Sankara’s Orphans — award-winning documentary — comes to Harlem May 21

Sankara’s Orphans, an award-winning documentary by Geraldine Berger, will be featured Saturday, May 21, at the Maysles Documentary Center in Harlem. The screening is sponsored by the 29th New York African Film Festival in conjunction with The Africa Center of New York.

The film tells the story of 600 youth from Burkina Faso in West Africa who went to study in Cuba in 1986 during the 1983-87 Burkina Faso Revolution led by Thomas Sankara. The Cuban government, headed by Fidel Castro, offered them an education to learn a profession or trade and then return to help develop their country, one of the poorest in the world.

The documentary describes who was chosen to study in Cuba and why. It shows how the Cuban people worked with the Burkinabè youth, the relationship between the two countries and revolutions, and between Castro and Sankara. Viewers get a chance to see Thomas Sankara, a leader few in the U.S. know about.

It exposes what happened to the young people when the revolutionary government in Burkina Faso was overthrown and Sankara was assassinated by Blaise Compaoré in 1987. The youth became social orphans, ostracized and blacklisted by the Compaoré regime. Their educational achievements and diplomas were disregarded. The film includes interviews with several orphans, now adults in Burkina Faso who have fought for their rights.

Geraldine Berger will join the audience via Zoom from France following the screening. The 84-minute film is in French with excellent English subtitles. Another documentary, Thomas Sankara, The Human by Richard Tiéné is also being shown earlier that day.

Maysles Documentary Center is located at 343 Malcolm X Blvd. See the links below for information and ticket sales.

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