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February 2007
First Look: AFRICA UNITE


First Look:
AFRICA UNITE

Release Date: April 7, 2007 (Debuting at the New York African Film Festival)
Producer/Director: Stephanie Black
Country: USA/Jamaica/Ethiopia Year: 2007
Language: English
Production Companies: Tuff Gong Pictures, Louverture Films
Executive Producers: Rita Marley, Cedella Marley, Danny Glover, Joslyn Barnes
Camera: Arthur Jafa, Malik Sayeed, Kyle Kibbe, John Bentham, Carla Swanson, Chris Browne, Gregory McPhail, Axel Baumann
Editors: Laura Israel, John Mullen
Sound: Caleb Moses, Gautam Choudhury, Dave Curtin, David Curbelo

Cast: Rita Marley, Danny Glover, Ziggy Marley, Angélique Kidjo, Lauryn Hill, Teddy Afro, Bob Andy, Cedella Booker, Damian Marley, Stephen Marley, Julian Marley, Kyamni Marley, Cedella Marley, Sharon Marley, Dudley Thompson

Synopsis:

The documentary highlights the vision for African unity that Bob Marley was devoted to throughout his music career and presents an inspiring tribute to a man who defined his own aim as “spreading the message of unity and equality to end the needless suffering of mankind.”

On February 6th 2005, over 350,000 people gathered in the historic Meskel Square of Addis Abeba, Ethiopia to celebrate what would have been Bob Marley’s 60th birthday. The twelve-hour concert, featuring a host of internationally acclaimed artists, is interwoven throughout the film, highlighting the singer’s global influence. American Lauryn Hill passionately debuts new material, Benin-born Angélique Kidjo jumps into the audience during “Mama Afrika”, and legendary Jamaican artist Bob Andy serenades Ethiopia. The concert culminates with a spectacular nighttime performance by Rita Marley and the I-Threes and all of Marley’s sons singing their father's songs.

Crucial to the Africa Unite vision, the film also focuses on UNICEF-sponsored symposia and youth-oriented workshops that were held during the week-long celebration. Taking their inspiration from such Bob Marley songs as “War” and “Get Up Stand Up”, these sessions deal with issues including conflict transformation, youth and women’s empowerment, the prevention of corruption, awareness and treatment of HIV/AIDS and other major diseases, and the centrality of human rights. Speaking at a symposium dedicated to dialogue with youth, UNICEF Goodwill Ambassador Danny Glover, whose production company Louverture Films executive produced the film with Tuff Gong Pictures, stresses that “It takes time to build, years to organize, and that’s what we have to commit ourselves to. In Guinea, in Kenya, in too many other countries, less than 30% of children go to school. It is a human right to have an education. And that begins right here with you. Bob Marley would’ve loved to have been here with us today... He loved Africa, and the fact that we are here to carry on this work is most important.”

“The message of AFRICA UNITE is for Africans to take our own lives into our own hands and to realize that we are better off together than divided,” says Ziggy Marley. “We know the history of Africa. Believe the dream of the unity of Africa is something we can accomplish. It is possible and we should do it.”

“It’s our aim with this documentary to further Bob Marley’s eternal message of hope and struggle across continents and generations,” agrees producer/director Stephanie Black. “We know that change occurs when we refuse to be silent in the face of injustice and inequity, and AFRICA UNITE is a call to action catalyzed by Bob Marley’s musical legacy.”

“In the words of Bob,” says Rita Marley, “Africans Unite for the benefit of your people – Africans Unite for the benefit of your children – Africans Unite – it’s later than you think!”




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