Happening tonight, and for four Thursdays this month, at the La Pena cultural center in Berkeley is the 2nd 2nd Annual Fist Up Film Festival. This thought-provoking, documentary film series breaks negative stereotypes and notions of what many see hip-hop to be nowadays, and instead examines the role of hip-hop music and culture as a positive, uplifting, revolutionary force from a global perspective. For their program the festival's programmers have a criteria to seek out "media that changes peoples' lives." Last week the festival kicked with This Is The Life - the cool documentary about LA's influential Good Life Cafe that was showcased here on the Amoeblog when it screened in Hollywood at Amoeba's Monday Movies at Space 15Twenty. Tonight's screening is the excellent documentary Ni Wakati!! (see trailer above). Translated Ni Wakati means "It's time" and is a film by Michael Wanguhu that spotlights hip-hop in Kenya through the eyes of M1 (dead prez) and Umi (P.O.W.) who travel to East Africa. "From the ashes of the Mau Mau to the Black Panthers, arises a movement to awaken people globally," is how organizers describe this film which features Geronimo ji-Jaga Pratt & Kalamashaka.
Next week (Thursday, September 15) at the festival will be a screening of the "trans-national hip-hop road movie" Furious Force of Rhymes which shines a light on hip-hop in Germany, Senegal, Palestine, Israel, France, USA. The festival's program will end with Black August which, shot over a decade, covers hip-hop from NYC to Cuba to South Africa and features interviews with intellectuals & social activists such as Assata Shakur, as well as performances by Talib Kweli, Mos Def, David Banner, dead prez, and Common. Tonight's screening of Ni Wakati!! starts at 7:30pm sharp so get there by 720pm at latest. $5. All ages. Bonus -the director of the film, Michael Wanguhu, will be in the house for an informal Q&A following the screening. La Pena is located at 3105 Shattuck Avenue Berkeley, CA 94705. More info