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African American Films at RIFF

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By Cristina McCandles

The Riverside International Film Festival kicked-off the start of its 10th annual screenings with a lively celebration. Held at The Culver center of the Arts, the gala was studded with figures from all parts of the community. From designers and comedians to members of the city council, spectators gathered to show support for the true guests of honor: the filmmakers. RIFF features a 100+ films over a course of one week, ranging from one minute animations to comedic short films. With each film bringing something different to the screen we spoke with several filmmakers who’d use their film to document the struggles of our African society.

Sterling Hampton is a 17-year old high school student and aspiring filmmaker. Producing his first short film documenting Cuba’s missile crisis at just age thirteen, Hampton is no stranger to the art of film. This year he is one of the youngest African-American filmmakers being featured for his documentary “Throwaway Child”. Hampton sheds light on the country’s foster care system and chronicles two young African-American foster children who’ve traveled through the system their whole lives. In the film Hampton uses interviews and real life accounts in which the viewers gain a compelling insight of the struggles of African American foster children straight from their own perspective. Alongside Sterling's Submission, California Filmmaker Cristina McCandles brings a celebratory story of the art and humanity of the African people. In “From” “Zimbabwe” to “Santa Fe” McCandles documents the physical and emotional journey of three African basket weavers from Zimbabwe as they travel to the Santa Fe Folk Art Market. These diligent African women are determined to Reach Santa Fe, CA in order to sell their hand crafted creations and experience a life of opportunity which they’ve never been offered. McCandles follows these women in their daily lives and communities as they struggle to overcome enormous limitations in search for a better quality of life. Both films bring a beautiful and compelling story to this year’s Riverside International Film Festival and we are proud to have filmmakers shining light on the African Community.

17-yeard old Sterling  Hmapton


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