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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

Angelique Kidjo Writes a Love Letter to 'Mother Nature'

We talk to the Beninese musical icon about assembling her new album on Zoom and the "bigger than COVID-19" threat that lies ahead!

The kind of infectious energy that lives within Angelique Kidjo can't be contained by Zoom. Her zest for life reaches out far beyond any screen, and burns stronger than the fastest internet connection.

"I can't wait until we're in person hugging again," she enthuses soon after joining our Zoom meeting to discuss her latest album Mother Nature. Having been on the receiving end of a hug from the four-time Grammy-winning singer, I know exactly what I'm missing out on. "Me too," I say, as I wrap my arms around my laptop, my face squishing the screen. "No, no," she retorts. "I don't want that. You keep it. I want the real deal," she chuckles, her full-bodied trademark laughter lovingly admonishing me.

The Benin-born musician is preparing to release Mother Nature, a collection of songs reflecting our one Earth, and cementing her status as an African musical icon. Collaborating with the likes of Yemi Alade, Mr Eazi, Burna Boy, Sampa the Great, Shungudzo and more, Kidjo's crossing through time and space, over age and country through Mother Nature's themes and stories. Each track is infused with a vigor that only she possesses — the kind that shares a significant message even as the listener is called to just dance or sing along.

Below, Angelique Kidjo reminisces about making the album, and chats us through her hopes and dreams for it!

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