Pumzi Trailer

I heard nothing about this short film last year. I just discovered this trailer recently and was immediately captivated by its story and design. Written and directed by Wanuri Kahui, an emerging filmmaker from Kenya, Pumzi (the Kiswahili word for “Breath“) was selected for the 2010 Sundance Festival as part of its New African Cinema program.

Kahui’s dystopian vision of the future takes place 35 years after East Africa has been decimated during a world war over water. Forced to shelter in small communities underground, and held in the thralls of a repressive governing council, human beings struggle to exist. But one intrepid scientist—played by actress Kudzani Moswela—goes against the authoritarian regime and ventures up to the surface to plant a seed and search for other signs of life. In this post-apocalyptic world depicted with a nod to sci-fi films of the fifties, and to George Lucas’ 1971 film THX-1138, Kahui has not only achieved a “first” for Kenyan cinema, she has delivered a compelling tale about global climate change as cinematically rich and textured as the African tapestries and landscapes she uses as backdrops for the film. I truly hope she is able to realize her goal of making this project into a full-length feature film.

Pan-African Women’s Action Summit (PAWAS) 2011

PAWAS, organized by PAWPNet, is a bi-annual convening of diverse black diaspora women and their supporters designed to strengthen the Pan-African Philanthropy Movement’s networks, innovation and capacity to address the challenging issues facing our communities worldwide.

The roster of keynote speakers for this year’s summit is stellar.

Pan-African Women’s Action Summit (PAWAS) 2011.

“Mourner’s Bench”

I had the pleasure of seeing William Arnett—the soloist seen in the video below—perform this amazing piece at the National Black Arts Festival in Atlanta back in the early 1990s as part of a tribute by the Dayton Contemporary Dance Company to the work of the great choreographer, Talley Beatty (22 December 1918 – 29 April 1995). After the concert I had the honor and privilege of being introduced to Mr. Beatty by the late Hal Scott. Watching it nearly twenty years later, it’s still hard to believe he created this luminous work in 1947. Talley Beatty briefly appears at the end of the video to take a well-deserved bow.

“Artificial Africa”

Vernon Reid and the Smithsonian’s National Museum of African Art have teamed up to celebrate Black Music Month with a performance of Reid’s multimedia performance project Artificial Afrika at the National Portrait Gallery.

Artificial Afrika, is a multimedia exploration of the West’s mythologized conceptions of African culture. An up-tempo blend of live guitar and electronic sounds complements a multi-screen video exhibit that incorporates digitally manipulated African images.