CONWAY — The University of Central Arkansas College of Liberal Arts, along with the Department of Languages, Linguistics, Literatures, and Cultures and the African and African-American Studies Program, will host the fourth annual UCA Tournées French Film Festival from April 2-18 in Burdick Hall, Room 205, on the UCA campus.
The festival is comprised of six films, each shown at 5:30 p.m. Tuesdays and Thursdays for the first three weeks in April (April 2, 4, 9, 11, 16, 18). The first half of the festival is themed around African and African-American issues, while the second half of the festival explores contemporary issues in France.
“I am thrilled to be able to bring these award-winning films to the Central Arkansas community for the fourth annual UCA Tournées French Film Festival. In an increasingly globalized world, these films, which look at the United States, France and Africa, offer a unique opportunity to learn about other cultures and our own,” said Dr. Katelyn Knox, assistant professor of French at UCA.
All screenings will be followed by interdisciplinary “talk back” sessions and audience discussion, which will be facilitated by UCA and Hendrix College faculty members. Most films and talk back panels will conclude by 8:30 p.m.
“The interdisciplinary faculty panels following each film screening promise to open up crucial discussions, whether about Conway or elsewhere,” said Knox. “The panel following ‘Faces, Places,’ for instance, invites experts from philosophy, sociology, geography and art activists to ask how people connect to the places in which they live and forge communities through architecture, public art, and historical projects. I hope that these conversations — sparked by French films — continue to give us new insight into our own communities for years to come.”
The festival will begin at 5:30 p.m., Tuesday, April 2, with “I am Not Your Negro.” This opening film is based on James Baldwin’s unpublished novel “Remember this House,” which recounts his experience of the U.S. Civil Rights movement from his expatriate position in Paris. Archival footage ties U.S. Civil Rights-era segregation, racism and violence to more contemporary concerns, such as Black Lives Matter. “Talk back” speakers for this film will be Dr. Tom Williams, dean of the UCA College of Liberal Arts, and Dr. Doug George, associate professor of Sociology at UCA.
It should be noted that “I am Not Your Negro” is rated PG-13 for “disturbing violent images, thematic material, language [racial slurs] and brief nudity.” None of the other films are rated by the Motion Picture Association of America, because they are foreign films, but they do not contain sensitive or offensive material. Knox says the most family-friendly films are the April 9 “Makala” and the April 11 “Faces, Places.”
All films will be shown in French with English subtitles, except “I am Not Your Negro,” which will be shown in English.
The complete film lineup follows. All films begin at 5:30 p.m. in Burdick Room 205:
- Tuesday, April 2: “I am Not Your Negro” with “talk back” session led by Dr. Tom Williams, dean of the College of Liberal Arts at UCA; Dr. Doug George, associate professor of Sociology at UCA; Dr. Kristen Epps, associate professor of History at UCA; and Dr. Wendy Rickman, associate professor of Teaching and Learning at UCA.
- Thursday, April 4: “Little by Little,” a “mocumentary” about a bourgeois West African man who moves to Paris to study the locals. This film promises to open up larger conversations about epistemology and racial underpinnings of systems of knowledge. “Talk back” led by Dr. Michael Kithinji, associate professor of History and co-director of the African and African-American Studies Program at UCA and Dr. Stacey Schwartzkopf, associate professor of Anthropology at Hendrix.
- Tuesday, April 9: “Makala,” a documentary about a Congolese man who travels hundreds of miles by foot to sell charcoal in the market in order to purchase materials to construct his family’s home. “Talk back” led by Doug Corbitt, peer mentor program coordinator for UCA Honors College and Dr. Rifat Akhter, associate professor of Sociology at UCA.
- Thursday, April 11: “Faces, Places,” a documentary about a famous filmmaker and a large-scale muralist who travel to rural villages in France and construct public art projects. Often, these art projects have a historical/archival dimension, so history becomes “exposed” on the walls of buildings where forgotten people lived. “Talk back” led by Dr. Ellen Hostetter, associate professor in UCA Honors College and Geography; Dr. Charles Harvey, chair of Philosophy at UCA; Beth Norwood, Art History instructor at UCA; and Dr. John Toth, associate professor of Sociology at UCA.
- Tuesday, April 16: “12 days,” a documentary about involuntarily committed individuals in France, who are seen before a judge (to follow French law). This film raises larger questions about the intersection between personal liberty and public safety, as well as the entanglement of health sciences, justice, law, and philosophy. “Talk back” led by Shannon Riedmueller, Psychology instructor at UCA; Dr. Leslie Zorwick, associate professor of Psychology at Hendrix; John Gale, associate professor of Film at UCA; and Dr. Jacob Held, associate professor of Philosophy at UCA.
- Thursday, April 18: “My journey through French Cinema,” a three-hour documentary that explores the films that most inspired one of France’s most celebrated filmmakers. Currently, there is no “talk back” session planned for this film.
The UCA Tournées French Film Festival is made possible with the support of the Cultural Services of the French Embassy in the U.S., the Centre National du Cinéma et de l’Image Animée (CNC), the French American Cultural Fund, Florence Gould Foundation and Highbrow Entertainment.
The event is free to attend and open to the public.
For more information, contact festival coordinator Dr. Katelyn Knox at firstname.lastname@example.org or (501) 450-5585, or Amanda Hoelzeman at email@example.com or (501) 852-2659.