Sheffield Doc/Fest 2011 will take place between 8-12 June
The festival will be showing black interest films – ‘A Man’s
Story’s’, ‘Mama Africa’,’Beats Rhymes & Life: The Travels of A Tribe
Called Quest’, ‘TheInterrupters’, and ‘Albino United’.
A Man’s Story – Director(s): Varon Bonicos Producer(s): Rachel Robey, Alastair Clark
He’s neither white nor gay but somehow Ozwald Boateng has risen to the dizzying heights of British fashion. He was the first black tailor to have a business on Savile Row and the youngest to boot. A long line of A-list celebrities like Jamie Foxx and Paul Bettany sing his praises, while sporting his colourful suits. Director Varon Bonicos began filming Boateng in 1998, when his life was in tatters. A nasty divorce and the collapse of his business had left Boateng at low ebb – not helped when his entire collection was stolen. Bonicos went on to follow the charismatic stylist over twelve years, as he was appointed Givenchy creative director, starred in his own American reality series and married a Russian model, a union made difficult by Boateng’s peripatetic, workaholic lifestyle. As stylish as the man himself, A Man’s Story is an enjoyable foray into the fashion industry through one of its most vibrant stars.
Mama Africa – Director(s): Mika Kaurismäki Producer(s): Rainer Kölmel
When the South African government exiled rising star Miriam Makeba for appearing in a documentary about apartheid in 1959, little did they realise they were pushing onto the world stage a unique singing talent and budding civil rights activist. Taken in by the US, “Mama Africa” was nurtured by Harry Belafonte, and became a big star, singing for Marlon Brando and JFK. The record companies soon shunned her when she married Black Panther firebrand Stokely Carmichael. They moved to Guinea and campaigned passionately for a united Africa, Makeba charming a generation of fawning African presidents. Her soft manner belied the steely nature of the woman determined to see her country free, and South Africa doubly exiled her when she became the first African to ask for a boycott. After the release of Nelson Mandela, she finally returned triumphantly to her homeland. As shown through the wonderfully rich performance archive, throughout her turbulent life Makeba’s singing enraptured audiences, influencing generations of African musicians.
Albino United – Director(s): Marc Hoeferlin, Juan Reina, Barnaby Broomfield Producer(s) Marc Hoeferlin, Juan Reina
Tanzanian fishermen believe that if you put an albino’s hand in the lake, it will bring you bad luck. The miners think that if you kill an albino you will become rich. Thanks to such enduring mythology, there has been a spate of horrific albino killings in Tanzania of late, as local witchdoctors use albino body parts to make their potions. As the government of Tanzania tries to educate the people that albinos are citizens too, the world’s first albino football team is formed. Their hope is to rise to the ranks of their league and to create awareness that they are just like everyone else. Some have serious vision problems, but all have perfected their celebration dance and are hoping to be able to use it – if they can ever rise from the bottom of their league. We follow them on an eventful season, including a dangerous foray into the heart of the albino killing zones.
Beats Rhymes & Life: The Travels of A Tribe Called Quest – Director(s): Michael Rapaport Producer(s): Edward Parks
They were primary school mates, who began making up rhymes before they were teenagers. They went on to form one of the greatest hip hop bands of all time: A Tribe Called Quest, known for their innovative fusing of hip hop and jazz with enjoyably complex, intelligent lyrics. For longtime fans like actor and director Michael Rapaport, ATCQ were the Rolling Stones of the hip hop scene, and their breaking up felt like his parents divorcing. In this Sundance hit, Rapaport joins them on a reunion tour and uses vibrant animation, archive and revealing interviews with the likes of the Beastie Boys, to tell their story. Whilst their fans are ecstatic to see them back together, the group’s reunion is threatened by the ongoing antipathy between its two front men, Q-Tip and Phife Dawg. Refreshingly, this is a music doc without drink and drugs addiction – although Phife’s love of sugar seriously threatens to derail him, as he battles Type 1 diabetes.
The Interrupters – Director(s): Steve James Producer(s): Alex Kotlowitz, Steve James
If you’re going to try and do something about the spiraling epidemic of violence on the streets of Chicago, you better know what you’re talking about. “The Interrupters” do – all former gang members, when they gather as a group they bring 500 years of prison time to the table. As members of the experimental anti-violence programme CeaseFire, The Interrupters aim to intervene in conflicts before they explode into violence. At their heart is Ameena Matthews, an ex-gang enforcer and daughter of a notorious gang leader, she launches herself into the middle of erupting conflicts, using her rhetorical gifts to cool the hottest heads. Academy award nominated director Steve James (Hoop Dreams and Stevie) working with acclaimed author Alex Kotlowitz follows follows The Interrupters for a year. He delivers an epic and ultimately uplifting film which chronicles the difficulty of breaking generational cycles of violence, and the potential for redemption which lies within every one of us.
For full festival listings check Sheffield Doc/Fest