Dr. Christine Acham is an Associate Professor of Practice at School of Cinematic Arts at the University of Southern California. Prior to joining USC she was an Associate Professor at the University of California-Davis where she taught African American film, television and popular culture, documentary history and production in both the US and Trinidad and Tobago. She is the author Revolution Televised: Prime Time and the Struggle for Black Power, (University of Minnesota Press, 2005) and several articles on African American film, television documentary and web series. She also co-directed and edited the award winning documentary Infiltrating Hollywood: The Rise and Fall of the Spook Who Sat by the Door (2011) which has screened at over 20 national and international film festivals and universities. She is currently a member of the editorial board of the journal Film Quarterly. Dr. Acham will lead the Q&A for two films: The Spook Who Sat By the Door and Infiltrating Hollywood: The Rise and fall of the Spook Who Sat By the Door.
Adama Bah is a young woman from New York City. When she was 16 years old she was a very intelligent and popular high school student. She lived in New York with her parents and brothers and sisters. Then, the FBI labeled her a potential suicide bomber and she became the youngest person in the US swept up in the country’s so-called “war on terror.
Adama Bah is the central figure in the film ADAMA. Ms. Bah will be part of the Q&A discussion of the film.
Dr. Rachel Harding is a specialist in religions of the Afro-Atlantic Diaspora and studies the relationship between religion, creativity and social justice activism in cross-cultural perspective. A Cave Canem Fellow, she holds an MFA in creative writing from Brown University and a PhD in history from the University of Colorado, Boulder.
Dr. Harding is author of A Refuge in Thunder: Candomblé and Alternative Spaces of Blackness (Indiana University Press, 2000) as well as numerous poems and essays. Rachel’s second book, Remnants: A Memoir of Spirit, Activism and Mothering (Duke University Press, 2014), combines her own writings with those of her mother, Rosemarie Freeney Harding, on the role of compassion and spirituality in African American social justice organizing. Dr. Harding be part of the panel discussion following the screening of the film: Yemanjá: Wisdom from the African Heart of Brazil.
Gerald Lee “Chip” Hoffman is videographer, photographer and paper maker. He was the videographer for Yemanjá: Wisdom from the African Heart of Brazil and conceived and created the film’s companion photo exhibition, Goddesses of Nature. The exhibit will be on display for the Pittsburgh premiere of the film.
Gerald holds an M.F.A. in Photography from University of Illinois at Chicago, a B.F.A. in Photography from Rochester Institute of technology, and an paper making /performance artist residency at Banff Centre, Canada. After being exposed to paper making in 1982 at the Visual Studies Workshop in Rochester, NY, Gerald created works that subsequently were exhibited in Claremont, CA, Chicago, IL and Quebec, Canada.
In recent years, his work has been featured in solo exhibitions and is held in private collections in North and South America.
Ron Horton – As a young musician, Dr. E. Ron Horton began his professional career playing with big bands and R&B acts in the Dallas/Fort Worth area. Soon after graduating with a degree in Jazz Studies from the University of North Texas he used his musical skills to become a full-time member of one of the United States Air Force Field Bands. During the day, Horton represented his country in uniform, playing for the public, military members and their families, foreign dignitaries, and high level government officials while touring throughout Texas, the southwestern United States, and even South America. At night, he was a part of San Antonio’s Salsa y Merengue music scene.
After completing his enlistment in the Air Force, he found himself in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, where he met Nathan Davis and Roger Humphries. Both men would join a long list of mentors who would have a major influence on the direction his career would take. Within a matter of weeks of arriving in town he would meet Humphries and shortly after that he would become a member of the Roger Humphries Big Band. At the same time, he was earning his PhD at the University of Pittsburgh as a student of Nathan Davis. After six years living in the Mid-South touring and recording with the New Orleans Jazz Ramblers and teaching at Arkansas State University Horton would find himself back in Pittsburgh where he rejoined Humphries, this time as the trumpet soloist in the RH Factor quintet. He is also a member of the acclaimed Pittsburgh Jazz Orchestra.
Chris Moore is a multiple Emmy Award winner. A Vietnam War veteran, Moore has produced and hosted popular radio and television programs in Pittsburgh since 1980. Moore was the creator and former host of Black Talk on WCXJ Radio. He can be heard on KDKA Radio on Sundays at 4:00 P. M. – 9:00 PM.
Chris Moore is a graduate of Grambling State University where he was inducted in the Hall of Fame in 2006. He is the founder and co-chair person of the Educational Committee of the Frank Bolden Urban Journalism Workshop of the Pittsburgh Black Media Federation. Chris will be lead the Q&A for In Country: A Vietnam Story and will be the moderator for a number of films during the 8th annual film festival and season.
Donna Roberts is producer, director and co-writer of the new documentary film, which is Donna’s first feature documentary. Working as a journalist and producer/director in the U.S. and Canada since the late 1980s, she previously wrote and directed the Telly-Award winning documentary, “Sea of Uncertainty”, about consequences of the Deepwater Horizon oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico (WGCU Public Media).
She has created concepts and produced videos for Breast Cancer Action Montreal, the Rio + 5 international forum on sustainability and Associação Mulheres pela Paz (Peace Women Brazil, São Paulo). Donna’s body of work can be found at Project Zula.
Dr. Jean-Jacques Sène is an Associate Professor of History at Chatham University where he also directs the Global Focus Program. He is a Senegalese national who has studied, lived and worked in Japan, France, and the Netherlands before settling in the USA. His scholarly work focuses on the relations between political power and mythological thinking -political dogmatizing, sustainable development in West Africa and beyond, Afro-Asian relations, and Panafricanism. His passion lies in the on-going labors for the restauration of historical consciousness among Africans at home and Africans Abroad.
Dr. Sène is one of SFAF’s favorite discussion leaders and he’ll do the honors for Ousmane Sembène’s Xala, a biting satire on African bourgeoisie society after independence that was heavily censored in Senegal and throughout West Africa.
Ramatoulaye Valerie Coly Sène was born and raised in Sénégal, West Africa. She is the eldest daughter of a Catholic mom and a Muslim dad. She is the mother of two young women Melissa Tening, 19, (born in France) and Danielle Kumba, 13 (born in USA).
After her A LEVELS, Valerie joined law school at the prestigious University of Cheikh Anta Diop of Dakar. The same year she passed the exam to enter the national Police Academy. n 1991, she created a small business and advocacy company call HTS (Harmony, Talents, & Services) for women in disadvantaged socio-economic backgrounds.
In France, Valerie trained as a Small- and- Medium-size Enterprises (“PMEs” in French) Manager at the Joan of Arc Business School before pursuing her BA in Sociology and Anthropology at the University of Rennes II Haute Bretagne.
Valerie has been the French teacher (K-8) at St Bede School in Point Breeze for 12 years now. She is passionately involved in several socials initiatives that promote the Francophonie and its myriads of cultures.
DAVID FELIX SUTCLIFFE is a Sundance award winning documentary filmmaker. In 2013, he was included in Filmmaker Magazine’s annual list of “25 New Faces of Independent Film.”
David first came to filmmaking when one of his students, a 16-year-old girl named Adama Bah, became the youngest known person arrested in a domestic terrorism investigation in 2005. The FBI accused Adama of being a “potential” suicide bomber, but failed to provide any evidence to substantiate this claim. David spent three years documenting her and her family in the wake of her arrest, capturing their experiences in an hour-long film called ADAMA. The film was broadcast on PBS in 2011, and re-broadcast on America Reframed in 2016.Yemanjá: Wisdom from the African Heart of Brazil.
Huberta Jackson-Lowman, Ph.D., is a Professor of Psychology at Florida A & M University in Tallahassee, Florida, where she has taught for more than 20 years.
Prior to teaching at Florida A & M, Huberta was co-director of the Institute of the Black Family at the University of Pittsburgh and the executive director of the Mayor’s Commission on the Family. Both positions were held in Pittsburgh, PA.
Dr. Jackson-Lowman is the President of the National Board of The Association of Black Psychologists and has authored numerous publications on the Black Family.
Huberta returns to her hometown to Moderate the panel discussion for the film
Alice Walker is an internationally celebrated writer, poet and activist whose books include seven novels, four collections of short stories, four children’s books, and volumes of essays and poetry. She won the Pulitzer Prize in Fiction in 1983 and the National Book Award. She is probably best known for her book The Color Purple.
Ms. Walker narrated the film “Yemanjá: Wisdom from the African Heart of Brazil and will be part of the panel discussion for the film’s Pittsburgh premiere.
Gloria M. Rodríguez is the Founder and Director of DeAlmas Women’s Institute, a community-based organization launched in 1998. Literally meaning “of the soul,” DeAlmas is dedicated to providing women the opportunity to reclaim, honor and express their divine feminine gifts and human potential through spiritual and personal transformation. Ms. Rodríguez will facilitate the Living Waters Workshop for Women on Saturday, October 29th at the Blakey Program Center of the Hill House Association. For more information about the workshop and to register, contact Donna Roberts at email@example.com or call 239-810-0241.
Read more about Gloria Rodríguez and the DeAlmas Women’s Institute here.
Thomas Wendt joins SFAF to lead the discussion for KEEP ON KEEPIN’ ON.
Thomas Wendt has been playing the drums professionally since the age of 14. A graduate of The Pittsburgh High School for the Creative and Performing Arts, he has studied with master drummers Roger Humphries, Joe Harris, and Kenny Washington. Thomas maintains a busy freelancing schedule with Pittsburgh’s top jazz artists such as Dwayne Dolphin, Joe Negri, Sean Jones, Dave & Maureen Budway, Kenia, the Latin jazz group, Salsamba, and the newly re-formed Pittsburgh Jazz Orchestra. He has also played with many visiting international artists like David “Fathead” Newman, Donald Byrd, James Moody, Jimmy Heath, Clark Terry, Benny Golson, Phil Woods, Freddy Cole, Monty Alexander, Bill Watrous, Paquito D’Rivera, Curtis Lundy, Wycliffe Gordon, Ann Hampton Calloway and Javon Jackson.
In 2008, Thomas played on the Emmy Award winning soundtrack for the PBS documentary, “Fly Boys” and in 2010 he recorded an album featuring trombonists Jay Ashby and Steve Davis. Thomas has also recorded albums with Gene Ludwig, Sandy Staley, Salsamba, David and Maureen Budway, and Joe Negri. Recently, he appeared at The 2012 Litchfield Jazz Festival with jazz legend Hubert Laws and in 2013 performed with pianist Alan Broadbent for the Nyack NY Library Concert Series. In addition to teaching at City Music Center, Thomas has been on the faculty at the Afro-American Music Institute in Homewood since 1998 and in 2014 – 2015 taught drum set fundamentals at Duquesne University.