Africa World Documentary Film Festival highlights state and global issues

9 February 2018


Shining a light on the life and culture of the people of Africa worldwide has been the mission of the Africa World Documentary Film Festival since its beginnings 11 years ago.

Festival founder Niyi Coker Jr. is a filmmaker and E. Desmond Lee Professor in the Department of Theatre, Dance and Media Studies at University of Missouri-St. Louis (UMSL). As a filmmaker himself, his documentary, “Black Studies USA,” won Best Short Documentary at the 2005 Berlin Black Film Festival in Germany; the 2007 Silver Remi Award at Worldfest in Houston; and, was the official selection at the 2007 Hollywood Black Film Festival. It was while attending the festival in Hollywood when he realized that the documentaries weren’t shown at “prime time,” thus were not getting the views that they should.

“I thought the best way to solve that problem was to create a festival that was made up completely of documentaries,” Coker said. “The endowed professorship allowed me to do this, especially since as a university, we are focused on research, so factual documentaries fit perfectly.”

The Africa World Documentary Film Festival was born, and this year will be held from Friday through Sunday at the Missouri History Museum, with stories from around the world: two from China; one from Australia; one that tells the struggles of Africans in India; and, others focusing on challenges in New Guinea, class struggles in Nigeria, children trying to go to school in South Africa and wars in Mozambique. Read the full article on The Telegraph here.