Ottawa's first African Film Festival opens today

Carleton University hosts the inaugural African Film Festival of Ottawa, screening 11 films made by African film makers over a two-week period.

Carleton University will host the two-week event

From scary zombie flicks to political thrillers and super hero movies, the first African Film Festival of Ottawa — which opens Friday at Carleton University — showcases a variety of genres from the perspective of the people who live there.

"You know most times when we see images of Africa they are made about Africa, but not by Africans," said Carleton Film professor Aboubakar Sanogo, one of the driving forces behind the festival.
Aboubakar Sanogo teaches African film at Carleton University and is one of the organizers of the Africian Film Festival of Ottawa. (Sandra Abma)

Eleven films, by emerging and award winning directors, will be screened at the campus' River Building Theatre.

"It's really to invite people to discover a range of ways that Africans feel, love and experience life and imagine the future and to share that with the world."

Carleton's departments of Film and African Studies, along with the Canadian Film Institute and numerous African embassies have joined forces to host the ten day event.  

'It's time'

Sarah Onyango hosts the monthly African cultural program Fontonfrom, on Rogers TV as well as the weekly radio programs, Black on Black and Afrika Revisited on CHUO 89.1FM (Sarah Onyango)
Sarah Onyango, the host of the popular community radio show Black on Black, says she's been lobbying for a festival devoted to African film to come to Ottawa.

"It's time. Africa has really come into its own in terms of filmmaking on an international level," Onyango said.

She hopes the festival will break down misconceptions of a continent that is often shown at its bleakest in the media.

"That's important for Canadian audiences to see we're human, the human experience is universal. It just has an African flavour to it in these films." 

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