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Press Release

Jonathan Potts

For immediate release:
January 27, 2003

Carnegie Mellon Film Festival Will Explore the Experiences of Africans throughout the New World

PITTSBURGH—Black History Month should not be confined to the study of the experiences of African-Americans, says Carnegie Mellon University Fifth Year Scholar Andress Appolon, who is organizing the 2003 African Diasporic Film Festival.

During the month of February, Carnegie Mellon will show five films that explore the legacy of slavery and the impact of African culture throughout the Americas, including Brazil, Cuba, Haiti and the United States.

The festival is part of Appolon's work as a Fifth Year Scholar, a program that allows exceptional students to stay at Carnegie Mellon an additional year after graduation to complete a project that will benefit the campus community.

Appolon's project is to create programs that add an international dimension to Carnegie Mellon. She hopes the film festival becomes an annual event.

"We use the film festival as a means to explore black history outside the United States," said Appolon, who graduated in 2002 with a bachelor's degree in international relations and drama.

Each film will be shown at 7 p.m. in the Connan Room of the University Center. A discussion will follow each film. A schedule and description of each film follows:

Feb. 6: "Black Atlantic: On the Orixas Route"
This film examines the lives of slaves who were brought from Africa to Brazil, and tells the story of escaped slaves who returned to Africa.

Feb. 10: "Human Rights in Haiti" and "Profit and Nothing But"
The first film, the 1999 silver medal winner at the Chicago International Film Festival, documents the history of Haiti, the first independent black republic. The film also focuses on the island nation's troubled recent history. "Profit and Nothing But" challenges the assumptions of capitalism in the context of Haiti's economic desolation.

Feb. 20: "If Only You Understood"
This Cuban film is about a director's search for black female dancer and singer to play the lead role in his next film project, a musical comedy. As the film crew scours the streets of Havana looking for an actress, they uncover the conflicts inherent in Cuban society.

Feb. 27: "Black Is...Black Ain't"
The final film by filmmaker Marlon Riggs, this picture delves into the rigid definitions of "blackness" that African-Americans have imposed on one another. The film includes commentary by Cornel West, Angela Davis and Bell Hooks.


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