Summer Series: AFRICA 411 – An Evening of Short Films


We’re kicking off our annual Summer Series this year on Staten Island! This coming Wednesday, June 17th at 7:00pm we’re co-hosting AFRICA 411 – An Evening of Shorts with Staten Island Arts at the Culture Lounge! This is a FREE EVENT, you just have to register online here!

Get the 411 on African cultural realities through the eyes of several emerging film directors from the continent. Staten Island Arts Folklife is proud to partner with the African Film Festival, Inc. (AFF) of New York to produce this special evening in honor of the Cultural Feedback Project Community Archive. AFF is dedicated to advancing an enhanced understanding of African culture through the moving image. It offers diverse platforms for the wide distribution of African media through its flagship annual film festival and complementary year-round programming. The Cultural Feedback Project is thrilled to host a specially curated series that pays homage to “traditional culture and contemporary struggles” facing the African continent, as part of the exhibit’s programming. As a living and community-driven digital folklife archive, the Cultural Feedback Project seeks to tell the stories and showcase the cultural heritage of Staten Island’s three largest West African communities (Sierra Leone, Ghana and Liberia) from the inside out, in their own words and on their own terms. It also documents West African traditional arts for future generations. The films that make up Africa 411 each address ways in which traditional knowledge found in story telling and religious practice as well as daily life can be used to better understand and combat contemporary issues such as evolving gender roles, drug addiction, mental health, and the aftermath of political violence. A short Q & A with festival directors will follow the showing.

Featured Films Include:


Ekah Christa Assam, Cameroon, 2013, 26min
Set in a small village in Cameroon, Beleh examines the relationship between Ekema and his heavily pregnant wife, Joffi. The difficulty she faces in her pregnancy is made worse by demands of her selfish husband. One day there’s a mysterious role reversal between the sexes and Ekema gains a whole new perspective on his wife’s situation.



Soko Sonko
Ekwa Msangi, Kenya/USA, 2014, 22min.
When her mom gets sick, Kibibi’s dad must take her to the market to get her hair braided before school begins. Soko Sonko is a hilarious, fish-out-of-water roller-coaster of a journey about a well-intended dad who goes where no man has gone before…



Curse of an Addict (Documentary Short)
Lovinsa Kavuma, Zanzibar / Tanzania / 2013, 25min.
Seif a young Muslim and heroin addict believes he is cursed. In a battle to be free, Seif seeks help from a Shiek-a spiritual leader who conducts an exorcism and summons the curse on stage. She, arrives in the form of a spirit to confront Seif. She says he is a free man but there are conditions he must abide to in order to maintain his freedom from life of drugs.

Nicole Mackinlay Hahn

Biography: Nicole Mackinlay Hahn is an artist and filmmaker based in New York. Her experience and approach in documenting programs and people around the world, have established her as a premier director of socially conscious films. Nicole has worked extensively in Africa for an interactive installation project concerning workers in the garment industry. The resulting Mirror/Africa installation was featured in Barney’s New York, the New Museum, and the London College of Fashion. Her continued interest in the lives of workers led to The Welcome Table Project, commissioned by Louverture Films. She is the Director of Photography on The Shadow World, about the international arms trade.

Films Shown in AFF, Inc. Programs:
Burkina, All About Women (2015).

Hardihood (2002);
The Welcome Table Project (2013);
Burkina, All About Women (2015).

Burkina, All About Women

Director: Nicole Mackinlay Hahn
Country: Burkina Faso/USA
Running Time: 
11 min.
French and Mooré with English subtitles


Seeking to undo stereotypes about African women by looking at the professional lives of women in Burkina Faso, the film talks to a firefighter, a swimmer, a mushroom biologist, a mechanic, an astrophysicist, a rapper, and more–allowing women (all inspired by the legendary Princess Yennenga) to give voice to their own unique experience.

Eka Christa Assam

Biography: Eka Christa Assam is a Cameroonian filmmaker who started her filmmaking career as an actress in 2006. After a couple of years as an actress, she made her first six-minute short film, Doormat, which was selected into the Durban Talent Campus in 2012. Beleh is her second short film.

Films Shown in AFF, Inc. Programs:
Beleh (2014, 2015)

Doormat (2012);
Beleh (2013).