Vanderbilt helps sponsor, organize Paris film festival

Vanderbilt University is the primary organizer of a film festival in Paris that focuses on the experiences and contributions of blacks in French society.

The France Noire/Black France Film Festival will be held May 21-23 at the Forum des Images. T. Denean Sharpley-Whiting and Tricia Danielle Keaton of the African American and Diaspora Studies program at Vanderbilt University are coveners of the festival with Arlette Frund and Maboula Soumahoro of the Université François-Rabelais-Tours .

“We are proud that Vanderbilt is one of the driving forces behind this important effort to document the artistic, cultural, intellectual, political, religious and social contributions of those who identify themselves as Les Noirs de et en France,” said Sharpley-Whiting, Distinguished Professor of French and director of the Program in African American and Diaspora Studies at Vanderbilt.

Funding for the festival is being provided by the Program in African American and Diaspora Studies at Vanderbilt; the Office of the Dean of the College of Arts and Science at Vanderbilt; the United States Embassy in France; the Forum des Images; and Idéale Audience, Thirteen-WNET, ARTE France. The festival will be opened by the United States Ambassador to France, Charles Rivkin.

Films to be screened at the festival include La Sirene des Tropique s a 1927 silent movie starring Josephine Baker; La Noiraude (2004) with introductory remarks by filmmaker Fabienne et Veronique Kanor; and Siméon (1993) with introductory remarks by filmmaker Euzhan Palcy, who is the honoree of the festival.

Palcy, who has worked in France and Hollywood and been mentored by François Truffaut and Robert Redford, has directed films including A Dry White Season, Ruby Bridges and Sugar Cane Alley .

The festival will also be the Paris premiere of Harlem in Montmartre by filmmaker and Duke professor Dante James. James’ film debuted on PBS in August 2009, and went on to win the historical documentary film award this May in Cannes, France. Sharpley-Whiting offers commentary in the film.

The Program in African American and Diaspora Studies at Vanderbilt offers an interdisciplinary, cross-cultural, and comparative study of the lived experiences of blacks dispersed throughout the world from the continent of Africa. It examines the histories, politics, economies, social worlds, literatures, music, and visual cultures of multicultural and diverse African descent people in the Americas, the Caribbean, Europe, and Africa itself.

Media contact: Jim Patterson, (615) 322-NEWS