Press Releases

“Africa and the African Diaspora” Film Festival Feb. 18, 19 & 25

Date Released: 1/31/2008

Purchase College opens its “Africa and the African Diaspora” Film Festival on February 18 with a screening of the critically-acclaimed Blood Diamond, starring Leonardo DiCaprio, Djimon Hounsou and Jennifer Connelly. All screenings begin at 7 PM in the Performing Arts Center and are free and open to the public. Each film will be presented by a scholar from the School of Humanities, who will lead a question and answer session afterward. The Festival will also screen Sugar Cane Alley on February 19 and Bamako on February 25. For more information, call 914-251-6550.

Purchase College, State University of New York, is located at 735 Anderson Hill Road, Purchase, N.Y.

February 18, Blood Diamond
Blood Diamond will be introduced by Literature and Political Science Professor Feliz Kaputu, who was born, raised and educated in the Congo and teaches at Purchase College through the Scholars at Risk Program. Blood Diamond, directed by Edward Zwick, is set during the explosive civil war overtaking Sierra Leone in 1999 with DiCaprio as an ex-mercenary turned smuggler and Hounsou as a Mende fisherman. The two men join together for two desperate missions: recovering a rare pink diamond of immense value and rescuing the fisherman’s son, conscripted as a child soldier into the brutal rebel forces. Zwick has created an intensely moving adventure of profound impact focusing on gripping human stories and heart-pounding action.

A reception will follow this screening in The Performing Arts Center lobby.

February 19, Sugar Cane Alley
Drama Studies Professor Karima Robinson will introduce Sugar Cane Alley. Director Euzhan Palcy won the Cesar for Best First Film at the 1983 Venice Film Festival for this movie. Set in the 1930’s in a shanty town on the French colony of Martinique, the film tells the story of young José who lives with his grandmother. She works in the sugar cane fields and forces him to attend school to save him from the hard life of the plantation. Though José is mischievous, he also learns valuable lessons from the stories of Africa he hears from an old former slave and is dedicated to his schoolwork. His hard work gets him a partial-scholarship to a school in the capital city, to where he and his grandmother move to make that better life.

February 25, Bamako
Cinema Studies Professor Michelle Stewart will introduce Bamako, directed by Abderrahmane Sissako. Set in the courtyard of a mud-walled house in Bamako, the capital city of Mali, the intimate personal story of an African couple on the verge of breaking up is told alongside very public political proceedings: African civil society is taking action against the World Bank and the IMF whom they directly blame for Africa’s woes.

Purchase College’s exciting yearlong campus-wide programming initiative, “Africa and the African Diaspora: Traditions, Revolutions and Innovations,” involves the entire college in a unique exploration of the rich cultural heritage of Africa and the African Diaspora.

The African Diaspora Film Festival is supported in part by a grant from the New York Council for the Humanities.

Any views, findings, conclusions or recommendations expressed in this program do not necessarily represent those of the New York Council for the Humanities or the National Endowment for the Humanities.