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Longest-running African film festival in U.S. celebrates 25th year
Photos and Story by James Hill
Portland Community College’s 25th Cascade Festival of African Films is set to bring 34 films and 10 visiting film directors to Portland in February.
The longest-running annual African film festival in the United States is set to entertain from Friday, Feb. 6 through Sunday, March 8 (click for schedule). The festival, which is free and open to the public, shows films ranging from full-length features to documentaries and short films. This year, the festival will open with visiting director Biyi Bandele’s “Half of a Yellow Sun” (Nigeria) on Feb. 6. During the second weekend of the festival, there will be a tribute to the rise of “Nollywood,” the fast emerging film industry of Nigeria, with screenings of contemporary and early Nollywood films and a symposium.
More than 5,000 people attend the festival annually. Each evening screening is followed by a discussion led by individuals with expert knowledge of the region shown in the film. The festival celebrates and highlights Black History Month (February) and Women’s History Month (March). All films will be shown in the Moriarty Arts and Humanities Building Auditorium at PCC’s Cascade Campus (705 N. Killingsworth St.) with the opening night and the centerpiece film screenings to be held at the Hollywood Theatre (4122 NE Sandy Blvd.) on Friday, Feb. 6 and Friday, Feb. 20, respectively. Feature films are on Friday and Saturday evenings (most features are also screened on Thursday afternoons) and documentaries are shown on Thursday evenings.
The Cascade Festival of African Films offers something for everyone. This year, organizers will showcase a Retrospective Series of the festival’s top-10 films through its 25-year history on each Sunday of the film festival. In addition, there will be a Student Fest for high school and college-age students, and Family Fest featuring films for children. Women Filmmakers Week will welcome four female directors to PCC for panel discussions about their films.