Pamplin Media Group – 32 years old and counting for Cascade Festival of African Films

The festival opens with the musical documentary “DiaTribe”, featuring Portland’s Obo Addy and MC Mic Crenshaw.

It’s the longest-running African film festival in the United States, and it’s Portland’s pride.

Presenting “Africa through African Lenses”, the Cascade Festival of African Films marks its 32nd annual festival with 30 films by African directors from nearly 20 countries.

It opens Feb. 4 with “DiaTribe” at the Hollywood Theater and continues through March 5 with screenings at Hollywood and Clinton Street theaters as well as online; last year it was held exclusively online. Previously, the event was held at Portland Community College-Cascade Campus.

Online films will be available on specific dates and can be viewed until the Wednesday following their release.

This year’s theme is Diaspora, celebrating people of African descent living around the world, including the United States.

There will be live interviews with filmmakers, community conversations and a virtual market associated with the festival.

“DiaTribe” (USA, 2020) is a concert documentary showcasing the evolving lineage between African dance traditions and the dance styles of today’s youth. Los Angeles-based filmmaker and poet AJ Wone joins late master drummer Obo Addy and Portland-based MC Mic Crenshaw to collaborate on a history of African music and dance going back to its traditional roots.

It takes place at 7 p.m. on Friday, February 4 at the Hollywood Theater, 4122 NE Sandy Blvd. Wone joins viewers in person for a post-movie chat.

“We felt that a film that not only connected the African continent to the diaspora, but also a film that uplifted and celebrated local artists in Portland, was exactly what we needed as we came together as a community,” said Tracy Francis, festival coordinator.

Said Wone: “The concept and mission of ‘DiaTribe’ is to serve as a pioneer, using rhythm and soul spirit in unveiling an impermeable foundation connecting the continent to North America.”

Other in-person events include the festival’s centerpiece weekend, with “Lingui, the Sacred Bonds” (Chad, 2021), by acclaimed Chadian director Mahamet Saleh Haroun, on Friday, February 18, at the Hollywood Theatre, as well as “Night of Kings” (Côte d’Ivoire, 2020) on Saturday, February 19 at the Clinton Street Theatre, 2522 SE Clinton St.

The closing film, “Min Alesh?” (Ethiopia, 2021), by up-and-coming director Amleset Muchie, will take place on Saturday, March 5 at the Clinton Theatre.

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