the
realities of the Ethiopian Diaspora community. "I thought it portrayed a lot of the realities
that Ethiopians face here, especially the ones who have immigration issues,"
The audience also
enjoyed "Shoot the Messenger," a political satire from Nigeria with a bold
comic presentation. Also -- films from Senegal, Congo,Cape Verde, and Uganda.
The event was
organized by Trans Africa Forum, Africafe and the AFI Silver Theater. Organizer
Mwiza Munthali talked about the line-up:
"We also wanted to
offer a selection of classic African films. There are films that have been reproduced
by the World Cinema Foundation. Films like Tuki Bouki, Harvest 3000, and films
like Tranzes to highlight great film makers like Haile Gerima and Djibril Diop
The reception of
the African community to the film festival has encouraged organizers to start
planning another next year.