Hajooj Kuka's short yet powerful Beats of the Antonov is a poignant documentary on the war-ravaged border between North and South Sudan, set against the backdrop of refugee communities who have only one another to cling on to. Yet thanks to Kuka's insistence on giving...

Seattle International Film Festival (SIFF) 2014 is here, which means another few weeks of impressively-curated film-going madness for everyone in the Puget Sound Region. Below, we've once again given you our top selections for the year, grouped by world region. Stay tuned in the weeks to come, as we offer updates throughout the festival's progression, with general thumbs up and thumbs down summaries of the films we will painfully and enjoyably slog and float through, as well as one-off full-length reviews. Happy SIFFing!

Last month, I came across a music video that Total Enormous Extinct Dinosaurs called, "one of the best music videos I've seen in a long time": a live performance by iFani EWE in the Johannesburg neighborhood of Soweto. Having just seen a South African dance documentary called The African Cypher, this assertion of "best" did not hold true for me; awesome dance is threaded throughout the country's musical and social culture of SA. This reminder did, however, lead me to dig deep into South African music videos to hunt for visual and sonic gems -- the best of which I have shared in this post. (No Die Antwoord on the basis on their being well-known by all.)

Mafikizolo ft. Uhuru - "Khona"

I recently stumbled across this website called OkayAfrica, and it is definitely one of my favorite new internet finds. Of their recurring posts are summaries of notable African fashion designers to watch out for, and the fashion in this music video for "Khona" reminds me of these top designers in some ways. Geometric shapes and bright colors abound, abound, abound, in eye-catching ways galore. Glittered male dancers dive and swoop around a strong female lioness and a hypnotic rhythm, pushing "Khona" hard as a visual highlight and a repeat listen. DOWNLOAD MP3 [audio:/wp-content/uploads/2013/08/Uhuru-ft-Mafikizolo_Khona.mp3|titles=Uhuru ft. Mafikizolo - Khona]

 

John Lemke - People Do Album ReviewJohn Lemke People Do Denovali Records, 2013The world of Germany-born, Glasgow-based composer and sound designer John Lemke is a rich and varied one. Working in a variety of media, so as to enable him explore his fascination with music and "all things sonic", he has dipped his fingers into a variety of collaborative pies, ranging from live performance and film sound design, to work as a documentary composer for British television broadcasters such as the BBC. An accomplished manipulator of the recorded aural environment, Lemke seeks, in People Do, his debut solo album, to fuse the emotive elements from his film work with a sense of rhythm and space. With a stated aim of marshaling his abstract sonic palette to create a "danceable, electro-acoustic whole", the effect achieved is one of a highly visual journey that inhabits the realm of memory channelled and interpreted through objects and their collected histories. Lemke explains that his first inspiration was found in the "idiosyncratic sound world of his grandmother's piano. With a shimmering past in the silent film era of 1920's Berlin, its very fabric was full of anecdotes."
 

Due the unfortunate fact that we are merely human and Seattle International Film Festival (SIFF) is just beginning its three-week film rampage, we've sifted through the Festival's gigantic catalog to come up with the best films of the bunch -- or so we suspect. SIFF is annually guaranteed to have a mixture of some of the best and worst films that one can see -- and these film recommendations come from the minds of three REDEFINE writers with good intentions. Yet at best, these selections are our most educated hypotheses, determined from a mixture of film industry knowledge and intuitions based on trailers. Below, we've grouped our selections for 2013 by world region. Stay tuned in the weeks to come, as we offer updates throughout the festival's progression, with general thumbs up and thumbs down summaries of the films we will painfully and enjoyably slog and float through, as well as one-off full-length reviews. Happy SIFFing!

"Love in the world is very short/ Don’t look back," sang the Portland-via-Somalia Iftin Band. Their translated message wrapped up the Global and Mobile Pop event at TBA Festival 2012. The crux of the evening was indeed about not looking back, but about looking everywhere, in a celebratory program of global music paired with local savvy. Co-curated by Portland's purveyors of tropical pop, Brainstorm, and self-proclaimed amateur ethnomusicologist, Christopher Kirkley of sahelsounds, Global and Mobile Pop strung together the work of musicians (foreign and domestic) in the African tradition, but with an Information Age twist. A triad of tall screens provided a data-rich backdrop with imagery evoking the foreign and the familiar: hyperbolic, color-saturated music videos hailing from West Africa; Safari windows devoted to on-the-spot search results piloted by local musician turned website jockey, Jason Urick; and a live Twitter feed soliciting audience participation, with all the facets of the microblogging world -- sometimes informative, other times insightful, or irreverent.
SEE FULL SHOW REVIEW Brainstorm - "Flat Earth"

 

Portland's greatest interdisciplinary festival, TBA Festival, is back in 2012 with some of the most diverse and impressive programming it's had in years. Check out our picks in dance, theatre, performance, and music for a what's what in local talent and international ideas.

Sam Green & Yo La Tengo - The Love Song Of R. Buckminster Fuller

Wednesday, September 12th @ 6:30pm and 8:30pm @ Washington High School (SE Stark, Between 12th and 14th, Portland, OR 97214) $20 Members / $25 General Filmmaker Sam Green executes a "live documentary" witha live score by Yo La Tengo, as Green cues images and narrates a film that explores the utopian ethos of theorist and idea-weaver R. Buckminster Fuller. - VIVIAN HUA

 

See all PERFORMANCE-related picks

 

Nora Chipumire - Miriam

Friday, September 7th, 8:30pm Saturday, September 8th, 8:30pm Portland State University: Lincoln Performance Hall (1620 SW Park, Portland, OR 97201) $20 Members / $25 General Zimbabwe-born choreographer Nora Chipaumire and dancer Okwui Okpokwasili explore what it is to be feminine, personally and in society. Chipaumire's style is both rigid and delicate, befitting of true feminine ideals. - VIVIAN HUA

 

See all DANCE-related picks

 

Brainstorm / Sahel Sounds - Global And Mobile Pop

Monday, September 10th @ 10:30pm @ Washington High School (SE Stark, Between 12th and 14th, Portland, OR 97214) $5 Members / $7 General Local hyperpop band Brainstorm and African-inspired label Sahel Sounds curate an evening of projections, media, music performances, and more in a diverse celebration of cultural influences.This comes after Sahel Sounds and Brainstorm's collaboration and 7", where Brainstorm covered the music of Mdou Moctar. - VIVIAN HUA

 

See all MUSIC-related picks

 

Multicultural Sounds travels the world for contemporary reinventions of cultural staples.  Earlier this week, Portland-based electronic musician Jeffrey Jerusalem has put together a 60-minute mix of global dance sounds. 13 Months Of Sunshine: New Rhythms From Africa And Around The World comes just in time for...