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Cultural Activism With Mojisola Sonoiki of Wocaf

by Pamela Stitch
24 Feb 2012 at 07:09hrs | Views
The Women of Color Arts and Film Festival Atlanta will be celebrating its 7th year anniversary March 15th - 18th 2012 .


The Women of Color Arts & Film (WOCAF) Festival Atlanta is the only one of its kind in the southeast of the United States to exclusively present, promote and celebrate the artistic talents of women of color filmmakers and artists. In 2009, The WOCAF Festival received a proclamation from the Atlanta city council recognizing the role of The WOCAF Festival in celebrating, promoting and exhibiting the creative endeavors' of women of color in the arts and film.


The Festivals theme this year is "Celebrating the African Woman" and will feature films like , The Education of Auma Obama by Branwen Okpaku, a documentary about president Obama's activist sister, Ties that Bind by Leila Djansi, starring Omotola Jolade Ekeiinde and Kimberly Elise, and Ma'mi by Tunde Kelani, starring Funke Akindele, to name a few.
- www.wocaf.com


This month we sit with Mojisola Sonoiki who is a cultural advocate, we talk wocaf, films, women.


In 2005, when Ms. Sonoiki lived in London, she realized that there seemed to be no event celebrating film makers from the Caribbeans and Africa in the United Kingdom.  She went ahead to set up the Women of Color, Arts and Film festival as an avenue to showcase arts coming from women from different regions of the world.  This was so successful that when she relocated to Atlanta, United States in 2007, she brought this 'culture' along with her.


Again, this was a success as each event brought people from outside Atlanta and the United States  to visit Atlanta and celebrate this part of women's history.  Now, we know that setting up an event of this magnitude takes a lot of time and effort - we asked her what the biggest challenge she has faced so far and she mentioned that is funding.  For the past 6- 7 years, she has  funded most of the event on her own.   From time to time, WOCAF gets sponsorships.  But, right now, she is looking at partnership s which will help offset some of the costs. But, still the event remains predominantly free.  The only part you pay for is the music element which has never been free.  This is an opportunity to showcase what women film makers, women in music and artpreneurs are doing.


Beyond the financial aspects of hosting the WOCAF, another challenge she has faced is getting people who will be willing to volunteer their services.  It is very difficult getting people to commit to things that they don't get financially compensated for.  But, beyond all these challenges which can be quite daunting.  The reception that this event has had in London and Atlanta has been overwhelming.  The audience size has more than doubled since its inception.  That is great news.


It is actually inspiring watching what women are doing in the arts but we had to ask her if she ever gets complaints from men who believe that focusing on women in the arts might be deemed discriminatory.  She responds by saying that she has never gotten that complaint from anyone.  Everyone is and has been excited about this project since its inception. People are excited that there is now a platform to celebrate women in whatever they do.


This event showcases movies by women from England, Toronto, Carribean, United States, Korea, Africa and just brings them all under one roof.  It is an avenue to celebrate our womanhood as one entity. 


Please visit -www.wocaf.org for more information. 


To take a listen to the podcast interview, please click link -


Extra:

Funding for the arts has become increasing difficult to obtain especially for niche festivals like ours. Now in its 7th year, The WOCAF Festival needs your help to continue to bring you motivating and inspiring films, music and arts by and/or about women of color. We are trying to raise $3000 in a 30 day period and we only have 17 more days to go to reach our goal! We are offering some cool incentives and donations can be from $10 up! Every single penny we get counts so please consider supporting us by donating. If we don't raise our targeted amount in the time-frame specified, we do not get any of the funds. So please spread the word, tweet, Facebook, share and donate!


Thanking you in advance for all your support!


Here's the link for the campaign http://kickstarter.wocaf.org/

 




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