From Pantin to Lagos, Béjaïa to Lyon the SUDU Connexion, a PanAfrican film network in France, has sought out emerging film talent that represents the new generation of French children of African immigrants and tells their stories outside the negative stereotypes often depicted in the media.
For 5 years the SUDU Connexion has championed films through a program called Quartiers Lointains, a French film festival with motivations to highlight the commonalities between French citizens rather than differences.
Quartiers Lointains’ films retell stories mired in discolored rhetoric directed at French citizens of African immigrants. The films refocus emotion and understanding to their lives and everyday struggles.
SUDU Connexion director Claire Diao on the programs concept:
“What image do we have of ourselves when we have little knowledge of our family history? When we visit our childhood homes after being gone for a long time? When we do not meet the criteria that society is imposing on us? When we wish to free ourselves from the image that others have about us?
It has been said that it is often linked to the images that represent us in cinema, on television and in the media. Through various approaches, these filmmakers, these French children of immigrants from Africa, in Quartiers Lointains (distant quarters) 5th Season, take on the challenges of these questions in an intimate and moving way.”
– Claire Diao, SUDU Connexion
In an effort to raise awareness and broaden the festivals reach the founders of the Quartiers Lointains will showcase a shortlist of films in the United States. Together with an accomplished creative team, Clair and the SUDU Connexion and Quartiers Lointains is partnering with Black World Cinema and Chicago Filmmakers to debut the films at the Chicago Filmmakers’ theater in Illinois next month.
The Quartiers Lointains team includes:
Cinema Journalist and author from Burkina Faso, she curates and unites people and projects.
Visual researcher, she decrypts and searches relevant images and documents for feature or documentary films.
Filmmaker & Editor, he manages post-production coordination.
Graphic design and illustrator, she draws what she sees and makes it universal.
Executive coordinator, she is the program’s lead support.
The incredible partnership between these three US and French film societies is the work of Sudo Connexion’s longtime staffers Claire Diao and Dorothée Oum.
After 13 years spent promoting Panafrican films in the media and 5 years broadcasting them in Africa and Europe, the Sudu Connexion team defends the fact that a film is made to be seen.
– Claire Diao & Dorthee Oum, Sudo Connexion
Reflecting on their tireless efforts to gain visibility for what are clearly deserving projects one cannot help but think the concept of Quartier Lointains also supports a personal need to shape their own identity and explore their dual identity as French and African.
Representation matters. As an African American, I can identify with wanting to tell your own stories in your own voice. Black Panther was a transforming moment in North American history. The film, with an all black leading cast, broke records becoming one the fastest billion dollar films in American history.
It irrefutably shifted perceptions positively for African Americans of black and non-black people in the US, as wells as of people in countries world wide. People were excited to watch a black-centric film, with black characters, told by black people of North American descent.
In a way the Quartiers Lointains film festival is revolutionary in its objectives. The program’s criteria and it’s leaders motivation could help bring French people together in a way no one would come to expect.
Below is the debut trailer which includes the 4 films set for the 2018 Quartiers Lointains film festival in the US.
The festival will take place in Chicago on September 1st at 7:30pm.
Quartiers Lointains (Distant Quarters)
Chicago Filmmakers Theater
5720 N. Ridge Ave.
Chicago, IL 60660