UA Colleges Co-Sponsor Festival Spotlighting African Films

UA Colleges Co-Sponsor Festival Spotlighting African Films

Emmy Award-winning filmmaker Tyrik Washington will host a workshop on the UA campus as part of the Tuscaloosa Africana Film Festival.

TUSCALOOSA, Ala. — The sixth annual Tuscaloosa Africana Film Festival, co-sponsored by two University of Alabama colleges, will be held Saturday, Feb. 3, at the Bama Theatre in downtown Tuscaloosa.

The event will be part of the Tuscaloosa Heritage Festival, a weekend of cultural activities hosted by the West Alabama Multicultural Alliance.

The film festival is presented by the Edward A. Ulzen Memorial Foundation and Afram South Inc., two nonprofit organizations that support education and public health initiatives in West Alabama and Ghana, West Africa. It is co-sponsored by UA’s College of Community Health Sciences and College of Arts and Sciences.

The film festival program begins at 3 p.m. with a youth program of dance and a showing of the children’s film, “Liyana,” in which a Swazi girl embarks on a dangerous quest to rescue her younger twin brothers. The 2016 movie is directed by Amanda and Aaron Kopp, with animation by Sofela Coker.

Regular programming for the Tuscaloosa Africana Film Festival runs from 6:30 p.m. to 10:30 p.m. and includes three short films and a feature-length film, and it includes local content.

The first short film features the winner of the Tuscaloosa Career and Technology Academy’s Film and Digital Media Program’s film competition, which will be named prior to the festival. The second short film is “Moving Forward,” by Tuscaloosa filmmaker Santo Moss. The third short film is “90 Days,” which explores a couple’s relationship and their life-altering decision after 90 days of dating. The film is written by Nathan Hale Williams and directed by Williams and Jennia Fredrique Aponte.

The feature-length film is “The African Who Wanted to Fly,” a 2016 production by Samantha Biffot that tells the story of a young boy in Gabon, Central Africa, who, after seeing his first kung fu movie, believes the Chinese can fly and becomes obsessed to fly like them. He soon enters the Shaolin temple in China, the first African to do so, masters kung fu, and later acts in kung fu movies as an adult.

Biffot’s Gabon-based production company develops television series, documentaries and movies, and her professional accolades include the prize for Best African Series at FESPACO in 2013.

Also as part of the Tuscaloosa Africana Film Festival, Emmy Award-winning filmmaker Tyrik Washington, of Brooklyn, New York, will lead a discussion on Thursday, Feb. 1, on the role of film and its influence on activism and social change. The workshop, titled “Arts in Activism,” and co-sponsored by UA’s College of Arts and Sciences and the UA African Students Association, will be held at Russell Hall, room 159, on the UA campus. Washington will also present a short version of the film “Under the Heavens.”

Tickets for the film festival are $15 for general admission, $10 for senior citizens, and $8 for students. Tickets are available online at Brown Paper Tickets at or at the Bama Theatre box office on the day of the event.

For more information, contact, Bill Foster at 334-322-0824, or Thad Ulzen at 205-552-6078.


Bryant Welbourne, UA Strategic Communications,, 205-348-8325


Leslie Zganjar,, 205-348-3079