Sunday March 20th 3.45pm  52 High Road, 2 mins from East Finchley tube, Northern Line

The Black female Tennis hero who inspired the Williams sisters with her amazing two time win of Wimbledon in racist 1950's Britain.
Althea Gibson's life and achievements transcend sports. A truant from the rough streets of Harlem, Althea emerged as a most unlikely queen of the highly segregated tennis world in the 1950s. Her roots as a sharecropper's daughter, her family's migration north to Harlem in the 1930s, mentoring from Sugar Ray Robinson, David Dinkins and others, and fame that thrust her unwillingly into the glare of the early Civil Rights movement, all bring her story into a much broader realm of the American story.

No player, not even the great Arthur Ashe (who came a decade after Althea), overcame more obstacles to become a champion than Althea Gibson; the first African-American to play at (and win) Wimbledon and the US Open was a woman. She was celebrated by ticker-tape parades in New York City, twice, to welcome her home after hard-fought victories. There was no professional tennis circuit for women in her era, so her options were limited. As Althea said, "You can't eat a crown." When she the #1 player in the world, she still could not afford her own apartment, and became constantly indebted to her benefactors.

This event is an extension of the BFI African Odysseys programme in association with the Phoenix Cinema: Inspirational films by and about the people of Africa, from archive classics to new cinema. Explore the African roots of World Cinema through our monthly programme of Sunday screenings.
Supported by Black History Walks



Sat 12 March 2 to 5pm

BFI Southbank, Belvedere Road SE1
Tube: Waterloo  

Part of African Odysseys at the BFI

The first-ever film shot entirely in Vanuatu tells a story of forbidden love, rites of passage,global warming, respect for elders and African sprituality.

The eternal story of young lovers breaking all the rules and risking everything to be together is beautifully told in “Tanna,” Based on dramatic events that took place on the volcanic island of Tanna in 1987, the film weaves fascinating details of African life into a universally accessible and emotionally affecting romantic drama. Very well performed by non-professionals drawn from communities whose history is represented on screen, following its Venice world premiere, and has a shot at niche theatrical play in selected markets. The film’s most visually striking sequence finds Wawa and Dain standing at the mouth of an active volcano. According to beliefs on Tanna the volcano is home to Yahul, a Spirit Mother whose aura teaches wisdom, respect and knowledge.
Very much about female experiences and rites of passage in a society whose foundations are shifting, the film surrounds Wawa’s daring actions with enriching observations by her mother and grandmother

Part of the film’s success can be attributed to events that took place long before cameras rolled. The producers spent seven months living with the Yakel, a people whose customs and lifestyle have changed little for centuries. During this time the filmmakers were told of a great love story from the recent past.
Plus Q and A

Watch trailer here

Hair Skin and Beauty Workshop Museum in Docklands Feb 2009

Sunday 28 February 2 to 5pm. Phoenix Cinema, 

Tube: East Finchley (2 mins walk)

Website and booking HERE

Admission £8.50 best to book early. Part of African Odysseys

This film is about tracing the through lines running from the African communities' spiritual drumming practices, the dancers and musicians who've preserved those traditions, through to the younger generation who've plucked out and re-contextualised the elements most exciting to them.

The history of rumba, inextricably tied up with the slave trade, uniquely intertwines West African and Iberian musical styles. With roots in the Congo, Nigeria, Benin and Cameroon, different African religious institutions such as Ifa, Ekpe and Nkisi were remade in Cuba as Lukumi (Santeria), Palo, Abakua and Arara. As such, the religious and social realities instituted by the African diaspora have a distinct, if complex, connection to the rhythms foundational to contemporary club music.

The three main styles of rumba are guaganco, yambu and columbia. As well as forming an important part of the documentary, unpacking these differing styles has become an important part of the wider Havana Cultura project's exploration of rumba. Giles Peterson worked with the esteemed rumberos to record versions of the three styles now set to be reworked by a number of producers working in electronic music in the UK and beyond. Where the film depicts the lineage descending from the working class communities of Havana and Matanzas to modern-day dancefloors, this other arm of the project allows for an exciting, global re-interpretation of rumba's roots. An album with these original tracks will be released next year.

“Rumba is in every set that I play as a DJ. Being invited to take part in rumba culture, with some of its most influential players, couldn't have made more clear what a vital force it still is in modern Cuba. From the homemade claves you find in most houses to the quinto drums driving Havana's clubs, rumba influence is everywhere." Giles Peterson DJ

This is an amazing film full of links between African spiritually and dope club beats in everyday music. A must see

'La Clave’ clearly connects the dances to the music and shows the dance moves are not random individual interpretations of what the the drummers are playing. It is a physical conversation between men and women. It is an art passed down through generations and kept alive within the community. It exists in the conservatoire and thrives and evolves on the street. Maybe it’s because the implicit language of rumba as a dance which continues to thrive in Havana’s working class neighbourhoods is not understood outside Cuba that rumba remains too complex for a global generation of clubbers schooled on 4 to the floor or ballroom people devoted to “StrictlyCome Dancing…” Ancient to Future

Les Avenir des Ailleurs panel BFI Southbank July 2009

Sat 27 February 2 to 5pm plus Q and A

BFI Southbank, Belvedere Road SE1
Tube: Waterloo more info and Book HERE

Admission £6.50 best to book early

Part of Black History Walks African Science Fiction & Fantasy season. Come and see why this inventive sci-fi docudrama was showered with awards and critical acclaim.

Part of African Odysseys at BFI Southbank

Adirley Queirós' high-concept, lo-fi futurist docudrama explores the trauma of victims of racist violence in Brazil
Set in Ceilândia, a city established by the Brazilian government to prevent the poor from settling in the capital of Brasilia, this biting critique of race mixes science fiction with testimonials from two men physically disabled by police violence in 1986. A “researcher” from the future comes to collect evidence against the state, and the pair give testimonials of their lived experience; meanwhile, an act of terrorism against this “apartheid” is being plotted… Queiros’s take on Afrofuturism is subtle, ingenious, and utterly contemporary.

Adirley Queirós' film is best described as shantytown sci-fi. Transforming a "suburb" of Brasilia into a ghostly no man's land, tl migrants from moving into the Brazilian capital. What was once dressed up as an urban planning strategy has slowly revealed itself to be a move aimed at limiting the freedom of movement of the mostly non-white have-nots, and it's perhaps hardly co-incidental how state-backed violence have literally reduced the mobility of the film's two protagonists. Both victims of brutal assaults by the police in the mid-1980s, musician Marquim (Marquim do Tropa) is now wheelchair-bound while ex-dancer Sartana (Claudio "Shokito" Irinaeus) walks with the help of prosthetics. The pair are tailed by Dimas (Dilmar Duraes), an agent arriving - via a time machine in the shape of a cargo container! - from 2073 to derail the "Big Boom" which will change the country's future forever.
Just as Interstellar conquers the galaxy with its Imax-catering budget, Queiros and his producer-designer Denise Vieira have countered that by producing a well-crafted vehicle about the future with canny twists of the present. Their efforts in conjuring the future through ingenious representation of the ordinary and mundane - Ceilandia's empty roads crissed-crossed by an overhead railway; Do Tropa's self-built home to facilitate his handicap; Sartana working with mountains of plastic limbs - could be seen as a 21st century Brazilian take on Afrofuturism, with Queirós' subjects (or collaborators) the logical heirs to Sun Ra, Afrika Bambataa or the Black Audio Film Collective. White Out, Black In is an understated wonder, its voice - the director's and the characters' - deserving to be heard