Llewellyn Smith

Biography: Smith is the president of Vital Pictures, Inc. As a writer/producer, he has contributed to several PBS series as series editor for the PBS history series American Experience. He played a key role in the origination, development, and acquisition of more than 70 programs on American history. Smith was project director for the Peabody and Emmy award-winning series Africans In America: America’s Journey Through Slavery. He directed the final film in the series Judgment Day. For the PBS series RACE: The Power Of An Illusion, Smith produced the episode The House We Live In. Smith was a producer/director for the three-hour special Reconstruction: The Second Civil War. He was also producer/director for Forgotten Genius, the NOVA biography of Dr. Percy Julian, the pioneering industrial chemist and civil rights activist. Forgotten Genius was recently honored for broadcast excellence by the American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS). Smith was also co-executive producer for the PBS series Unnatural Causes: Is Inequality Making Us Sick?

Films Shown in AFF, Inc. Programs:
Herskovits at the Heart of Blackness (2010).

Africans in America: Judgment Day (2003);
Race: The Power of an Illusion, Episode 3 – The House We Live In (2003);
Adrift: Lost on the Road of Expectations (2003);
Forgotten Genius (2007);
Herskovits at the Heart of Blackness (2009);
Rebel: Loreta Velazquez, Secret Soldier of the American Civil War (2013).

Yvonne Smith

yvonne smithBiography: Yvonne Smith, a producer, director, and writer, has in-depth experience documenting political, social, and cultural history, bringing her unique cultural honesty to bear on films about the prime movers and shapers of the African American experience. She is best known for her films Mo’ Funny: Black Comedy in America (1993), Motown 40: The Music Is Forever (1998) and Adam Clayton Powell (1989). Her work has resulted in Emmy nominations along with winning a Peabody Award for her series, Rock and Roll. Smith’s film about the controversial congressman Adam Clayton Powell, which she produced with Richard Kilberg for PBS’s The American Experience, was nominated for an Academy Award and awarded the Eric Barnouw Prize by the Organization of American Historians, the National Educational Film and Video Festival’s Best of Festival prize, the CINE Golden Eagle, and the Ohio State Award.

Films Shown in AFF, Inc. Programs:
Parliament Funkadelic: One Nation under a Groove (2006).

The Gospel at Colonus (1985);
Miles Ahead: The Music of Miles Davis (1986-Jac Venza, Mark D. Obenhaus, Edward Gray, Elizabeth Kreutz);
Adam Clayton Powell (1989);
Ray Charles: The Genius of Soul (1992);
Mo’ Funny: Black Comedy In America (1993);
Motown 40: The Music Is Forever (1998);
Discovering Women (1994 – James A. DeVinney, Ellen Hovde, Muffie Meyer, Deborah Shaffer, Yvonne Smith, David Sutherland);
Parliament Funkadelic: One Nation under a Groove (2005).

Seke Somolu

Biography: Seke Somolu is an established director, writer, producer and editor in the film industry. He has worked with a range of formats and genres. Seke was born and raised in Lagos, Nigeria. He was educated there and in the United States, earning degrees in International Relations and Filmmaking before returning home to work in the film and television industry. He has worked variously as a director, writer, producer and editor in a range of formats and genres including short film, documentary, TV drama, music video and TV commercials. Some notable examples of his work include the short films Nkan Mii and Mama Put, the documentary Metamorphosis, and several episodes of the TV drama series Wetin Dey. He has also taught film history and theory and published articles on arts and cultural issues. He continues to live and learn in Lagos.

[Source: http://creativeconomy.britishcouncil.org/people/foluseke-seke-b-somolu/]

Films Shown in AFF, Inc. Programs:
Nkan Mii (2004);
Mama Put (2007; 2008).

Nkan Mii (2004);
Mama Put (2006);
The Wives (2014).

Bert Stern

Biography: Bert Stern was born October 2, 1929. He was the son of Jewish immigrants and grew up in Brooklyn, New York. His father worked as a children’s portrait photographer. After dropping out of high school at the age of 16, he gained a job in the mail room at Look magazine. He became art director at Mayfair magazine, where Stern learned how to develop film and make contact sheets, and started taking his own pictures. In 1951, Stern was drafted into the US Army and was sent to Japan and assigned to the photographic department. By the late 1970s Stern returned to the U.S. to photograph portraits and fashion. With Aram Avakian, he co-directed Jazz on a Summer’s Day (1959), a documentary film record of the 1958 Newport Jazz Festival. In 1999, the film was deemed “culturally significant” by the United States Library of Congress and selected for preservation in the National Film Registry. He passed away at the age of 83.

Films Shown in AFF, Inc. Programs:
Jazz on a Summer’s Day (2008).

Jazz on a Summer’s Day (1959).

Catherine Stewart

Biography: Catherine Stewart attended Columbia University’s MFA Film Program and worked for Tristar/Columbia’s Feature Film Development Office in New York before returning to South Africa in 1993. In Johannesburg, she lectured at Wits University in screenwriting and directing documentaries for SABC.

Films Shown in AFF, Inc. Programs:  
A Woman’s Place (2000);
While You Weren’t Looking (2016).

A Woman’s Place (1998):
Transit Cafe (2001);
Home Affairs (2005);
Shreds and Dreams (2010);
While You Weren’t Looking (2015).

Nantie Steyn

Biography: Nantie Steyn studied journalism and politics at Rhodes University and graduated in 1989. Over the following year she worked in print media, writing movies and theater reviews. She started her film career in 1991 while doing research for documentaries on training and development.

Films Shown in AFF, Inc. Programs:
Watercolours (2000).

Watercolours (1998).

Toni Strasburg

Biography: An internationally recognized documentary director, producer, and writer, Toni Strasburg grew up in South Africa and went to Britain as an exile in 1965 where she earned a degree in Sociology at London University. Her best-known films are the multi-award winning Chain of Tears, about the effects of war on children in Southern Africa, and its sequel, Chain of Hope. Amongst her better-known European films are The Other Bomb and the series Picture of Health, while her Southern African films include Destructive Engagement and Spoils of War. Recently she has made several films for the BBC World ‘Life’ series, one of which, An Act of Faith, about the Phelophepa Health Train in South Africa, won the prestigious Freddie Award in New York. Toni is currently developing several films, one in Croatia the others in South Africa.

Films Shown in AFF, Inc. Programs:
A South African Love Story – Walter and Albertina Sisulu (2005).

A South African Love Story – Walter and Albertina Sisulu (2004).

18th National Traveling Series


Since 1995, African Film Festival, Inc. has worked to increase access to African cinema by expanding its channels of distribution. In order to make the unique experience of watching African cinema available to a wider audience, AFF programs the annual National Traveling Series that travels to cultural institutions, museums, and universities in ten to thirteen cities in the U.S. including Puerto Rico. This package consists of several feature and short films, including promotional and educational materials.


Ishaya Bayoko, Nigeria, 2012, 30min.
The oil subsidy placed on petroleum products in 2012 by the Nigerian government was meant to provide a much-needed relief on the cost of living for its citizens. However it was revealed that about seven billion dollars was stolen from the Nigerian people in one year from the same program that was meant to provide relief for them. It is quite possibly one of the most daring frauds in history. FUELLING POVERTY is a documentary that expresses and articulates this fraud. With music from Femi Kuti and Asa, FUELLING POVERTY is another collaboration between the award-winning team of writer/ director, Ishaya Bako and producer, Oliver Aleogena; a joint production between The Allied Film Company and Amateur Heads Media.

Bentley Brown, USA/Sudan, 2013, 34min.
Faisal and his family join the millions who have come to America in search of a better life. Too bad they chose to do so in the midst of an economic crisis, along with cultural and linguistic barriers. It also doesn’t help when Faisal puts the family in a tough spot, when he loses the family car. In a crunch for money, Tahir (the father, who was once a lawyer in Sudan), takes up work at a local auto shop. Faisal facing the reality that he is not prepared for his dream of attending an American University, begins looking for work. His Kenyan-raised, Sudanese-American friend Adil, promises to find Faisal a job. After a journey by bus and train, the two arrive at a chicken farm. Only through trials and hardship, can Faisal learn the tough lessons necessary to gain ground in his new homeland.

Akin Okunrinboye, Nigeria/USA, 2013, 6min.
Kemi has been with Femi for five years now. She is tired of waiting, especially since the relationship does not seem to be going anywhere. She loves Femi, but she feels he is playing games. It’s the New Year, and it is time for progress. She must have progress in the relationship arena. She thinks she is going to get what she wants, but little does she know that Femi has different plans.

Sunny King, Nigeria/UK, 2013, 10min.
Two days before Lola’s dream wedding, her maid of honor Sandra stumbles on a secret that could change all of their lives forever. UNSPOKEN is a story of commitment to love and friendship in the face of societal taboos we dare not confront or speak of.

Frances Bodomo, Ghana/USA, 2013, 13min.
An African family, lost in America, travels to a Louisiana church to find a cure for their troubled child.

Lonesome Solo, Ivory Coast, 2012, 70min.
After his parents passed away, Tony made his way by selling cigarettes on Princess Street, famous in Abidjan for its bars, dance clubs and exciting nightlife. Now 21 years old he is desperate for a way out of the ghetto. His older brother Mike has found a job on the police force, while Ange their younger sister, is learning to become a hairdresser – but she secretly moonlights as a prostitute in order make ends meet. Looking for easy money, Tony eventually turns to gambling and is dragged further down into the seedy underworld of Wassakara – until he commits a shocking crime that irrevocably changes his life. Now an outlaw, he goes on the run and is relentlessly pursued by the police, his own brother among them.

Chinonye Chukwu, USA/Nigeria, 2012, 75min.
ALASKALAND tells the story of Chukwuma, an Alaska-raised Nigerian struggling to balance his cultural heritage with the pressures of the world around him. After a family tragedy forces a two-year estrangement from his younger sister Chidinma, the siblings reconnect in their hometown. Although their time apart has created new frictions, they find their reconciliation bringing them closer to each other and to their roots in this gorgeous, knowing debut film.

David ‘Tosh’ Gitonga, Kenya, 2012, 96min.    
A young aspiring actor from upcountry Kenya dreams of becoming success in the big city. In pursuit of this and to the chagrin of his brother and parents, he makes his way to Nairobi: the city of opportunity. He quickly understands why Nairobi is nicknamed Nairobbery as he is robbed of all his money and belongings and left alone in a city where he doesn’t know a soul. Luck, or the lack of it, brings him face to face with two groups of downtown crooks and he forms a friendship with a young small time gang leader who takes him in. He is quickly drawn into a new world of theft and violence, even as he still tries to pursue his dream of becoming an actor. Keeping the two worlds separate proves to be a contest for him as he struggles to survive in this unknown world called Nairobi.

Mel Stuart

mel stuartBiography: Mel Stuart, born Stuart Solomon , was an American film director and producer. He directed the fantasy-musical Willy Wonka & the Chocolate Factory (1971), as well as other features, including If It’s Tuesday, This Must Be Belgium (1969), One is a Lonely Number (1972) and Running on the Sun: The Badwater 135 (2000). Stuart also directed feature documentaries, including Four Days in November and Wattstax.

In addition he has directed or produced over 180 films including movies of the week, The Triangle Factory Fire Scandal, Bill, The Chisholms, and Ruby and Oswald, the television series Ripley’s Believe it Not, and the documentaries The Making of the President 1960, 1964, and 1968, The Hobart Shakespeareans, The Rise and Fall of the Third Reich, Man Ray — The Prophet of the Avant-Garde, George Plimpton and the Philharmonic and The Poet’s View.

He was awarded four Emmy awards, an Academy Award nomination, a Peabody, and numerous other awards. Stuart also served as president of the International Documentary Association for two years.

[Source: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Mel_Stuart]

Films Shown in AFF, Inc. Programs:
Wattstax (2006, 2007).

Selected Filmography:
Four Days in November (1964);
If It’s Tuesday, This Must Be Belgium (1969);
I Love My Wife (1970);
Willy Wonka & the Chocolate Factory (1971);
One is a Lonely Number (1972);
Wattstax (1973);
Brenda Starr (1976);
Welcome Back, Kotter (1977);
Ruby and Oswald (1978);
Mean Dog Blues (1978);
The Triangle Factory Fire Scandal (1979);
The Chisholms (1980).

Ramadan Suleman

Biography: Ramadan Suleman was born in 1955 in South Africa. He studied at the School for Research in African Theater and continued his career in theater as an actor and director. He also studied film in Paris and London and has worked as assistant director with two of Africa’s legendary filmmakers: Med Hondo on Lumière Noire and Souleymane Cissé on Waati. Suleman’s short film The Devil’s Children won a Certificate of Merit at the Chicago Film Festival. Fools was his first feature film. The award-winning Lettre d’amour zoulou / Zulu Love Letter (2004) and the documentary Zwelidumile (2010) are his most recent films.

Films Shown in AFF, Inc. Programs:  
Fools (1998).

Fools (1997);
Zulu Love Letter (2004);
Zwelidumile (2010).

Khady Sylla

Biography: Khady Sylla was born in 1963 in Senegal and studied philosophy in Paris from 1986 to 1992. She taught basic education to migrant workers and wrote several novels. She has worked and participated in different projects, including an adaptation of Le jeu de la mer, in collaboration with Jean Rouche. She taught German at Université Cheikh Anta Diop in Dakar, Senegal.

Films Shown in AFF, Inc. Programs:
Colobane Express (2000).

Les Bijoux (1997);
Colobane Express (1999);
Une fenêtre ouverte (2005);
Monologue de la muette, Le (2008).

A Trip to the Country

Jean-Marie Teno, Cameroon, 2000, 75 min.

Director: Jean-Marie Teno
Country: Cameroon
Year: 2000
Running Time: 75 min.
Language: Bamileke and French

A Trip to the Country, Jean-Marie Teno, Cameroon, 2000, 75 min.
With irony and humor, this film questions the validity of development discourse which deems all things European to be modern and all things African to be archaic. Retracing the travels of his youth, the director documents his own voyage from Yaounde, the capital, to his village, Bandjoun. Along the way, he meets ordinary people and listens to their hopes, disappointments, and frustrations. It is a thoughtful meditation on the very definition of modernity of the African descent.

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Jean-Marie Teno

Biography: Jean-Marie Teno, Africa’s preeminent documentary filmmaker, has been producing and directing films on the colonial and post-colonial history of Africa for over twenty years. Films by Jean-Marie Teno have been honored at festivals worldwide: Berlin, Toronto, Yamagata, Cinema du Reel, Visions du Reel, Amsterdam, Rotterdam, Liepzig, San Francisco, London. Teno has been a guest of the Flaherty Seminar, an artist in residence at the Pacific Film Archive of the University of California, Berkeley, and has lectured at numerous universities. Most recently, he was a visiting artist at Amherst College as a 2007-08 Copeland Fellow.

[Source: http://www.jmteno.us/filmmaker.html]

Films Shown in AFF, Inc. Programs:
Yellow Fever Taximan (1993, 1998);
Afrique, je te plumerai / Africa, I Will Pluck You Clean (1993, 1998);
Head in the clouds (1997, 1998);
Clando (1997, 1998);
Mister Foot (1998);
A Trip to the Country (2000);
Alex’s Wedding (2004, 2011);
Le Malentendu colonial (2005, 2006, 2007);
Sacred Places (2009);
Chief! (2006).

Hommage (1985);
Yellow Fever Taximan (1985);
La gifle et la caresse (1987);
Bikutsi Water Blues (1988);
The Last Trip (1990);
Mister Foot (1992);
Afrique, je te plumerai /Africa, I Will Pluck You Clean (1992);
Head in the clouds (1994);
Clando (1996);
Chief! (1999);
A Trip to the Country (2000);
Alex’s Wedding (2002);
Le Malentendu colonial (2004);
Sacred Places (2009).

Pascal Tessaud

Biography: Pascal Tessaud is born in Paris and grew up in working class projects around Paris. After studying Literature, Cinema and Philosophy at Nanterre University, he worked 3 years at Saint Denis in an association before starting directing films.

He has done three short films: Noctambules in 2003, with the Palestinian actress Hiam Abbass, L’Été de Noura in 2005, Facies in 2008 and Slam, ce qui nous brule (Words are burning us) about the french Poetry slam Movement in 2007 which has been screened in 35 countries.

[Source: http://www.imdb.com/name/nm2018249/bio?ref_=nm_ov_bio_sm]

Films Shown in AFF, Inc. Programs:
L’Été de Noura (2006).

Noctambules (2003);
L’Été de Noura (2005);
Slam, ce qui nous brule (2007);
Faciès (2008);
Mantes-la-Jolie sur le Mic’ (2009);
Alien (2010);
Saint-Denis (2010);
Marseille (2011);
La Ville Lumière (2012);
Chants, sueur et larmes (2012);
Brooklyn (2014).

Karen Thorsen

Biography: Award-winning writer/filmmaker Karen Thorsen finds inspiration at the intersection of art and social justice. Her heroes are game-changers, the artist/activists who shape history – and her films tell their stories without narration, weaving first-person narratives with archival treasures. Thorsen began as a writer. After graduating from Vassar College, with a year at the Sorbonne in Paris, she was an editor for Simon & Schuster, a journalist for LIFE Magazine, and a foreign correspondent for TIME. Screenwriting followed, then directing. Her first feature-length documentary in which she wrote, produced, and directed was James Baldwin: The Price of the Ticket. This work is now considered a documentary film classic.

Films Shown in AFF, Inc. Programs: 
James Baldwin: The Price of The Ticket (1997).

James Baldwin: The Price of The Ticket (1989);
The Papp Project (2001);
Untold Stories of the ER (2004);
Joe Papp in Five Acts (2010).

Raymond Tiendré

Biography: Raymond Tiendré, director of Interferences, was born in Burkina Faso in 1957. He studied cinematography in Ouagadougou before completing his Masters degree in cultural films in Paris. Since 1983, he has directed almost twenty films. Ielsolma won the Prix Special du Jury, Musée le L’homme. 12 milliards dans le caniveau and Les tamacheks de l’oudalan won Mention Spéciale du Jury, Vues d’Afrique.

Films Shown in AFF, Inc. Programs:
Interferences (1997).

Interferences (1994);
L’industrie audiovisuelle au Ghana (2001);
Lili et Madou (2004);
Les dessous du cinéma burkinabè (2010).

João Daniel Tikhomiroff

Biography: Filmmaker João Daniel Tikhomiroff is the founder and Mixer’s current Executive Chairman. His presence has been a constant in the international advertising industry. As an advertising film director he won 41 Lions at the Cannes Lions International Advertising Festival, becoming the second most awarded director of the festival. He is the only Latin American director selected among the 32 best in the world in The Commercial Book (D&AD British Yearbook) and has been awarded at the main Brazilian festivals like the Festival do Rio (Grand Prix, Gold and Silver), Anuário de Criação of the Clube de Criação of São Paulo (Gold Silver and Bronze), Prêmio Caboré, among others. João has produced dozens of drama series and documentaries for the main international and national TV networks, receiving various awards and nominations. He directed the feature film Besouro (Disney-Miravista/Globo Filmes) which was selected and awarded in various countries and festivals like Taormina (Italy), Berlin Festival, ReelWorldFilm Festival (Toronto), Sitges (Spain), Pan African Film Festival (Los Angeles) and three Awards of Brazilian Cinema (Brazilian Academy of Cinema).

[Source: http://www.imdb.com/name/nm1700273/bio?ref_=nm_ov_bio_sm]

Films Shown in AFF, Inc. Programs:
Besouro [Beetle] (2011).

Besouro [Beetle] (2009);
Roberto Carlos Especial – Reflections (2012);
Now, Yes! (2013).

Samuel Tilman

Biography: Samuel Tilman has a doctorate in history from the ULB in Belgium. For the past few years, he has devoted himself to direction and production. He is the founder of Eklektik Productions with Nicolas de Borman, Fabrizio Rongione and Stephane Heymans. During his academic training (ULB, Oxford), his research focused on the nineteenth century and colonial history. His doctoral thesis was awarded by the Academy of Sciences. He is also co-initiator of the project digitizing and repatriation of archival for which he is prizewinner of the Bernheim Foundation.

Films Shown in AFF, Inc. Programs:
Kongo: 50 Years of Independence of Congo – The Wild Chase [La Course effrénée] (2012).

Anss an extraordinary strugglee (2006);
Mfumu Matensi, l’oncle missionnaire (1996);
Kongo: 50 Years of Independence of Congo – The Wild Chase [La Course effrénée] (2010).