KALAMAZOO—Seven rarely seen, feature-length films from French-speaking countries across the world and visits by two award-winning filmmakers who will introduce their creations are on tap this month during the 12th annual Francophone Film Festival of Kalamazoo at Western Michigan University.
The festival runs Wednesday through Sunday, March 20-24, in the Little Theatre, where Yves Sioui Durand of Quebec will present his film, "Mesnak," and Kollo Daniel Sanou of Burkina Faso will present his creation, "The Weight of the Oath." In addition, five more critically acclaimed feature-length films will be presented, along with five short films.
All films are subtitled in English. Dr. Vincent Desroches, associate professor of world languages and literatures and the festival's director, urges people in the community to discover something different and learn more about French-speaking countries.
"Our selection of films this year is outstanding," Desroches says. "We will show films that will be having their U.S. and Midwest premieres and have great pertinence to our times. Two award-winning filmmakers are coming to Kalamazoo to meet the public and answer questions about their work and their experience. This is a tremendous opportunity for all to appreciate first-hand the creative process involved in creating these images, these emotions, these amazing displays of foreign cultures."
In addition to "Mesnak" and "The Weight of the Oath," feature films include "The Rif Lover" from Morocco, "The Valley of Tears" from Lebanon and Quebec, "Laurence Anyways" from Quebec, "Toussaint Louverture" from Haiti and "Grey Matter" from Rwanda and Australia. The local screenings will mark the U.S. premiere of "The Valley of Tears" and the Midwest premieres for "Mesnak" and "Laurence Anyways."
"Our goal is to offer something you can learn from about Francophone culture or social aspects or history in one of the French-speaking countries," says Marjorie Zippert, a WMU French instructor, who has helped put this year's festival together.
Yves Sioui Durand
In addition to being an acclaimed film director, Durand is a writer, director, actor and producer for stage, television and radio. He is the founder of the only French-language native theatre company in Quebec, and his work has been widely performed in Canada, Mexico and Europe. "Mesnak," the first French-language film about Native Americans, tells the story of an urban aboriginal man in his early 20s and his efforts to reconnect with his family of origin and his native culture. Durand will present his film at 4 and 6 p.m. Friday, March 22.
Kollo Daniel Sanou
Sanou is the writer and director of several feature films, short films and television series. "The Weight of the Oath" tells the story of love and betrayal among members of the Dozo hunters' fraternity. In addition to "The Weight of Oath," Sanou's credits include several documentaries, including "After Emergency," focusing on the consequences of the Ivory Coast conflict on education in Burkina Faso, and "Right of Memory," which explores the recognition of rights and merits to the Senegalese Tirailleurs. Sanou will present his film at 6 p.m. Saturday, March 23, and 4 p.m. Sunday, March 24.
For more information, including screening times and admission prices, visit wmich.edu/fffkazoo.