Sabira Cole Film Festival 2020

Celebrate the 1st Annual
Sabira Cole Film Festival

The 1st annual Sabira Cole Film Festival ventures online for 2020, inviting viewers into a new virtual space that continues to bring the Pittsburgh community a curated collection of independent cinema from or about the African Diaspora. This year’s festival brings not just dynamic features and short films but also live events with filmmakers and local organizations. 

“Sabira Cole Film Festival is an international juried feature and short film competition. SCFF awards prizes to emerging filmmakers in the 3 categories: Geraldine B Hill Award for children & youth, Sabira Cole Award for short form documentary, Sabira Cole Award for feature narrative or documentary. We centralize storytelling traditions of the Diaspora and global communities of color to control our image and narrative. We support and magnify the voices of tomorrow. SCFF was inspired by the decade long Sembéne Film Festival and was created to honor the legacy and memory of its leader Sabira Cole.” – Ogechi Chieke, Executive Director SCFF

Each night of SCFF will feature films varying in length and subject matter, based around connecting themes.

November 5: “Local Legacies” feature film: Give Him Sky
November 6: “Protecting the Vulnerable” feature film: Yemanjá
November 12: “Connections & Communication” feature film: Amos è Zawadi
November 13: “Thrillers & the Supernatural” feature film: Magnum Opus

November 20: “Away from Home” feature film: Revolution From Afar

Ways to Watch

All programs are streamed on City of Asylum at Home. See the event listings below for access and registration.

All programs are streamed at 6:00 PM.

Full Festival lineup and schedule below.

THURSDAY, November 5, 6:00 PM
“Local Legacies” Give Him Sky

Run time: 2 hours, 30 minutes

“Local Legacies” feature film: Give Him Sky

There is power in place, there is power in a home. The films for Local Legacies are about how places shape the lives of the people who live there and how the people have the power to shape their environment. 

  • 6:00 PM Leo’s Legacy
  • 6:48 PM Pittsburgh’s Underground Railroad (Short Film) 
  • 7:13 PM Woogie (Short Film) 
  • 7:20 PM Give Him Sky

About Give Him SkyPittsburgh, PA is considered one the most livable cities in America, but as lifelong residents, the producers saw that this was not the case for the city’s predominantly black neighborhoods. In order to understand what it’s really like to grow up in these communities, with the drugs, violence and a failing educational system, they ventured into Wilkinsburg and befriended two men, both named Anthony. The film shows firsthand the complexities and stark realities of the two Anthonys trying to navigate a world that most don’t see or choose not to see. Their stories are complemented by community voices who further articulate the challenges and impediments that the two Anthonys face. As one of them summarizes for us: “What’s at stake for these kids are not just their lives, but the lives of their children and their children’s children.”

FRIDAY, November 6, 6:00 PM
“Protecting the Vulnerable” Yemanjá
Wisdom from the African Heart of Brazil narrated by Alice Walker
Run time: 2 hours, 30 minutes

“Protecting the Vulnerable” feature film: Yemanjá Wisdom from the African Heart of Brazil narrated by Alice Walker

Stories about explorers, healers, and leaders. The films tonight are either made by, or lead by women.

  • 6:00 PM Bubble (Short Film) 
  • 6:06 PM The Turtles Swim (Short Film)  
  • 6:08 PM Liremu Barana (Short Film)  
  • 6:20 PM Yemanjá 
  • 7:15 PM LIVE Panel: “Documentary & Authenticity” 
  • 8:15 PM Intense (Short Film) 

About Yemanjá Wisdom from the African Heart of Brazil narrated by Alice Walker: Yemanjá is a documentary exploring ethics, social justice, racism, ecological sustainability and true power found in community and faith, via the stories of extraordinary elder female leaders of the Afro-indigenous Candomblé spiritual tradition, in Bahia, Brazil. In metropolitan Salvador, the Americas’ largest slave port during the trans-Atlantic slave trade, slavery’s brutal history was transformed into a vibrant religio-cultural tradition in Brazil, the world’s largest Catholic country. Candomblé is a brilliant example of resilience, profound dedication to one’s heritage and the forces of nature that sustain us all. In the face of tremendous planetary and humanitarian crises, these ancient wisdoms offer inspiration for our shared global concerns.

THURSDAY, November 12, 6:00 PM
“Connections & Communication” Amos è Zawadi

Run time: 2 hours, 30 minutes

“Connections & Communication” feature film: Amos è Zawadi

Bonds and relationships are at the center of the films presented in “Connections and Communication.” They look at the nature of these bonds and the price of severing them as well. 

  • 6:00 PM Incurable (Short Film) 
  • 6:17 PM Amos è Zawadi 
  • 7:21 PM Privilege (Short Film)  
  • 7:33 PM #MCM (Short Film) 
  • 7:50 PM TAB (Short Film)

About Amos è ZawadiZawadi is a Tanzanian young man who was born with a serious motor disability. In fact, he can not be independent. With him, there is his cousin Amos who takes care of him day by day. Their place is not yet ready to hold them.

FRIDAY, November 13, 6:00 PM
“Thrillers & the Supernatural” Magnum Opus
Run time: 2 hours, 30 minutes

“Thrillers & the Supernatural” feature film: Magnum Opus

What lies just beyond the dark? Tonight, Friday the 13th, SCFF will showcase films dealing with death and the supernatural. Following the films, will be a live panel discussion about the veil between reality and the fantastical lead by historian and writer Herb Boyd. 

  • 6:00 PM Ghosted (Short Film)  
  • 6:10 PM Dead Mirror Suite (Short Film)  
  • 6:36 PM Midnight Movie: Magnum Opus (Short Film)  
  • 6:50 PM LIVE Panel: “Entertainment: Escapism or Lense to Reality” ft. Herb Boyd

About Magnum Opus: In his quest for the perfect sculpture, aiming to reproduce the human body and especially the flesh, Slim, a sculptor, will go as far as kill to create the perfect exposure, the perfect mix between pulp and clay.

FRIDAY, November 20, 6:00 PM
“Away from Home” Revolution From Afar
Run time: 2 hours, 30 minutes

“Away from Home” feature film:


Revolution From Afar ثورة من بعيد

These films analyze the minds of people who have been uprooted for their original home, whether that be of their own accord or by someone else. The night will end with the SCFF prizewinner panel and the announcement of the Viewer’s Choice award. 

  • 6:00 PM The Snake Charmer (Short Film)  
  • 6:33 PM A Date in the Dark (Short Film)  
  • 6:45 PM Dafa Metti (Difficult) (Short Film)  
  • 7:02 PM Revolution from Afar 
  • 8:10 PM LIVE Panel: SCFF Viewers Choice Award

About Revolution from Afar: Sudanese-American poets and musicians engage in performances and a conversation around third culture identity and the revolution in Sudan, from which they have been physically cut off.

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