African and African American Programs

Celebrate African and African American lives with these inspiring films for elementary, middle, and high school. 

All films are official selections from the Chicago International Children's Film Festival, and all programs include an introduction and post-screening discussion led by one of our trained media educators.  A curriculum is provided to all groups prior to your screening and is aligned with Common Core standards. 

Flexible scheduling throughout the day - come to us or let us come to you! For details about screenings at Facets Multi-Media, click here. For details about screenings at your location, click here. For more information, contact our Group Sales Coordinator at or (773) 281-9075 ext. 3009.

Through My Eyes profanity  

SnowflakeAnimated/Live-Action/Documentary Shorts Program
Grades 1-3 (Ages 6 to 8)

All world language films screened with English subtitles read aloud.
75-minute program includes media education.

Themes: Civil Rights, courage, family, communities, prejudice, rural and urban daily life


PDF version of this program description.         

Miss Devine (USA)
Mommy Look! (France)
Snowflake (Russia)
Jonah and the Crab (USA)
Nelson Mandela (USA)
Angelina's Film (South Sudan)
Rosa (USA)

Explore African and African American lives in this profound and entertaining shorts program, which provides insight into the lives of others. In “Nelson Mandela” (animated short film, narrated by Forest Whitaker) the leader never lost sight of his vision, and with enormous courage changed the world. Rosa Parks was an inspiration to the cause for social justice. Revisit her bold act of American civil disobedience when this brave woman stood up for her beliefs. In “Miss Devine”, the award-winning animated documentary from StoryCorps, characters reflect on their Sundays in the South, with remembrances of their beloved teacher. In "Angelina's Film", follow along in the footsteps of daily Sudanese rural life, when a girl and her friends band together to search for a lost animal. Join the characters in these short films and view new worlds – through their eyes.

Storytellers mature
Mwansa the GreatAnimated/Live-Action/Documentary Shorts Program
Grades 4-6 (Ages 9 to 12)

All world language films screened with English subtitles.
75-minute program includes media education.

Themes: Rural and urban daily life, tolerance, respect, storytelling, generations 

Calling Quilombola

PDF version of this program description.        

The Other Side (USA)
Jonah and the Crab (USA)
Show Way (USA)
Calling Quilombola (Brazil)
Nelson Mandela (USA)
Mwansa The Great (Zambia/England)

The characters from around the world in this shorts collection have stories to tell and to pass along. In "The Other Side", Annie and Clover  share a new friendship during Segregation, one quiet conversation at a time. In "Show Way" we learn of the 'Trails to the North', the  Underground Railroad paths that could lead a family to freedom  embroidered as patterns in quilts, a legacy passed down for generations. In the delightful documentary "Calling Quilombola", children in rural and urban Brazil trade observations about their lives, via “telephone”. And in "Mwansa the Great", a brother and sister have vivid imaginations nurtured by memories of their father. Whether a story is embroidered, written, or oral – everyone has a tale to tell!


Zarafa mature Violence
Animated Feature Film (France)
Directed by: Rémi Bezançon and Jean-Christophe Lie
Ages 9-11 (Grades 4-6)
75 min 

ZARAFA is available to screen in English or French with English subtitles.  

90-minute program includes media education. 

Inspired by a true story and the beloved French children’s book, Zarafa is an adventure gorgeously animated and beautifully told. Maki, a young African boy, escapes the clutches of an evil slave trader. After outwitting his captors, Maki befriends Hassan, a soldier from Alexandria, and Zarafa, a giraffe from Africa, who help him find his good friend Soula and return to his village in Africa. With the help of old and new techniques, Maki and his friends also attempt to destroy the evil trader and help Zarafa escape from her captivity in a French zoo. The characters in Zarafa perform tremendous acts of courage while crossing Africa and Europe. Together they create a fun and adventurous story that keeps the viewers on the edge of their seats!

“Best of Fest” winner, 2012.

Screened in French, with English subtitles. 

Nelson Mandela

Dare to Dreammature

Animated/Live-Action/Animated Documentary Shorts Program
Grades 6-8 (Ages 11 to 14)

All world language films screened with English subtitles.
85-minute program includes media education.

Themes: Civil Disobedience, courage, respect, tolerance, prejudice, segregation, career goals, family 

PDF version of this program description.           

Miss Devine (USA)
Show Way (USA)
His Good Will (Canada)
Eyes on the Stars (USA)
A Different Tree (USA)
The Bake Shop Ghost (USA)
Nelson Mandela (USA)

The characters in this shorts collection are unafraid to dream big - and inspire others along the way. In "Nelson Mandela" (narrated by Forest Whitaker) we meet the man who never lost sight of his vision of equality, and with enormous courage changed the world. In the animated documentary "Eyes on the Stars" a boy reads “science”, not “science fiction” and doesn’t let anyone else write his life story in his search to become an astronaut. In "The Bake Shop Ghost", a young woman is determined to realize her life’s goal to open her own bake shop, despite a troublesome obstacle in her path. See how the past can shape the future as these characters 'Dare to Dream'. 



Adama mature
Animated Feature Film (France)
Grades 6+, Ages 11+
95 min. (includes media education)


Screened in French, with English subtitles.  

As twelve-year-old Adama is about to experience his boyhood rite of passage, he and his brother’s lives are changed forever. Adama lives in a remote African village, but his older teenaged brother Samba gets lured outside of their community to join the ranks of the Tirailleurs, (French West African soldiers recruited by the French during World War I). Despite all odds, Adama goes on a journey and finds his brother at the ferocious Battle of Verdun on the Western Front. This stunningly animated coming- of-age story is an inspiring depiction of perseverance, personal striving, where fraternal bonds triumph.

CICFF Best of Fest winner 2015!  

What's Fufu

African & African American Animationmature
Animation/Animated Documentary Shorts Program
Grades 9+ (Ages 14+)

All world language films screened with English subtitles.
90-minute program includes media education.

Themes: Travel, reflection, cross-cultural exchanges, rural life, coming-of-age, career aspirations, family origins 

PDF version of this program description.         

Miss Devine (USA)
What's Fufu? (England)
Snowflake (Russia)
Hisab (Ethiopia)
Pondering (Belgium/Burkina Faso)
N'djekoh (France)
Sharaf (Sweden)
Journey to Cape Verde (Portugal)

The young men and women in this selection of short, animated films speak from their own experiences and their  own hearts. In "What's Fufu?" Nigerian teen Yemmi reflects on her heritage versus her present-day life in London with foster parents. In the documentary "Pondering", passersby note whether they prefer their present circumstances or look to emigrate from Africa. In "N’djekoh" a young woman looks back on her childhood and the memories of her mother. And in "Journey to Cape Verde", a traveler checks out of digital life completely, to get in touch with the rhythm and flow of African daily life. The animation “palette” from across the globe paints the lives of characters of African descent in many ways. From watercolor to oil painting, from hand-drawn to computer animation, come along with these characters as they set off on their journeys – and find out more about themselves on the way.