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Francophone festival features rare films

March 12, 2010

KALAMAZOO--Local audiences will have the chance to see rare films made in French-speaking countries and meet a female, African film director during the Francophone Film Festival Wednesday through Sunday, March 17-21, at Western Michigan University.

A highlight of the ninth annual festival will be an appearance by filmmaker Josephine Ndagnou, a native Cameroonian, who will introduce her latest creation, "Paris At Any Cost." Ndagnou will present her film at screenings at 7 p.m. Saturday, March 20, and 4 p.m. Sunday, March 21, and will be on hand to lead after-screen dialogues. All films will be shown in the WMU Little Theatre.

Ndagnou, who also will meet with WMU film studies students while on campus, holds a diploma in audio-visual production from the Ecole Superieure de Realisation Audiovisuelle in Paris and a master's in cinematographic and audio-visual studies from Paris I Pantheon-Sorbonne. A director with the national television station of Cameroon--CRTV--for 15 years, she has played a role in many telefilms produced by CRTV and appears in Jean-Pierre Bekolo's "Les Saignantes."

"Paris or Nothing" is her first full-length film, which she not only wrote, directed and produced, but for which she plays the leading role of Suzy, who will do anything to leave her native Cameroon for Paris. The film has won several awards, including the Judges' Prize in the 2009 Fespaco Film Festival, the ADFF prize at the Annual African Diaspora Film Festival 2008, and the Best African Digital Film at Festival vues d'Afrique de Montreal.

Other long-feature films included in this year's festival include "Sex, Okra and Salted Butter" by Mahamat Saleh Haroun of Chad and France; the U.S. premiere of "Tamanrasset" by Merzak Allouache of France and Algeria; "A Sentimental Capitalism" by Oliver Asselin of Quebec, Canada; "The Necessities of Life" by Benoit Pilon of Quebec, Canada; "Adhen (Le Dernier Maquis)" by Rabah Ameur-Zaimeche, a French Algerian; and "Khamsa" by Karim Dridi of France.

For more information, including screening times and admission prices, visit the Francophone Film Festival online.

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Media contact: Mark Schwerin, (269) 387-8400, mark.schwerin@wmich.edu

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