5th Annual Sankofa Film Series

21 January 2016
5th Annual Sankofa Film Series

Returning for its fifth consecutive year, the Sankofa Film Series returns to the University of Michigan Detroit Center on February 19, at 6 p.m. 

Best known for its inspirational and thought-provoking documentaries, the 2016 Sankofa Film Series will showcase four inspiring films featuring Misty Copeland, Nina Simone, Gordon Parks and August Wilson.

All films begin at 6 p.m. (end times vary) and include complimentary admission, parking and light refreshments for all guests. Following each screening, a guest speaker will lead a brief discussion on the selected documentary.

The Sankofa Film Series is co-sponsored by the University of Michigan-Dearborn department of African and African American Studies. For more information about this series, contact the Detroit Center: (313) 593-3584 or detroitcenter@umich.edu


February 19 – 6-8:30 p.m.
(Director: Liz Garbus)
About: This Oscar-nominated documentary film tells the story of Nina Simone, a civil rights activist, singer and pianist labeled as the "High Priestess of Soul."
Guest Speaker: Melvin Peters, Ph.D, is an Associate Professor in the Department of African American Studies at Eastern Michigan University. Peters holds a B.A. in English and Spanish from Marshall University and a M.A. and Ph.D in American Literature from Michigan State University.
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March 11 – 6-8:30 p.m.
(Director: George Nelson)
About: Misty Copeland, an African American Ballerina, broke through racial and body images barriers while climbing the ranks of the ballet world. This film tells the story of her potential career-ending injury and recovery.
Guest Speaker: Dr. Adesola Akinleye is a choreographer, dancer, teacher and researcher. She earned a Doctorate of Philosophy in Dance from Canterbury Christ Church University, in the United Kingdom, and a Master of Arts in Work-based learning, Middlesex University, United Kingdom.  Dr. Akinleye, started her dance career with the world-renowned Dance Theatre of Harlem. It was in New York where her love for dance inspired her to start the Dancing Strong Company in 2006. She is the artistic director of DancingStrong, an organization encompassing art, performance, education, and choreography. Akinleye teaches dance and receives choreographic commissions internationally from universities, K-12/Foundation to secondary/high school systems and private dance academies, and community organizations.
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April 8 – 6-8:30 p.m.
(Director: Craig Laurence Rice)
About: An intimate look at the life and career of photographer, writer, musician and filmmaker Gordon Parks. 
Guest Speaker: Robert L. Smith has spent a lifetime producing, creating, educating and directing informative exhibits and programs dealing with African- American History.  Robert’s career began as the Assistant Director of Learning Resources for North Carolina Central University, in Durham, North Carolina. After serving as the Director of Instructional Materials Center for the Highland Park School district, he became the Vice President of Education and Exhibitions for the Charles H. Wright Museum of African- American History. There he inspired and directed an array of inspiration events including the African Americans in Science and Technology, and Inspiring Minds exhibitions. Robert currently is the the Consulting Curator for the Pompey Museum of Slavery & Emancipation in Nassau, Bahamas.
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May 13 – 6-8:30 p.m.
(Director: Samuel D. Pollard)
About: August Wilson – the Ground on Which I Stand, takes an inside look at the life of the acclaimed playwright and poet. The film navigates the journey of his life, tackling childhood poverty and a challenging home life, into adulthood, where he went on to receive two Pulitzer Prizes for Drama.
Guest Speaker: Billicia Charnelle Hines is the Director of the Black Theatre Program and Assistant Professor of Theatre at Wayne State University. She attended NC Agricultural & Technical State University in Greensboro, NC (BFA, Professional Theatre) and University of Missouri at Kansas City (MFA, Acting). With over 12 years of academic experience, she has presented acting and theatre workshops at various conferences and universities throughout the nation. Currently, her academic research is focused on three African American female playwrights; Dominique Morisseau, Nikkole Salter, and Nambi Kelley. Hines has directed numerous productions and performs various one-woman shows that deal with social issues that encompass domestic violence, healthcare, and empowerment.
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