Sankofa [In-Person Only]
$0–25 Sliding scale general admission; pay what you can!
⚠️ Public safety notice ⚠️
NWFF patrons will be required to double-mask while in the building. Disposable masks are available at the door for those who need them. To be admitted, patrons ages 5+ will also be required to present EITHER proof of COVID-19 vaccination OR a negative result from a COVID-19 test administered within the last 48 hours by an official testing facility. Boosters are strongly recommended, though not required for entry.
NWFF is adapting to evolving recommendations to protect the public from COVID-19. Read more about their policies regarding cleaning, masks, and capacity limitations here.
This special presentation by Ava DuVernay’s ARRAY collective includes a community discussion about the central theme of the film: developing a relationship with the past that grants a fuller understanding of the throughlines of one’s history and heritage across time. Read more below!
** Presented in collaboration with ARRAY as part of 28 Days of Sankofa, in partnership with Sankofa Film Society **
Sankofa follows Mona (Oyafunmike Ogunlano), a Black American fashion model on a photo shoot in Cape Coast, Ghana. Through Haile Gerima’s imaginative storytelling, she undergoes a journey back in time to a plantation in North America. There she becomes Shola, an enslaved African woman who labors in the master’s house and experiences the horrors of slavery firsthand. In becoming Shola, Mona recovers and confronts her ancestral identity and experience. While enduring monstrous trauma at the hands of white men who owned people for profit, Shola’s interactions with her fellow enslaved Africans are rich with humanity, respect and dignity for one another. Most notably, she connects with Shango (Mutabaruka), a rebellious African man, and Nunu (Alexandra Duah), one of the few of the enslaved to remember her life in Africa before being stolen and terrorized by European traders.
(Haile Gerima, US, Ghana, Burkina Faso, United Kingdom, Germany & Ethiopia, 1993, 125 min, in English & Akan with English subtitles)
“Sankofa is not a film about slavery, it’s a movie about resistance.” – Haile Gerima
Community Storytelling at Sankofa:
An evening of COMMUNITY STORYTELLING follows the screening, featuring short, personal pre-recorded histories shared by individuals like you! All are invited to participate.
Every person has a history, a family, a name, and a community. Developing a relationship with the past through a study of the history of our families and communities grants a fuller understanding of how our individual and collective past impacts our daily lives.
The way your personal story is told — now and in the future — can be, and should be, steered by you.
Sankofa opens with an invocation, an invitation to “step out and tell your story”:
- When did your ancestors settle in America? Under what conditions did they come here? How old were they? How healthy were they? Was there a community or a group of relatives here to welcome and assist them? What language(s) did your ancestors speak when they arrived? What possessions and skills did they bring with them? — Prompts adapted from My Grandmother’s Hands by Resmaa Menakem
- How do you walk with ancestors in your daily life? What tools do you use to connect? What wisdom do they offer?
- How do you make sure the wisdom learned from the past is a part of the present?
- How are you in relationship with the place(s) you inhabit?
- In what ways does a relationship with your heritage nurture you?
We invite you to consider these prompts and send us a video to be shown at the event. We’ll share as many stories as time allows!
Best practices for recording your video:
Time limit: 1-3 min
Deadline: Feb. 25
- Introduce yourself however you feel called.
- Follow the prompts or use your own to tell your story.
- You can use your phone, tablet, or the webcam on your laptop.
- Record in landscape mode (with the camera set horizontally, not vertically).
- Clean your camera lens to get the clearest image possible.
- Frame your shot relatively close so that your face and torso are in frame (ie. not too wide).
- For a flattering image, face a window or other light source (rather than having one behind you) and elevate the camera to your chin level.
- Record in a quiet environment and with your recording device relatively close to ensure good audio. Turn off devices that emit a continuous hum for the time you’re recording.
- Email to email@example.com via Google Drive, WeTransfer, Dropbox, etc.
- Shared videos will only be used for screening at this event and will be deleted from our records following the program.
About Sankofa Film Society
Founded by Karen Toering and Jackie Moscou, former Artistic Director of Langston Hughes Performing Arts Institute, Sankofa Film Society continues Moscou and Toering’s advocacy of independent films by people of color and women filmmakers. Sankofa Film Society believes that those most impacted are the best caretakers of their own stories.
Sankofa Film Society is also the Seattle home for films from ARRAY, the independent distribution company founded by Ava DuVernay.
Look here first for provocative indie film and discussion, opportunities for membership, travel and a wide variety of ways to connect in community with melanin-rich films.
About 28 Days of Sankofa
Filmmaker Ava DuVernay’s media collective, ARRAY, recently released a restoration of Haile Gerima’s 1993 film, Sankofa.
In honor of Black History Month, ARRAY has invited partner organizations around the country to screen the movie and learn more about the accompanying learning guide they’ve created to further exploration and dialogue around community history, personal history, acts of resistance, and Haile Gerima’s larger body of work.