12th Summer Outdoor Series

Join African Film Festival, Inc. for the 12th Summer Outdoor Series, titled Cinema Under the Stars, as we celebrate African history and culture through the arts, all summer long! Showcasing the best in classic and contemporary African cinema, the series is an opportunity to enjoy quality screenings of a vast array of films that range from fantasy and folklore to documentary and *melodramatic comedy, in public settings through Brooklyn, Manhattan, Queens and the Bronx.

AFF is known for presenting outdoor screenings to diverse communities and neighborhoods all over NYC. This year we return to some of our favorite outdoor destinations such as Fulton Park in Bed Stuy, Brooklyn; Corona Park in Queens; and Governors Island off the coast of Manhattan. In addition, we are excited about some new venues and partnerships, including Mid-Manhattan Library and the Big Screen Plaza.

Cinema Under the Stars is an amazing series for anyone. Children, teens and adults alike will be entertained by the adventure this summer series has to offer. Meet the master artitsts participating in each of our summer programs.

Every Sunday, in the months of July and August, join African Film Festival, Inc. and the Mid-Manhattan Library as we present the best in classic and contemporary African cinema. Escape the mid-day heat with such films as Mark Donford-May’s U-Carmen eKhayelitsha, winner of the Golden Bear for Best Film at the 2005 Berlin International Film Festival; Damon and Craig Foster’s exploration of astronomy in two of the oldest African tribes—the San (or Bushmen) of Namibia, and the Dogon people of Mali, in Cosmic Africa; Wanuri Kahiu’s stirring drama about the 1998 terrorist bombing of the US Embassy in Nairobi, Kenya, From A Whisper; and George Amponsah’s profile of the DRC’s flamboyant group, La SAPE, whose members have elevated fashion to the status of a religion, in The Importance of Being Elegant. The audience of Shoot the Messenger will have the incredible opportunity to meet with the director Ngozi Onwurah!

The sights and sounds of Africa are just a seven-minute ferry ride away! Please join African Film Festival, Inc. and the Governors Island Preservation and Education Corporation for this exceptional all-day celebration on Governors Island. This event will feature FREE dance classes with world-renowned choreographers and master teachers from Brazil, Senegal, and Guinea. There will also be FREE storytelling, double-dutch and quilting demonstrations and workshops. Short African films by emerging and veteran directors will be shown throughout the day. African food vendors will be on site. A wonderful treat for the entire family!

Presented in collaboration with the Museum of Contemporary African Diasporan Arts (MoCADA), KIDflix guarantees four evenings of entertaining and educational films for kids and families. Screenings include Soul Boy, a magical story about a boy in search of a cure for his ailing father, and a rare glimpse into community life in Kibera, one of the largest slums in East Africa; Mwansa the Great, a beautiful short about a young warrior who wants to prove he is a hero in his small Zambian village; A Night of Caribbean shorts, an homage to the West Indian Day Parade; Brownstones to Red Dirt, which focuses on the pen pal exchange between orphans from Sierra Leone and Kids from Brooklyn’s Bed-Stuy projects; and the annual grand finale screening of The Wiz, complete with a costume and dance contest! Come as your favorite Wiz character for the costume contest.





African Film Festival, Inc. is sponsored by: NYC Department of Cultural Affairs, New York State Council on the Arts, Andy Warhol Foundation and Lambent Foundation. Sunday Movies at the Mid-Manhattan Library is sponsored by Ford Foundation’s Good Neighbor Committee.

Educational Programs

Film is a powerful educational tool, able to engage children emotionally and intellectually. It also allows them to make connections between their own lives and those lived in different countries and cultures depicted onscreen. AFF’s educational programs bring the unique educational power of film to New York City students by integrating African cinema into existing curriculum, illustrating and bringing to life aspects of African culture that students have been studying, and counter negative images from mainstream media. Students participating in AFF’s education programs gain a sense of pride, learn that Africa’s culture remains vital, and make connections between their personal history and Africa’s history.

In addition to providing students with a window into contemporary and historical Africa, students learn about storytelling in the medium of film. Through the program, students often not only have their first opportunity to view an African or an international film, but also a film that is not Hollywood-produced. Furthermore, by having filmmakers participate in the program, students can learn firsthand about the artists’ intentions, helping students gain competence in visual literacy and an understanding of how filmmakers’ choices shape how stories are told. In this way, students begin to employ analytical skills in understanding artistic works.

Young Adults Education Program

The Young Adults Education Program brings together New York City middle and high school students each year to a special matinee program during the annual New York African Film Festival. Two to three short films are screened, both documentary and fiction, that are age-appropriate and with themes relevant to African history, geography, politics, and culture. AFF’s Education Coordinator provides teachers with materials for student orientation before the screenings, and then facilitates a discussion afterward with the filmmakers. Teachers use AFF’s materials (including an overview on African history, culture and cinema, program notes on the films, maps, an extensive bibliography) to prepare the students before the screening. Discussion topics after the film often include how African folklore and traditional storytelling techniques were used in films, the relationship of traditional African values to contemporary African and Western culture, as well as the similarities and differences between African and American culture. Back in the classroom, teachers ask students to write essays about the film. Occasionally, AFF will ask students to fill out a questionnaire to aid evaluation of the program.

In-School Program

AFF is in its eleventh year of bringing African film and culture into New York City middle and high schools. The program continues to bring filmmakers and film scholars from all over the world into the classroom to provide intimate and in-depth instruction in film theory, the historical context of each film, as well as the technical aspects involved in the production of the works presented. This is unique for students to not only learn about film (and the ever-changing technology that makes production more accessible), but also gain exposure to topics related to African history, culture and society through the artistic expression of media.

Some of the special guests that have participated in the In-school Program include: renowned Malian musician Salif Keita; Emmy Award-winning documentary filmmaker, Madison Davis Lacy; African art scholar and curator, Dr. Carol Thompson; and Fode Bangoura, a prominent member of Guinea’s leading ballet company who led a hands-on drumming workshop.

Since our initial partnership with East Harlem School at Exodus House (EHSEH), in 2000, AFF has had the privilege of partnering with other schools and youth organizations, including, Harlem Children’s Zone, Groundwork. Additionally, AFF works with the Global Kids Network at the following locations—Edward A. Reynolds West Side High School, International High School at Prospect Heights, and Long Island City High School.

AFF is pleased to offer the In-School Program to other educational facilities, which we can tailor to meet the education goals of the individual schools as well as the age-level of the students. A curricular consultant will conduct two 2-hour curricular development sessions with teachers from your school to ensure that the program complements the students’ regular coursework and reading assignments. For more information, contact Toccarra Thomas at or call (212) 352-1720.