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Cape Verdean American Documentary to Screen at Festival

Emerson College Visual and Media Arts Associate Professor, filmmaker, and historian Dr. Claire Andrade-Watkins, is in Dakar, Senegal as an invited artist to screen her award-winning feature documentary, Some Kind of Funny Porto Rican?: A Cape Verdean American Story (SKFPR) (2006) as part of the third edition of the World Festival of Black Arts and Cultures.

Andrade-Watkins joins a roster of distinguished invited artists and scholars in all disciplines from the African continent and the Africana Diaspora (the Americas, Caribbean, Europe and Asia) for a month-long program of exhibits and special events held at venues throughout Dakar.

Her documentary chronicles the history and destruction of three generations of a vibrant community of immigrants from the Cape Verde Islands in the Fox Point section of Providence, Rhode Island who were forcibly displaced by urban renewal in the 1960s and 1970s.

The theme of the 2010, third edition of the World Festival of Black Arts and Cultures is “African Renaissance,” which coincides with the fiftieth anniversary of independence of French-speaking Africa, and is hosted by his Excellency Abdoulaye Wade, President of the Republic of Senegal with the support of the African Union. The Festival will emphasize dialogue between peoples and cultures, with Brazil as the guest of honor—a country rich with cultural diversity.

African premieres of SKFPR to date include the FESPACO (Panafrican Film Festival), recognized as the most important African film festival in the world and held every two years in Ouagadougou, Burkina Faso; the 2007 DOCKANEMA documentary film festival in Maputo, Mozambique; and the Cape Verdean premiere in 2008 at the invitation of the Minister of Culture of Cape Verde.

In addition to her position at Emerson College, Andrade-Watkins is a visiting scholar at the Center for the Study of Race and Ethnicity in America at Brown University, and 2010 Swearer Center Community Fellow. Her expertise is in Portuguese and French speaking African cinema, and in 2009, she was selected as a Massachusetts Cultural Council Artist Fellow in Film. She has also received numerous grants for her documentaries, including the LEF Foundation, Massachusetts Foundation for the Humanities and the Rhode Island Council for the Humanities. She was a 1995-1996 Fulbright Scholar in the Cape Verde Islands and received an American Philosophical Society grant in 1997. She is the founder and president of SPIA Media Productions, Inc., which is dedicated to the documentation and preservation of the history of Cape Verdeans and the Africana Diaspora, and the director of the Fox Point Cape Verdean Project.

SKFPR is the first of a trilogy of feature documentaries about the Cape Verdean community in Fox Point. In May and July 2010, SKFPR premiered on Rhode Island PBS, WSBE-TV 36. Andrade-Watkins has completed principal photography on the remaining two features, which are currently in post-production.

Read more about the Black World Festival »

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