Africa on Screen—The Center for Contemporary Art in Santa Fe kicks off its Fourth Annual African Effect Film Festival this Thursday, March 24. This must-not-miss festival showcases vibrant, emerging cinema from Africa and the African Diaspora and continues through Sunday. Samba Gidjigo, the official biographer of Ousame Sembene (director of Moolaade and universally recognized father of African cinema), will present a special program “Sembene and Africa.” Sembene's 1965 drama Black Girl will also be screened as part of the program. Other festival highlights include the winner of the Nigerian Film Festival, Agogo Eewa (a funny and scathing example of African political cinema), and Cosmic Africa (a scientific and spiritual meditation on the cosmos itself). Short films, features and documentaries will all be spotlighted in the four-day festival. African Effect is rapidly becoming one of New Mexico's best film festivals, and tickets will go fast. Individual tickets are $8. Passes are available. Log on to www.cca.org for complete schedule/film descriptions/ticket info.
In the Realms of the Unreal
The Riddle of Henry Darger
During most of his long but troubled life, no one paid much attention to Henry Darger. With no family and few acquaintances, he lived alone in a one-bedroom apartment in Chicago, earning meager wages as a janitor at neighborhood hospitals. He attended mass and received communion every day. He claimed to be too poor to own a dog.
Austin Goes Film Crazy
The 2005 SXSW Film Festival and Conference
Once upon a time, the South by Southwest (SXSW) Film Festival and Conference in Austin, Texas, was the scrappy, little-known brother to the hipper and more prominent SXSW Music Festival. Unlike Sundance and Toronto, the festival provided a perfect neutral ground for filmmakers and film fans to mingle. Screenings weren't crowded with studio executives looking to score the next great indie hit and filmmakers weren't under pressure to chat up only worthy distributors. While some of this still holds true, 2005 will certainly go down in history as the year that SXSW lost its status as a “little” film festival.
Main Street Makeover
“Town Haul” on TLC
I'm not sure at what point TLC's “Trading Spaces” turned into the “Saturday Night Live” of cable television, but it has suddenly become the launching point for all kinds of spin-off talent. First carpenter Ty Pennington split off to network success on “Extreme Makeover: Home Edition.” Then designer Douglas Wilson tried his hand at the series “Moving Up.” Now, fellow “Trading Spaces” alum Genevieve Gorder is trading on her rickrack-and-throwpillow success as host of the new series “Town Haul.”
The Week in Sloth
“The Office” (KOB-4 8:30 p.m.) Here, we've got Steve Carell (“The Daily Show”) taking over for Ricky Gervais in a stateside adaptation of the cult BBC comedy. The last remake of a British sitcom NBC tried out in this timeslot was “Coupling”--and we all know how spectacular that was.
“36th Annual NAACP Image Awards” (KASA-2 7 p.m.) On the down side, Li'l Kim will not be attending. On the up side, Oprah Winfrey gets inducted into the Hall of Fame.