Melnitz Movies Presents A Film Screening of 'Sierra Leone's Refugee All Stars'

Shot over a three-year period, the documentary tells the story of a remarkable group of Sierra Leonean musicians who form a band in a refugee camp in Guinea and eventually return to Freetown to heal and make music. Q & A with Director Zach Niles and Reception to follow screening.

Thursday, April 05, 2007
7:30 PM - 9:00 PM
James Bridges Theater
Melnitz Hall
UCLA campus (enter at Wyton Drive and Hilgard Ave)
Los Angeles, CA 90095

Please join us at this screening of an uplifting, funny, poignant film about the triumph of the human spirit and the healing power of music.  Enjoy reggae and west African music while enjoying a good film.

It's an incredible story about a remarkable group of people who began playing their music in refugee camps, and culminating in the band's performance on the Oprah Winfrey Show at the conclusion of the program on the film Blood Diamond.

A brutal, decade long civil war forced a band of Sierra Leonean musicians to live as refugees in the West African nation of the Republic of Guinea.  The war took the lives of many of their loved ones and left them with physical and emotional scars that may never heal. Through music however, The Refugee All Stars have found a place of refuge, a sense of purpose and a source of power.

“The word used most often to describe the Refugee All Stars’ sound, a combination of reggae, traditional West African music, and hip-hop, is 'infectious.'  The music is indeed infectious, but what’s more important is that the Refugee All Stars offer an alternate view of Africa, a glimpse into an indomitable and effervescent spirit that we can only hope, in this era of onrushing globalization, is hard-wired into all of us.” – LA Weekly

Directors: Zach Niles, Banker White
Writers: Jim Bruce, Zach Niles, Banker White

Zach Niles – Director/Producer/Writer – Zach Niles is the associate producer for the eight-part television series, “Live at the Fillmore,” the monthly series documenting “a day-in the-life of a rock ‘n roll band” as the members prepared for a concert at the Fillmore Auditorium in San Francisco.  He has also lived and worked in South Africa and Cameroon and has a long-standing, personal and professional interest in the music and culture of Africa.

Banker White – Director/Producer/Writer – is a multi-disciplinary artist in the Bay area.  He earned his MFA from the California College of Arts and Crafts, and has written/directed many short films.  His art and films have been shown in the Bay area over the last six years; additionally, he is an accomplished musician.  He has lived and worked in Ghana, and in 1994-96 he helped start the Kokrobitey Institute there, a learning center established focusing on the cultural and intellectual richness in Africa.

View Trailer and Website:

About Melnitz Movies  --
--  Movies are shown at the James Bridges Theatre (Melnitz 1409) at UCLA.
--  All movies are FREE to UCLA students, staff, and faculty as well as to the general community UNLESS otherwise noted.
--  Melnitz Movies is funded through the UCLA Graduate Student Association and the ASUCLA Student Interaction Fund.
--  Tickets are available on a first come, first served basis (ONE ticket per person) at the Melnitz box office the day of the screening, one hour before showtime.

Email:  --  Website:

Co-presented by the UCLA African Studies Center (ASC) --

The Refugee All Stars are gearing up for their US tour which begins June 15; they will play the Hollywood Bowl on Sunday, June 24, 2007.  For details, visit the Hollywood Bowl website.

Cost : Free and open to the public; parking is available for $8 in lot 3.

For more information please contant:

UCLA African Studies CenterTel: 310-825-3686

Sponsor(s): African Studies Center, Ethnomusicology, Melnitz Movies at UCLA.