21st NATIONAL TRAVELING SERIES

In 2016-2017, African Film Festival, Inc. (AFF) celebrates the 21st anniversary of our National Traveling Series. Due to the demand for African films across the country, in 1995 AFF launched the series, which travels to cultural institutions, museums, and universities in ten to thirteen cities in the U.S. and in some Caribbean nations, in order to make the unique experience of watching African cinema available to a wider audience. The Traveling Series program consists of several feature and short films, including promotional and educational materials.

The 21st edition of the National Traveling Series is comprised of eight films presented under the theme of “Modern Days, Ancient Nights: 50 Years of African Filmmaking.”

Using Ousmane Sembène’s Black Girl as an initial marker of mainstream, African cinematic recognition, this year’s edition of the National Traveling Series traces the first generation of pan-African artists and activists who used cinema as a platform to project their ideals, namely of an autonomous, exuberant nation and people, ready for action and a socio-political status equal to their European counterparts. Decades later, a new generation continues to use film in inventive and fascinating ways —unpacking entrenched ideas of masculinity, domesticity, and invoking dialogue about the persistent struggle for upward socioeconomic mobility.

Within this dynamic, styles and genres are reshaped: narratives coalesce with broader pop culture and more insular vernacular traditions; old ways of communication overlap with an increasingly interdependent digital era. To follow Sembène’s legacy is to follow the ever-changing, kaleidoscopic paradigm that is African cinema, and its continual commitment showing the world the dimensional, complex ways that African nations matter.

If you have an interest in bringing the films of the 2016-2017 National Traveling Series to your community, please contact the African Film Festival office at 212.352.1720 or by email at info@africanfilmny.org for full details. Our team will be happy to work with you in order help bring African cinema to your community.


AFRICAN FILM FESTIVAL TRAVELING SERIES (2017):

SHORTS PROGRAM: QUARTIERS LOINTAINS

THE RETURN
YOHANN KOUAM, FRANCE, 2013, 22min.
In French with English subtitles
When the older brother he idolizes comes back home after a year away, Willy realizes that he doesn’t know him as well as he thought.

About the Director:
Yohann Kouam, born in France from Cameroonian parents, studied editing at Institut des Arts de Diffusion (IAD) in Brussels. After two shorts Fragments de vie and Les dimanches de Léa, he directed the internationally-acclaimed short, The Return.

THE SENSE OF TOUCH
JEAN-CHARLES MBOTTI MALOLO, FRANCE, 2015, 15min.
In French with English subtitles

Chloe and Louis are deaf and mute. They are also secretly in love, but they don’t admit it. Their gestures are substitutes for words, and as they dance, each word is choreography.

About the Director:
Jean-Charles Mbotti Malolo is a dancer who studied animation at the Emile Cohl School of Lyon. After his first short success, The Heart is a Metronome, Mbotti Malolo directed The Sense of Touch, which went on to be internationally awarded. His next short Please, Please, Please will focus on James Brown.

DESTINO
ZANGRO, FRANCE, 2015, 26min.
In French with English subtitles

Two young guys from the neighborhood, Loïc and Mehdi, have set up a little business filming Arabic wedding celebrations and then editing them in the “audiovisual laboratory” in their minivan. But when Mehdi starts to film the marriage of his pretty ex-girlfriend, fate steps in.

About the Director:
Born in France, Zangro grew up in Spain and Morocco before coming back to France where he founded Bien ou Bien Productions. After a TV movie and a web series shot in Morocco he directed Como à la Television in 2012, winner of the Urban Film Festival in Paris. In 2014 he directed the internationally acclaimed short

TOWARDS TENDERNESS
ALICE DIOP, FRANCE, 2016, 40min.
In French with English subtitles

An intimate exploration of a masculine territory in a French suburb, Towards Tenderness follows a group of vagrant men, while a universe is revealed where female bodies are nothing more than ghostly and virtual silhouettes.

About the Director:
In 2011, Alice Diop’s feature documentary Danton’s Death won the Library Award at the Cinéma du Réel Festival as well as the Etoile de la Scam 2012 Award. Shot in 2015, Towards Tenderness had its world premiere at Creteil Women International Film Festival and its United States premiere at NYAFF.


FEATURES PROGRAM:

AKOUNAK TEDLAT TAHA TAZOUGHAI (RAIN THE COLOR BLUE WITH A LITTLE RED IN IT)
CHRISTOPHER KIRKLEY, NIGER, 2015, 75min.
In Tamashek with English subtitles

An homage to the Western rock-drama, this first narrative feature in the Tuareg language is the universal story of one musician’s struggle to make it against all odds, set in the winner-takes-all Tuareg guitar scene in Agadez, Niger.

About the Director:
Chirstopher Kirkley is a music collector and archivist focused on the Sahel of West Africa. His work examines contemporary popular music in the evolving technological landscape, the interplay of localized traditions with global influences, and new modes of cultural transmission. He releases records under the label, Sahel Sounds, and maintains a blog exploring arts and music of the region. His film, Akounak Tedalat Taha Tazoughai, has received the Prix du Jury at F.A.M.E in Paris.

PRICE OF LOVE
HERMON HAILAY, ETHIOPIA, 2015, 99min.
In Amharic with English subtitles

A cab driver in Addis, Ababa intervenes in a fight between a prostitute and her ex-boyfriend, who sells women
to “work” in the Middle East, causing his taxi to be stolen. He finds himself caught up a relationship with the
woman, which makes him confront his past and discover the price of love.

About the Director:
Hermon Hailay is one of Ethiopia’s leading female screenwriters and directors, with several critically and commercially successful films to her name: Baleguru and Yaltasbrew. In 2014, she was one of the five young Ethiopian filmmakers chosen to attend the Cannes Film Festival “From Addis to Cannes Workshop”. The filmmakers were chosen from a significant group of applicants from Ethiopia’s promising film community.

MARTHA & NIKI
TORA MÅRTENS, SWEDEN, 2015, 93min.
In English and Swedish with English subtitles

In 2010, Martha Nabwire and Niki Tsappos participated in the biggest international Street Dance Competition, Paris’s Juste Debout. It was the first time two women became world champions of hip hop. This documentary depicts their love of dance and of each other, and the ways in which friendship can be put to the test.

About the Director:
Tora Mkandawire Mårtens was born in Stockholm, but is now based in South Africa working as a director and a producer. Mårtens directed and produced the short film, Tommy, in Cuba, which was competing for a Golden Bear at the Berlin Film Festival in 2008. Her first feature documentary, Colombianos, has been awarded and shown at film festivals around the world. Her new feature documentary, Martha & Niki, was the opening film at Nordic Panorama, and had its international premiere at IDFA 2015. The film received a special mention award for best Nordic documentary in 2015.