The Afrofuturism Film Series at the Detroit Film Theatre concludes Thursday with a collection of short films. The series is in conjunction with the Detroit Institute of Arts’ latest exhibition “30 Americans”, which ends January 18.
First up is “Drexciya”. Written and directed by Akosua Adoma Owusu, it is a portrait of an abandoned public swimming facility located in Accra, Ghana. The Riviera was once known as Ghana`s first pleasure beach. A one-time extravagant Ambassador Hotel of postcolonial – early Kwame Nkrumah era, the Riviera Beach Club thrived until the mid-1970`s. The Olympic-sized pool, now in a dilapidated state, is used for locals for things other than swimming…
The stunning animated film “The End of Eating Everything” follows. The short was directed by Kenyan artist Wangechi Mutu, and features singer/songwriter Santigold. Using animation, Mutu discusses overconsumption through a flying, planet-like creature navigating a bleak skyscape. The video was commissioned by the Nasher Museum of Art at Duke University as part of the exhibit Wangechi Mutu: A Fantastic Journey.
Next is Bree Newsome’s “Wake”. Newsome made headlines in June of last year for attempting to take down the Confederate battle flag that was displayed on the grounds of the South Carolina State House. She was arrested and charged with defacing a monument on capital grounds. Over $60,000 was raised via crowdfunding sites to cover her bail.
In her film, a repressed woman murders her domineering father, freeing herself to pursue her heart’s desire. Using a local folk magic called “root work”, she conjures a demon to aid her in creating the man of her dreams– but soon finds herself in a waking nightmare.
Then there is Monique Walton’s “The Becoming Box” .This sci-fi short follows a family of three siblings dealing with the appearance of a mysterious box in their backyard in the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina. One sister’s pursuit of the truth about the box will facilitate a paradigm shift that will change their world forever. Inspired by Octavia Butler, “The Becoming Box” deals with recovery, rebirth, and reinvention.
Nijla Mu’min’s “Deluge” layers personal, historical, and environmental trauma into an intimate portrait of female teenage awakening and realizations about mortality and fate. Through the merging of subtle moments and emotion, we find each character on edge in some way; on the edge of teen sexual discovery, on the edge of life, and on the edge of a dual existence between two worlds. After witnessing the mass drowning of her friends and struggling with the decision not to jump in, 15-year old Tiana must decide if she will join the order of black mermaids that protect the waters where her friends rest. This film is partly inspired by the 2010 mass drowning of six black teens in a Shreveport, Louisiana sinkhole. None of them could swim. The film blends coming of age drama and fantasy to explore traumatic memory in a post- BP oil spill New Orleans.
Alexis Peskine’s “Aljana Moons” was filmed in Senegal. In this short, Peskine explores Black masculinity, fatherhood and the magic of becoming a man. Peskine will be in attendance to discuss the film with series curator Ingrid LaFleur following the shorts.
Finally, we have Kahlil Joseph’s “Until the Quiet Comes”, which includes a soundtrack by experimental electronic artist Flying Lotus. The short takes place in an empty Nickerson Gardens swimming pool in Los Angeles during a daytime tragedy that creates a transformative experience.
Show time is Thursday, January 7 at 7 P.M. Advanced tickets may be purchased here.