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Film festival at Missouri History Museum reflects past, present and future of the African diaspora

The Africa World Documentary Film Festival runs Feb. 9-11 at the Missouri History Museum.
Africa World Documentary Film Festival


The 11th annual Africa World Documentary Film Festival, which runs this weekend in St. Louis, will highlight the experience of African people around the world.

This year, the festival at the Missouri History Museum includes documentaries that focus on Burkina Faso, Nigeria, South Africa and the United States.

Festival director Niyi Coker said the documentaries will give viewers in St. Louis a chance to witness breathtaking stories from Africa and its diaspora.

The film festival plays a vital role because many people aren’t aware of the issues confronting African people, Coker said.

The festival also provides a platform for documentaries that otherwise would not get the recognition or viewership they deserve, he said.

Coker recommends “Frozen in my Clothes,” which tells the story of Chicago DJ Herb “The Cool Gent” Kent, who used his radio platform to help underrepresented communities while pushing the black community forward.

Other films on Coker’s priority list include “Afia Attacks” and “The Honest Struggle.”

“Afia Attacks” explores the lives of women who endured adversities during the Nigeria-Biafra Civil War, half a century ago. This film illustrates the universal story of women who bear the brunt of civil war.

“The Honest Struggle” follows Sadiq, a devout Muslim ex-offender on the south side of Chicago as he re-enters society after about 30 years in prison. At 55, he is fighting the temptations that led to his arrest in the past.

Both films deal with overcoming betrayal, lost hope and fighting through hardships through resilience and bravery.

This year Ghana, Thailand, Philadelphia and St. Louis will be among the locations sharing stories of Africa and the African diaspora. The featured films can be seen in about a dozen venues worldwide. The festival receives about 300 submissions every year.

All viewings are free to the public.

If You Go

Follow Ashley on Twitter: @areneewinters