African films, Oscar-nominated Alabama documentary to spotlight annual film festival

February 7, 2019

The 7th Annual Tuscaloosa Africana Film Festival, co-sponsored by The University of Alabama College of Community Health Sciences, will be held Saturday, February 16, at Central High School in Tuscaloosa. The event begins at 2 pm with a children’s movie, and regular programming is from 6 pm to 11 pm with a showing of four movies, including an Alabama-based and Oscar-nominated documentary, “Hale County This Morning, This Evening.” The film festival is presented by the Edward A. Ulzen Memorial Foundation and Afram South Inc., two non-profit organizations that support education and public health initiatives in West Alabama and in Ghana, West Africa. The event is also co-sponsored by Central High School. The children’s movie, “Queen of Katwe,” is a 2016 American biographical drama starring David Oyelowo, Lupita Nyong’o and Madina Nalwanga. The film depicts the life of Phiona Mutesi, a Ugandan girl living in a slum in Katwe, where she learns to play chess and later becomes a Woman Candidate Master following victories at the World Chess Olympiads. The movie was produced by Walt Disney Pictures and ESPN Films. Regular programming for the film festival starts with “The Man Who Mends Women – The Wrath of Hippocrates,” featuring 2018 Nobel Peace Prize winner Dr. Dennis Mukwege and his work to restore the health of thousands of women who have been victims of brutal sexual violation by soldiers in the eastern Democratic Republic of the Congo. The second feature is the 2018 “Hale County, This Morning, This Evening,” a documentary set in Alabama’s Black Belt region and composed of intimate moments of people in a community, allowing viewers an emotive impression of the historic South – both its beauty and the consequences of the social construction of race. The film received an Oscar nomination in January for best documentaries. The third film is “The Birth of Afro Beat,” a 2017 look at 77-year-old Nigerian drummer Tony Allen, who was invited to record the album “What Goes Up” with the American band Chicago Afrobeat Project. Allen recounts how he and his late partner, Fela Kuti, created the Afrobeat genre in Lagos, Nigeria. The final movie, “Keteke,” is a Ghanaian drama in which a couple are determined to deliver their first-born child in Akete. But after missing the train, the only reliable means of transportation from the outskirts of their town, they journey miles to their destination, along the way making a wrong decision and finding themselves in the middle of nowhere. Tickets for the film festival are $10 for general admission. Tickets are available online at Brown Paper Tickets at For more information, contact, Bill Foster at (334) 322-8024 or Thad Ulzen at (205) 552-6078.