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By Chesney Hearst, Senior Contributing Reporter

RIO DE JANEIRO, BRAZIL – Beginning June 30th and running through July 12th, CAIXA Cultural Rio de Janeiro in Centro will present a selection of the best modern films from Africa as part of the “África, Cinema – Um Olhar Contemporâneo” (Africa, Cinema – A Look at Contemporary) film festival. In addition to the screening of seventeen films, there will be a workshop on contemporary African cinema and a debate with the special guest, actor Milton Gonçalves.

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Director Abderrahmane Sissako’s Academy Award-nominated film “Timbuktu” will screen as part of the África, Cinema – Um Olhar Contemporâneo” film festival, still courtesy of CAIXA Cultural Rio de Janeiro.

Featuring films made in Sub-Saharan Africa or the “África Negra” (“Black Africa”) region, a name given to the area located south of the Sahara that is one of the poorest regions in the world, the festival reveals that despite the poverty and a lack of a strong cinematic tradition, filmmakers in and from the area are producing moving and innovative cinema that is culturally and thematically rich.

The festival’s films originate from the countries of Burkina Faso, Congo, Chad, Mali, Mauritania, Mozambique and Senegal and include notable films by directors Mahamat Saleh Haroun from Chad and Abderrahmane Sissako from Mauritania.

Sissako is known for the 2014 film, “Timbuktu” which tells the story of a cattle herder, his family and the way that their once peaceful life in the dunes of Timbuktu was forever changed by the regime of terror brought to the region by Islamic fundamentalists. While it is a fictional narrative, the plot draws from real events and conflicts in the region.

Included in the upcoming festival, “Timbuktu” received a 2015 Academy Award nomination for “Best Foreign Language Film.” Additionally Sissako’s films “Waiting for Happiness” and “Bamako” will screen as part of the festival as well as Charles Castella’s 2011 film “Abderrahmane Sissako: Une Fenetre sur le Monde,” a documentary about Sissako and his work.

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Director Mahamat Saleh Haroun’s 2010 Cannes Film Festival Jury Prize award-winning film “A Screaming Man,” will also screen during the festival, still courtesy of CAIXA Cultural Rio de Janeiro.

Additionally during the festival, films by director Mahamat Saleh Haroun will screen. Although Haroun left his native Chad as a young man in his twenties, he has made a name for himself by bringing to light, through his films, issues that that nation and its neighboring countries face. Haroun’s film “A Screaming Man,” which deals with family life, employment and desperation in Chad, took home the Jury Prize during the 2010 Cannes Film Festival.

“A Screaming Man” is featured in the CAIXA Cultural festival, as well as Haroun’s 2006 films, “Dry Season” and “Kalala.” Additionally Hauron’s 1999 film “Bye Bye Africa”and 2013 film, “GriGris” will be shown.

Other notable films in the festival include Licinio Azevedo’s “Virgin Margarida,” about prostitutes in Mozambiquue who are sent to re-education camp and Moussa Touré’s “The Pirogue,” a drama about a retired boat captain who agrees to take a group of African men across the Atlantic Ocean to Spain on a fishing boat.

Also as part of the festival, on July 4th at 6PM, there will be a free debate about African cinema with guests, actor Milton Gonçalves, festival curator João Juarez Guimarães and film critic Leonardo Luiz Ferreira.

See here, for more information and the complete programming schedule.

What: África, Cinema – Um Olhar Contemporâneo
When: June 30th to July 12th, screening times vary,
Where: CAIXA Cultural Rio de Janeiro – 1st Theater, Av Almirante Barroso, 25, Centro
Entrance: R$2 – R$4

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