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African & African American Stories

Celebrate Black History Month with these inspiring films that tell important African and African American stories.

All programs include theatrical screening and media education.

How to book?
Book a field trip or in-school session today.

fldtrips@facets.org
Phone: 773.281.9075 ext. 3040

How much does it cost?
Field trips: Tickets are $6 per kid for groups of 25 or more and $7 for groups under 25. Chaperones attend free of charge based on an approximate 10:1 ratio of students to chaperones—there is a $10 fee for each additional chaperone. Refreshment packages are available.

In-School sessions: Session cost is determined by class size. We charge $8 per kid for groups of 50 or more, but there is a minimum fee of $400 for groups of 50 or less. There is an additional $100 fee for each additional 20 miles from Chicago.


Film still from Through My Eyes program

Through My Eyes

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Grades 1–3

Explore African and African American lives in this profound and entertaining shorts program, which provides insight into the lives of others.

Rosa Parks was an inspiration to the cause for social justice. Revisit her bold act of American civil disobedience when this brave woman stood up for her beliefs. In Miss Devine, real-life characters reflect on their Sundays in the South, with remembrances of their beloved teacher. In Angelina's Film, follow along in the footsteps of daily Sudanese rural life, when a girl and her friends band together to search for a lost animal. Join the characters in these short films and view new worlds—through their eyes.

In Miss Devine, the award-winning animated documentary from StoryCorps, characters reflect on their Sundays in the South, with remembrances of their beloved teacher. In Angelina's Film, follow along in the footsteps of daily Sudanese rural life, where a girl and her friends band together to search for a lost animal. Join the characters in these short films and view new worlds—through their eyes.

Themes: Civil Rights, courage, family, communities, prejudice, rural and urban daily life.

Films: Miss Devine, Mommy Look!, Snowflake, Angelina's Film, Show Way, and Rosa.

70 mins with media education. Screened in English and French with English subtitles.

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Film still from Stories and  Storytellers program

Stories and Storytellers

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Grades 4–6

The characters from around the world in this shorts collection have stories to tell and to pass along.

In The Other Side, Annie and Clover share a new friendship during Segregation, one quiet conversation at a time. In Show Way we learn of the "Trails to the North", the Underground Railroad paths that could lead a family to freedom embroidered as patterns in quilts, a legacy passed down for generations.

Then, in two versions of the same story, entrepreneur Moziah tells his real-life story of his rise to success. In the final film, a determined baker stops at nothing to achieve her dreams of owning her own business (based on the beloved book of the same name). Whether a story is embroidered, written, or oral—everyone has a tale to tell!

Themes: Rural and urban daily life, tolerance, respect, storytelling, generations.

Films: Miss Devine, The Other Side, Mo's Bows, Show Way, Mo Can Tie a Bow, and The Bake Shop Ghost.

85 mins with media education. Screened in English.

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Film still from Journeys: Characters & Convictions program

Journeys: Characters & Convictions

Grades 4–6

The characters in these films have what it takes to dream big and achieve their goals.

In the first film, Kimaru can't afford school in Soweto, even though he really likes it, until he finds he has a hidden entrepreneurial skill. Then, in Nelson Mandela the leader never lost sight of his vision, and with enormous courage changed the world.

Finally, in the documentary short film Kayayo (shortlisted for Best Documentary Short for the 2018 Oscars) we meet Bamunu. She works in Ghana, Bamunu, has quickly outgrown childhood, and now must survive daily changes alone in a new and challenging environment in order to support her family. What are the dreams and the limits for girls in this society?

Themes: Rural and urban daily life, identity, persistence, respect, circumstances for female advancement.

Films: Angelina's Film, Chickens for Kimaru, Nelson Mandela, Kayayo

75 min program with media education. Screened in English, Swahili, and Dagdani with English subtitles.

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Film still from Zarafa

Zarafa

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Grades 4–6

Inspired by a true story and the beloved French children's book, Zarafa is an adventure about courage and resiliency beautifully told through stunning animation. Directed by Rémi Bezançon and Jean-Christophe Lie.

Maki, a young African boy, escapes the clutches of an evil slave trader. After outwitting his captors, Maki befriends Hassan, a soldier from Alexandria, and Zarafa, a giraffe from Africa, who help him find his good friend Soula and return to his village in Africa. With the help of old and new techniques, Maki and his friends also attempt to destroy the evil trader and help Zarafa escape from her captivity in a French zoo. The characters in Zarafa perform tremendous acts of courage while crossing Africa and Europe. Together they create a fun and adventurous story that keeps the viewers on the edge of their seats!

Themes: Adventure, love for animals, bravery, French colonial history, African history.

90 min program with media education. Two screening options: in French with English subtitles or dubbed in English.

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Film still from Adama

Adama

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Grades 6–8

As twelve-year-old Adama is about to experience his boyhood rite of passage, he and his brother's lives are changed forever.

Adama lives in a remote African village, but his older teenaged brother Samba gets lured outside of their community to join the ranks of the Tirailleurs, (French West African soldiers recruited by the French during World War I). Despite all odds, Adama goes on a journey and finds his brother at the ferocious Battle of Verdun on the Western Front. This stunningly animated coming-of-age story is an exciting depiction of perseverance, personal striving, and fraternal bonds triumph.

Themes: French colonial history during World War I, African cultural views, fraternal bonds, puberty rites of passage, persistence, bravery, resourcefulness, adventure.

90 min program with media education. Screening in French with English subtitles.

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Film still from Dream Big or Go Home program

Dream Big or Go Home

Grades 6–8

The characters in this shorts collection are unafraid to dream big and inspire others along the way.

In Nelson Mandela we meet the man who never lost sight of his vision of equality, and with enormous courage changed the world. In another film, 12 year-old Moziah has the right stuff to move his one-man business to the next level. In the final film, fourteen-year-old New Orleans native Andrew could be the talented band leader he knows he is - if he trusts his hard work, listens to those who inspire him, and shows his stuff at the final test. Balancing schoolwork, personal goals, while searching for his inner leadership to manifest itself is not easy, does he have what it takes?

Themes: Civil Disobedience, courage, respect, tolerance, prejudice, segregation, career goals, family.

Films: Miss Devine, School's Out, Nelson Mandela, Mo's Bows, Mo Can Tie a Bow, Andrew with Great Fanfare

90 min with media education. Screened in English.

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Film still from Eyes on the Stars  program

Eyes on the Stars

Grades 6–8

The characters in this collection are self-possessed and in charge, noting their influences and taking stock along the way.

In one film, jazz drummer Kojo has all the right moves to succeed, including talent, diligence, big dreams and a little bit of hustle. Then, in the beautifully-animated film set in Africa, N'djekoh is a young woman looks back to the memories of her mother and earlier life, to set the path for her future. Finally, Nelson Mandela never lost sight of his vision of equality in his homeland. With enormous courage and persistence, he changed the world.

Themes: Identity, perseverance, self-reflection, leadership, following long-term personal and career goals.

Films: School's Out, Eyes on the Stars, Kojo: A Short Documentary, Scrap Dolls, N'djekoh, Nelson Mandela

85 min with media education.Screened in English, Mango, Ngambay with English subtitles.

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Film still from the animation program

African & African American Animation

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Grades 9+

The young men and women in this selection of short, animated films speak from their own experiences and their own hearts, blending truth with artistic talent.

In Oscar the famous jazz pianist reflects growing up and performing during the heydays of the art form. In the documentary Pondering, passersby note whether they prefer their present circumstances or look to emigrate from Africa. And in Journey to Cape Verde, a traveler checks out of digital life completely, to get in touch with the rhythm and flow of African daily life.

The animation "palette" from across the globe paints the lives of characters of African descent in many ways. From watercolor to oil painting, from hand-drawn to computer animation, come along with these characters as they set off on their journeys—and find out more about themselves on the way.

Themes: Travel, reflection, cross-cultural exchanges, rural life, coming-of-age, career aspirations, family origins.

Films: Miss Devine, Oscar, Hisab, Pondering, N'djekoh, Ships Passing in the Night, and Journey to Cape Verde.

95 mins with media education. Screened in English, Amharic, French, Mango/Ngambay, Ewe, Italian, Arabic, Tigrinya, and Portuguese with English subtitles.

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  • John D. & Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation
  • Artworks: National Endowment for the Arts
  • Academy of Motion Picture Arts & Sciences
  • Comer Family Foundation
  • Bloomberg Philanthropies
  • Alphawood Foundation
  • Polk Bros. Foundation