AfroPop has delighted audiences for ten years. Season six’s stories are just as beautifully and poignantly told, and remind us that not enough has changed for people of African descent globally. Black Public Media is committed to continuing to bring to the American public these stories and others that celebrate the art, culture and creativity people of African descent.
About the host
Acclaimed actor Anthony Mackie adds TV host to his resume as he joins “AfroPoP: The Ultimate Cultural Exchange.” The star, best known for his roles in “8 Mile,” “The Hurt Locker” and “Pain & Gain,” will emcee the sixth season of the documentary program. This season “AfroPoP” cuts to New York City to examine the birthplace of the worldwide pickup basketball phenomenon with Bobbito García and Kevin Couliau’s “Doin’ It in the Park: Pick-Up Basketball, NYC,” co-presented by Latino Public Broadcasting. “AfroPoP” hoofs it across America and India to catch the dynamic collaboration of two dance masters, Indian Kathak guru Pandit Chitresh Das and African-American tap star Jason Samuels Smith, with “Upaj: Improvise” by Hoku Uchiyama, co-presented by the Center for Asian American Media.
The series then journeys to Africa for a special look at Sierra Leone with two films: Rebecca Richman Cohen’s “War Don Don” (“The War Is Over”), an inside view of the U.N. special court trial of senior rebel leader Issa Sesay for his role in the country’s 10-year conflict, and Daan Veldhuizen’s “Stories from Lakka Beach,” which captures the engaging stories of a colorful mix of villagers in the post-conflict nation. “AfroPoP” rounds the bases with “Boys of Summer” by Keith Aumont and a scrappy but determined band of young ballplayers on the Caribbean island of Curaçao who are trying to make it to the Little League World Series for the eighth year in a row.
“As an actor I’ve been blessed to be immersed in various world cultures, so I’m honored to have a role in sharing compelling stories like these with people across America,” said Mackie. “Film is such a powerful tool in bringing understanding and harmony to people of all backgrounds and life experiences.”
Doin' It In the Park
“Doin’ It in the Park: Pick-Up Basketball, NYC,” explores the history, culture and social impact of New York’s summer b-ball scene, widely recognized as the worldwide mecca of the sport, where pickup basketball is not just a sport but a way of life. There are 700+ outdoor courts, and an estimated 500,000 players, the most loyal of which approach the game as a religion, and the playground as their church.
Made possible by a partnership with Latino Public Broadcasting
“Upaj: Improvise” follows two dance masters—Indian Kathak guru Pandit Chitresh Das and African-American tap star Jason Samuels Smith—as they join forces for an extraordinary artistic collaboration, “India Jazz Suites.” Though they are from two different worlds, the two share a special bond, a desire to preserve their dance traditions. Directed by Hoku Uchiyama, the film is co-presented by the Center for Asian American Media.
by Hoku Uchiyama
Made possible by a partnership with Center for Asian American Media (CAAM)
War Don Don
In the heart of Freetown, the capital of Sierra Leone, U.N. soldiers guard a heavily fortified building known as the “special court.” Inside, Issa Sesay awaits his trial. Prosecutors say Sesay is a war criminal, guilty of heinous crimes against humanity. His defenders say he is a reluctant fighter who protected civilians and played a crucial role in bringing peace to Sierra Leone.
Boys of Summer
Winner of the Latin American Film Festival Audience Award for Best Documentary, “Boys of Summer” is a feature documentary film about the Curaçao Little League All-Stars, a team that has competed at the Little League World Series for an incredible seven consecutive years. Over the course of one summer the boys face injuries and obstacles in an attempt to keep the winning streak alive. From a tiny Caribbean island that was once a slave trade center, this is a story of national pride beating all the odds.
Watch the film
For three years, filmmakers Rachèle Magloire and Chantal Regnault followed members of a unique group of outcasts in Haiti: criminal deportees from North America. Since 1996, the United States has implemented a policy of repatriation of all foreign residents who have been convicted of crimes. A new life begins for these deportees in an environment that is both completely unfamiliar and quite hostile. Most have not been on Haitian soil since they left as very young children. Many no longer have family on the island and speak little, if any, Creole. Some struggle with addiction and others are coping with mental illness. Most have very limited financial means with which to manage any sort of reintegration. And Haitians are generally less than welcoming. They know that these North Americans have committed crimes and view them with suspicion. Through a series of individual portraits, DEPORTED gives voice to the former offenders and their families. Viewers are left to ponder the multifaceted impact of repatriation and whether it creates more problems than it solves.
Stories from Lakka Beach
A picturesque village having one of the finest beaches in Africa, Lakka developed into the epicenter of West African tourism. Ravaged by civil war, Lakka Beach’s tourist industry came to a standstill. But village life continues; and, in “Stories from Lakka Beach,” the voice of the villagers—including a fisherman, a carver, a restaurant owner, a local politician and an aspiring rapper—reveal a profound and different side of a war-torn community in a now-peaceful Sierra Leone. “Stories from Lakka Beach” won the Best Cinematography award from American Cinematographer magazine.
A twenty- year- old Haitian woman, Sandrine and her brother thirteen -year- old brother Etienne are being transported from Haiti to the Bahamas in the hold of a dilapidated wooden vessel filled with sever al other immigrants in search of a better life. During the journey, a young woman gets violently ill. A rule of the sea in transportin g persons dictates that when a person gets violently ill; they have to be thrown off the boat to limit spread of disease. Sandrine protests this rule but the woman is thrown overboard nonetheless. Shortly thereafter, Sandrine notices that her brother is exhibiting the same symptoms of the unlucky woman so Sandrine will have to use her smarts and strength to save her brother’s life.
AUNTIE is a middle-aged seamstress and respected caregiver in her rural Barbadian community. 12-year-old KERA is her latest ward and a special child to whom she has grown uncharacteristically close. Seven years after Kera’s mother emigrates to England in search of a better life, Auntie is confronted with the day she long dreaded when the plane ticket arrives that will reunite Kera with her mom.
To learn more about the filmmaker and the issues tackled in “Auntie”, click here to read the blog post on blackpublicmedia.org.
A teacher asks his pupils what they want to do when they grow up. While his classmates answer lightly and with great fun, Tom a quiet 10-year-old boy slips away. When his turn comes to speak, Tom embarks himself upon a striking monologue. With passion, humor and bewildering maturity he describes three possible life choices that will inevitably lead him to dramatic ends. At the end of his monologue Tom gets back to the essence of the question and answers with cleverness and panache.
For more information on issues in the film, and to learn more about the filmmaker, visit this blog post on blackpublicmedia.org.
John Ambrose Kenwyn Rawlins was an ordinary man of modest means. He was a good father, grandfather and husband; an obedient public servant. Yet the most vivid part of his life was lived in was a small workshop beneath his house. In there, at the end of his workday, he made things. From simple push toys to elaborate 1/16th scale waterline battle ship models and dockyards, miniature furniture and dolls houses, he painstakingly constructed everything from scratch, sometimes spending upwards of a year on a single model. Smallman is an exploration of the worlds, both real and imagined, that Kenwyn Rawlins made, as told by his son Richard.
Click here to learn more about the filmmaker and film at the Black Public Media blog