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News Release
Cascade Festival of African Films returns for its 32nd annual run (Photo) - 01/24/22

PORTLAND, Ore. – The Cascade Festival of African Films (CFAF), marking its 32nd year as the longest-running African film festival in the United States, will return this February. 

Due to the ongoing coronavirus pandemic, CFAF will be a hybrid festival this year, offering both virtual and in-person events. This free, five-week celebration of African cinema will run from Feb. 4 through March 5 and offer a glimpse of “Africa through African lenses.”

It features a curated collection of 30 films by African directors from more than 18 nations. There will be live interviews with filmmakers, community conversations and a virtual marketplace featuring local vendors and more. CFAF is a rare opportunity for Portland viewers to discover the diverse vibrancy of African culture. In its virtual format, CFAF films will become available for viewing on specific dates, and remain available for viewing anytime – from the comfort and safety of festival-goers’ homes – until the following Wednesday, up to a prescribed number of viewings. 

In 2022 – after a year spent in a fully online format – the festival will return with a limited number of in-person events, while also maintaining its connections over distance virtually. This year’s festival will focus on a theme of “Diaspora,” celebrating people of African descent living around the world, including in the United States.

CFAF’s opening-night film, “DiaTribe” (USA, 2020), is a concert documentary featuring the evolutionary lineage between African dance traditions and the dance styles of today's youth. Los Angeles-based filmmaker and poet poet A.J. Wone is joined by Portland-based Master Drummer Obo Addy and MC Mic Crenshaw, who converge to present a history of African music and dance dating back to its traditional roots.

“We felt that a film not only connecting the African continent with the diaspora, but also one that uplifted and celebrated local Portland artists, was exactly what we needed as we come back together as a community,” said CFAF Coordinator Tracy Francis.

Opening night will once again take place at the Hollywood Theatre, 4122 N.E. Sandy Blvd., at 7 p.m., Friday, Feb. 4. The film will also be available virtually on CFAF’s Eventive platform, as well as a livestream of the pre- and post-film festivities and discussion (visit www.africanfilmfestival.org for more information). Director A.J. Wone will join viewers in person for a post-film discussion. 

“The concept and mission of ‘DiaTribe’ is to serve as a groundbreaker, using rhythm and soulful spirit with respect to unveiling an impermeable foundation bridging the continent with North America,” said A.J. Wone in his director’s statement. 

Additional in-person events include the festival’s centerpiece weekend, featuring  “Lingui, the Sacred Bonds” (Chad, 2021), by acclaimed Chadian director Mahamet Saleh Haroun on Friday, Feb. 18 at the Hollywood Theatre; and “Night Of Kings” (Ivory Coast, 2020) on Saturday, Feb. 19, at the Clinton Street Theatre, 2522 S.E. Clinton St. The closing-night film, “Min Alesh?” (Ethiopia, 2021), from up-and-coming director Amleset Muchie, will take place at 7 p.m. Saturday, March 4 at the Clinton Theatre. In-person events will require proof of vaccination or a recent negative PCR COVID-19 test.

In 1991, the first CFAF drew approximately 400 people and today, sustained by a small staff and an army of dedicated volunteers, it has grown to 5,000 attendees.

For more information on viewing films or attending events, visit www.africanfilmfestival.org.

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