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French-African artists visit for conversation, screening at Ciné Oct. 26

Filmmaker Alain Gomis and graphic novelist Marguerite Abouet will visit Ciné for an evening of events Thursday, Oct. 26 beginning with a reception and book signing at 5 p.m. in the CinéLab. Abouet and Gomis will join UGA faculty members for a conversation on representations of West African life through film and visual arts at 5:30, and Gomis will introduce a screening of his film Félicite at 7:15. All events are free and open to the public.

Gomis and Abouet will visit Athens and Atlanta as guests of the Consulate General of France in Atlanta. Their Ciné event is presented by the Willson Center and the department of Romance languages as part of the year-long celebration of the Willson Center’s 30th anniversary. The conversation with Gomis and Abouet will include Rachel Gabara, associate professor of French in the department of Romance languages, and Esra Santesso, associate professor in the department of English.

Marguerite Abouet was born in Abidjan, Ivory Coast in 1971, and at the age of 12 moved to France, where she has lived since. The Aya comics, which she creates with artist Clément Oubrerie, are set in the 1970s Abdijan of her youth, where Abouet’s eponymous protagonist and large cast of characters navigate life and love in the working-class enclave of Yopougon-Koute (“Yop City”) as well as the more glamourous environs of the cosmopolitan West African capital. The Aya books are popular with readers around the world and have been translated into 17 languages. Abouet has also written for film and television, and she and Oubrerie co-directed the 2012 animated feature film Aya of Yop City, which will be screened at 5 p.m. Thursday, Oct. 19 in Room 118 of Gilbert Hall.

Alain Gomis is a Parisian writer and director whose films, including L’afrance (2001), Aujourd’hui (2012), and Félicité (2017) have focused on Africans and African immigrants in France. Félicité stars Véro Tshanda Beya Mputu as a nightclub singer in Kinshasa, Congo who scours the sprawling city in a desperate search for money to pay for her son’s surgery after he is injured in a motorcycle accident, won the Silver Bear Grand Jury Prize at the 2017 Berlin International Film Festival.

Ciné is located at 234 W. Hancock Ave. in downtown Athens.

Flagpole applauds Willson Center 30th anniversary

TheGrady Broderick Life Athens, Georgia alternative weekly newspaper Flagpole paid tribute to the Willson Center in its Sept. 13 issue with a generous write-up of our 30th anniversary reception, which took place Sept. 6. Flagpole, a frequent partner with Willson Center community events in Athens, celebrates its own 30th anniversary on Oct. 27.