Cleveland International Film Festival } March 22 – April 1, 2023 } Playhouse Square

TOPOWA! - Never Give Up

Year: 2019
Language: English, Luganda
Run Time: 82 minutes

TOPOWA! - Never Give Up
TOPOWA! - Never Give Up
TOPOWA! - Never Give Up
TOPOWA! - Never Give Up

Around the slums of Katwe, Uganda some unlikely sounds fill the air: those of tubas, trumpets, trombones, and brass drum sets. This is all thanks to Brass for Africa, a UK based nonprofit (98% African-led) that brings brass music to disadvantaged children throughout the continent, creating safe spaces where kids can learn to play, practice their instruments, and dream big. This amazing organization encourages student musicians to become teachers and to continue spreading the love of music throughout their communities. An enchanting and inspiring documentary, TOPOWA! - NEVER GIVE UP follows 12 of these young teacher-musicians on their incredible journey from the streets of Katwe to play a live concert in London alongside renowned trumpet player Wynton Marsalis. A popular phrase in Uganda, Topowa means to never give up, and the essence of this phrase is embodied by each member of the band. The unbound joy these musicians exude as they play or even talk about music is absolutely infectious. Optimistic and uplifting, this magical film will leave you smiling from ear to ear. (In English and Luganda with subtitles) — G.S.

CIFF45 Screenings

CIFF45 Streams On Demand

Thursday, April 08, 2021 at 11:00 AM -
Tuesday, April 20, 2021 at 11:59 PM

Streams Access: United States and US Territories
Accessibility (?)
Closed Captions: No
Audio Description: No
English Subtitles: Yes

Black Cinema
Teen-Friendly Films

Greg Gund Memorial Standing Up Competition
FilmSlam Student Choice Award for Best Feature


Philip Sansom, Inigo Gilmore

Rupert Sansom

Philip Sansom

Fin Kinsella, Philip Sansom, Rupert Sansom

Film Contact

This film is presented in loving memory of longtime Festival friend, MIKE ARGIE.

Film Sponsors


Community Partners

Jack and Jill of America, Inc., Cleveland Chapter

Tri-C JazzFest

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