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African Films at Sundance 2013

First in a series of previews and reviews of African-directed and African-themed films at the 2013 Sundance Film Festival.


By our count, there are 9 African films showing in Park City, Utah this year — as in films by African directors or dealing with African themes. That's a big crop for the Sundance Film Festival (see Africa's A Country on previous years' slim pickings). There's only one narrative feature by an African director in the competition, but it looks like all three of the documentaries depart from the 'Westerner-makes-film-about-Africans-and-draws-on-stale-and-tired-tropes' model. The shorts category boasts promising newcomers: Frances Bodomo's Boneshaker is the story of a Ghanaian-American family looking for traces of home in Louisiana, while Fyzal Boulifa's The Curse deftly sidesteps the Orientalist imagery associated with the Maghreb. Click through for our reviews of the 5 shorts, and check out our previews in the following pages.

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Interview
Photo courtesy of the artist.

Interview: Bumi Thomas Was Given 14 Days to Leave the UK

We speak with the British-based singer-songwriter about her fight against a "hostile environment policy" and the release of her latest EP, Broken Silence.

There's a lot of vulnerability and soul packed into Bumi Thomas' latest EP. Given the surrounding context of a legal battle, Broken Silence was released, in Bumi's words, "at a time when microcosms of institutionalised racism have garnered so much momentum highlighting the domino effect of systems of oppression that have led to this powerful, global resurgence of the Black lives matter movement."

The inspiration behind this EP came at a time when Bumi faced a legal battle to stay in the UK, after receiving a letter from the UK Home Office to leave the country within 14 days. Understandably causing huge stress, this case turned from an isolated incident to national news, with 25,000 people signing her petition and raising money via crowdfunding for legal fees.

We spoke with the British-based singer about all of this below.

This interview has been edited and condensed for clarity.

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