HW Pick: Senegal Film Festival, From Senegal With Love (update)

senegal film festival 2015The organizers of the Senegal Film Festival, known as Voyage Sur Le Fleuve Senegal/ Cinema Du Fleuve, held every two years in the historic port city of Saint-Louis also known as Ndar,

have announced that this year’s gathering of important thought leaders, representing the international arts & entertainment, and the fashion communities, will take place on December 10-12.

Recognition of its importance, and participation in the festival has been growing since the first edition back in December 2009, and the organizers are hoping that it continues.  It is why the focus this year, is in making this third edition of the festival, a milestone year in media and public awareness.  More than just another film festival, Voyage Sur Le Fleuve Senegal is a cultural exhibition intent on opening provocative discussions on the African diaspora’s contributions to the world of film, music and fashion.  The event has become a way to generate resources for renovation and protection of Saint-Louis’ historical landmarks and trademark architecture. Among these, is the old movie house, Cinema Vox, which is in thorough need of repair. As well, the re-invigoration of the economy around the arts, culture and tourism trade is another critical objective. 

Saint-Louis sits at the mouth of the Senegal River and was once an important French colonial settlement designated as the capital of French West Africa.  Today it is protected and included on UNESCO’s World Heritage List as a landmark site, due in equal part to its distinct treasure trove of French colonial architecture, as well as rich natural environment, provided as a consequence of its position on the lush Senegal River.

The city has had a long tradition of leadership in education, culture, craftsmanship and the arts in general, which makes it the perfect place to host this unique gathering.  Included among the many prominent guests invited this year, is African American filmmaker Julie Dash who brings her beuatiful film, “Daughters of the Dust,” to the festival for a special screening and panel session with University students.   Dash’s film has been described as “a gorgeously impressionistic history of the Gullah people,” inhabitants of the South Carolina Sea Islands who trace their ancestry to West Africa.  When the film opened in the U.S. in 1992, it became an instant classic.

According to Claire Kane, one of the principal organizers of Cinema Du Fleuve, the objective is simple – raise the bar each year, bring something new and more spectacular to the community, and bridge the gap between the international arts community and the legacy of Africa’s arts culture through this type of exchange.  Additionally engage the youth in conversations that will help them develop a sense of ownership over their stories, the arts and crafts of the region, while expanding their view on the creative process.

Cinema Du Fleuve, December 10-12, Saint-Louis, Senegal.  

Here’s an audio from the film:

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For more information visit: http://chercheursdautres.com/senegal-melodies-du-fleuve/

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