West Africa is a region of astonishing beauty, a mosaic of peoples and cultures and the source of much of American contemporary music. It’s also the heart of Africa’s film industry. Sierra Leone, Liberia, Ghana, and Senegal produce some of the most compelling documentaries and dramas being filmed today. The comedies, shorts, and music videos give voice to the next generation of young Africans as they reach out to the world through films.

Even though most African Americans would trace their ancestry to the countries of West Africa, news from the region is often limited to crisis reporting. But resource conflicts have ended now and Ebola is on the run. It’s time to start a new conversation, one that promotes a better understanding of the creativity, richness, and diversity of West Africa.

The West African Film Festival will present films that are either from the region, by West African artists, or are about the life and culture of West Africa. We will screen those films that provide insight into the complexity and diversity of the region and that give the viewer realistic perspectives on the people, culture, art, history, and
politics. It is a journey to West Africa, through the voices and talent of its people.

The festival will also include director Q&As, guest speakers, school screenings, student events, and parties. You’ll enjoy musical groups on the plaza and live cultural performances every afternoon. All films and lectures are free to students, thanks to the support of the University of Houston.

Awards & Prizes

Grand Prize- Filmmaker will receive one hour consultation with Hollywood Insider, film is added to the Film's On Demand List of an University Professor's syllabus and will receive promotional marketing for six months through festival's social media outlets.

Jury Prize- Filmmaker will receive written feedback on the film from a Hollywood Insider, film is added to the Film's On Demand List of an University Professor's syllabus and will receive promotional marketing for three months through festival's social media outlets.

Honorable Mention- Film is added to the Film's On Demand List of an University Professor's syllabus and will receive promotional marketing for one month through festival's social media outlets.

Rules & Terms

ELIGIBILITY
1. We accept films that cover issues affecting West Africa, teach West African history or politics, promote West African culture, or have been made by West African filmmakers.
2. Films completed after January 1, 2015 are eligible.
3. Films are not eligible if they (a) have screened publicly in the Houston area, (b) have had a theatrical run in the US prior to the Festival dates, (c) have aired on US television prior to the Festival dates, (d) are available for purchase on DVD in North America, or (e) are available for public online viewing in their entirety.
4. All entries must be either in English or subtitled in English.
5. Entrant confirms and warrants required legal authority to submit the entry into the Festival and to use all music, images, and content in the entry.

SUBMISSION GUIDELINES
1. You may submit your entry through Filmfreeway.
2. Or you can mail three copies, DVD or Blu-Ray, to the address below. Include a cover letter or use the submission form to send the following information: Title of Film; Genre(s); Total Running Time; Logline; Short Story Synopsis; Director(s); Producers and/or Production Company Name; Contact Person Name & Full Contact Information, including mailing address, email address and phone
3. Submissions must include a trailer and promotional art, such as a poster, in jpeg or similar format.
4. The DVD and package must be postage paid, no COD. It will not be returned and will be donated to the University of Houston library. By submitting you are agreeing to this and to being responsible for any problems which might arise due to any un-cleared material (music or other).
5. Films chosen for viewing at the festival will be announced onFebruary 3, 2016.
6. Filmmakers or screenwriters accepted and attending the festival are responsible for travel, lodging, and all other expenses.

mail entries to:

West African Film Festival
C/O Chuck Jackson, Ph.D.
Associate Professor and
Assistant Chair for Administration, Department of English
Coordinator, Film Studies
University of Houston -- Downtown
One Main Street, South-1045E
Houston, TX 77002

1 Review

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    Wendy Stuart Kaplan

    From the day we were chosen I tried contacting Linda Wuest <lindawuest4@gmail.com> and NEVER once received an answer. We wanted to attend, we wanted to know if they had everything they needed to from us for the festival and we wanted to know if we won and if there was indeed a festival at all. We never once heard from them.

    I'm not at all sure this is even a real festival at this point even though we were sent laurels and a confirmation. A huge waste of time.

    Dear Linda,
    I am being asked to review the film festival and I don't know what to say.
    I wrote to you several times and never received an answer. We wanted to attend the festival but we didn't even get an answer when I asked about it.

    Now that the festival is over I still have absolutely no information as to what went on, if our film was screened or if we won any competitions.

    What's up? Was there actually a film festival? I can't find any information.
    Richard D'Ambrosia

    ----- Forwarded Message -----
    From: "roosters" <roosters@ptd.net>
    To: "lindawuest4" <lindawuest4@gmail.com>
    Sent: Wednesday, February 1, 2017 12:34:42 PM
    Subject: Fwd: Your film has been chosen as an official selection of the West African Film Festival

    Dear Linda,
    Please let me know as soon as possible if you require anything from me a this point.

    Do you know when our film will be shown? We wold love to be a part of the experience and be in attendance.

    Richard D'Ambrosia
    Fragile Beauty.

    ----- Forwarded Message -----
    From: "roosters" <roosters@ptd.net>
    To: "Linda Wuest" <lindawuest4@gmail.com>
    Sent: Sunday, January 22, 2017 6:34:24 PM
    Subject: Re: Your film has been chosen as an official selection of the West African Film Festival

    Thank you! This is very exciting!
    Sent from my Verizon 4G LTE Tablet
    ------ Original message------From: Linda Wuest Date: Sun, Jan 22, 2017 6:13 PMTo: Linda Wuest;Cc: Subject:Your film has been chosen as an official selection of the West African Film Festival

    On behalf of the West African Film Festival panel of judges, I want to thank you for your film submission. Your film is an OFFICIAL SELECTION and will be screened at one of the festival venues.
    You will be contacted separately about screening location.
    Congratulations!
    Linda Wuest713 562-0704.

    March 2017
    Abby west african film fest logo 1 large version
    Response from festival:

    Hello Richard,

    Thank you for submitting your film to the West African Film Festival. We are a team of film industry insiders, university professors and business professionals. Our festival is supported and displayed at universities and small colleges here in Houston, TX.

    We work really hard to showcase the great talent from the West African film community to our diverse audience of academics, students and professionals in Houston, TX.

    That being said, we apologize if your film, Fragile Beauty, was not shown in this year's festival. We received a great amount of extraordinary films and had a limited amount of resources to showcase all of them.

    We invite you to submit your film again next year, and we apologize for any miscommunication or delayed responses.

    Thank you,

    Natashia Clarke
    Organizing Committee Member of WAFF