Africana Film Series

About the Series

Launched in 2005 by ACPHS Associate Professor of Africana Studies Kevin Hickey, the annual Africana Film Series has developed into a signature event on the College calendar.

Held each February in conjunction with Black History Month, the Series features three films shown on successive Tuesdays that are built around a theme selected by Dr. Hickey. A discussion follows each screening exploring the various elements of that evening's film and how it fits into that year's theme.

Each showing includes food, drink, a write-up on each film, and post-film discussion. The entire series is free and open to the public.

Scroll below to view the themes and films from the Series' history.

The Sixteenth Annual Africana Film Series at

Albany College of Pharmacy and Health Sciences

"Africans in the Caribbean"

As an Africana (and not African) film series, we are once again stepping out from Africa to (this year) look at the presence of Africans in the Caribbean. In much of the world’s imaginary, Africa is politically, economically, and culturally on the margins of “the world.” Africa, however, is at least large. The Caribbean, however, is not only thought of by most people as politically, economically, and culturally on the margins of “the world,” it is also small and fragmented.

Despite how most of the world thinks about the Caribbean, it is a rich and vibrant collection of diverse cultures, geographies, and complex histories. In this, the 16th year of our annual film series, we will look at “Africa” in three locations: Columbia, Cuba, and Curacao.


La Playa DC (Columbia)

Tuesday February 4, 2020,   7:00pm,   Student Center Rm# 201

Colombia’s 2014 Oscar entry, La Playa D.C. takes place in Colombia’s capital city of Bogotá where we follow three brothers caught between the push and pull of the civil war in the western part of Colombia and the dominating culture and economy of the USA referred to as el Norte. The film focuses on the middle brother (thirteen-year-old Tomas) and his coming of age as an apprentice barber specializing in the intricate cuts popular in a hip-hop-influenced poor section of the capital city.

After La Playa DC, there will be a showing of "Four Years--Crossing Africa by Bike" (photo slideshow with music) followed by a short period for questions

Maluala (Cuba)

Tuesday February 11, 2020,   7:00pm,   Student Center Rm# 201

Our second film for 2020 is from the man referred to as “the father of Afro-Cuban cinema” Sergio Giral from whom we will watch the final film (Maluala) from his famous “slave trilogy.” This iconic film clearly flavored by the politics and cinematics of the 1970s brings a “black power” perspective to the late 18th and early 19th century struggles of communities of runaway slaves (cimarrones in Spanish; maroons in English) living in the mountains of eastern Cuba where they are struggling for freedom against the Spanish government and the Catholic Church.

Ava and Gabriel (Curacao)

Tuesday February 18, 2020,   7:00pm,   Student Center Rm# 201

Our final Afro-Caribbean film is from Curacao and looks at prejudice and identity.

The parish priest of St. Anna’s on Curaçao (ruled by Holland) requests a painter to create a mural of the Virgin Mary. The church in Holland sends the parish an Afro-Caribbean named Gabriel Goedbloed from Surinam (also ruled by Holland) but who has been Dutch-educated and who chooses a “mixed race” teacher on the island (Ava) as his model for the Virgin. The model is engaged to the white police major who does not like the idea of his fiancé posing for another man. The Dutch Governor’s wife becomes interested in the painter. For the conservative people on Curaçao, none of this should be happening.


THEME: Africans in the Caribbean


THEME: Africans in Europe — Our Human Migrations 

  • Corps Étranger (Foreign Body)
  • Az állampolgár (The Citizen)
  • 100% Arabica

THEME: North Africa and Music — Bridges Not Walls

  • I Love Hip Hop in Morocco
  • Daresalam
  • Transes (Trances)

THEME: Senegal

  • Borom Sarret (The Wagoner) and Petite Vendeuse de Soleil (The Little Girl Who Sold the Sun)
  • Sembène!
  • La Noire de...   (Black Girl)

THEME: Love in Africa

  • Sabriya and The Gaze of the Stars 
  • Surrender, A Barber's Wisdom, and The Father (three films)
  • Woubi Chéri 

THEME: Global Exchanges

  • Dôlè (The Money)
  • Mother of George
  • Fintar O Destino (Dribbling Fate)

THEME: Three Favorite Films of the Series' First Decade

  • La Petite Vendeuse de Soleil (The Little Girl Who Sold the Sun)
  • Forgiveness
  • Faat Kine

THEME: On the Margins

  • La Petite Vendeuse de Soleil (The Little Girl Who Sold the Sun)
  • Pièces d’Identités (Pieces of Identity)
  • Tableau Ferraille (Scrap Heap)

THEME: Traditions

  • Umgidi (Shadow Dancing)
  • Si-Gueriki (“The Queen Mother”)
  • Long Night’s Journey into Day: South Africa’s Search for Truth & Reconciliation

THEME: Gender

  • Umgidi (Shadow Dancing)
  • Taafe Fanga (Skirt Power)
  • A Walk in the Night

THEME: The State

  • Thomas Sankara: An Upright Man
  • Ezra
  • Forgiveness

THEME: Hopes

  • And So Angels Die (Ainsi Meurent Les Anges)
  • Shake Hands with the Devil
  • Mahaleo

THEME: Heroes

  • Le Silence de la Forêt (The Forest)
  • State of Denial
  • O Heröi (The Hero) [This film was the grand prize winner of the World Dramatic Competition at the 2005 Sundance Film Festival.]

THEME: Colonial Inheritances

  • Le Malentendu Colonial (Colonial Misunderstanding)
  • Everyone’s Child
  • Zulu Love Letter

THEME: Rising Up 

  • Allah Tantou (God’s Will Be Done)
  • Ndeysaan (Oh Life!)
  • Karmen Geï

THEME: Wellness and Intentions

  • Le Grand Blanc de Lambaréné (The Great White Man of Lambaréné)
  • Faat Kine
  • La Vie Est Belle (Life Is Rosy)