Essays

  • The Woman in Contemporary African Cinema: Protagonism and Representation
  • Beatriz Leal Riesco
  • “Clearly, African cinema, too, like African political leadership, cannot hope to advance without the presence of women on the scene…. Sembène was considered a significant feminist…  But even his films will not be satisfactory… until we have affirmative action in Africa to include women in politics, in classrooms, in film schools, and in every other […]

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  • African Cuisine…The Abidjan Allocodrome
  • Isabelle Boni-Claverie
  • The night is studded with stars. Not in the sky, but at human height, swinging flimsily. Shadows flicker inside these brief yellow shafts then disappear, blurred by a screen of thick smoke, swallowed up by the surrounding darkness. A vague humming sound remains. Smells prevail. A powerful scent of charcoal, burning flesh, tainted meat and […]

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  • Anna Boden
  • Biography: Born in 1976 in Berkeley, California, Anna Boden is an American film director, cinematographer, editor, and screenwriter best known as the co-writer of the 2006 film Half Nelson. She is also famous for her collaborations with fellow filmmaker Ryan Fleck. While studying film at NYU, Boden met Ryan Fleck on the set of a […]

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  • Film and History in Africa: A Critical Survey of Current Trends and Tendencies
  • Mbye Cham
  • Like other forms of creative expression by Africans, filmmaking constitutes a form of discourse and practice that is not just artistic and cultural, but also intellectual and political. It is a way of defining, describing and interpreting African experiences with those forces that have shaped their past and that continue to shape and influence the […]

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  • Abidjan’s Lout
  • Isabelle Boni-Claverie
  • A real bad boy, in the true sense of the word, is an outlaw. A boy who comes from the back streets. He is against society. Abou Bourguiba, ex-boss of the Mapless, one of the main gangs in Treichville The gloglo (ownership of a nouchi) Abidjan is made up of ten areas, simply referred to […]

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  • Coming of Age in Nigerian Moviemaking
  • Tunde Adegbola
  • The 1970s signalled the beginning of indigenous efforts in Nigerian filmmaking. Francis Oladele made Kongi’s Harvest written by Wole Soyinka in 1971 and soon after that, Ola Balogun made Alpha in Paris. Balogun later followed with other works like Amadi, Ajani Ogun, Money Power and others films, while Jab Adu made Bisi, Daughter of the […]

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  • Ghanaian Popular Cinema and the Magic in and of Film
  • Birgit Meyer
  • Since the late 1980s, a booming video feature film industry evolved in Ghana. While established filmmakers both within and outside the state-owned Ghana Film Industry Corporation (GFIC) found it extremely difficult to generate funds for film production, formally untrained people of various backgrounds — from cinema projectionists to car mechanics — took ordinary VHS video […]

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  • African Cinema in the Nineties
  • Mbye Cham
  • For African cinema, the final decade of this century has been a mixed bag of promises, hopes, achievements, and continued struggle and frustration with the same set of issues and challenges that have always confronted filmmakers throughout the continent. Hopes and projections of political and economic renewal and transformation under the aegis of World Bank-mandated […]

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  • Ouaga Hip Hop Festival
  • Muriel Placet-Kouassi
  • Ouagadougou is much more than the capital of Burkina Faso, it is one of the cultural capitals of the world. The city hosts several major festivals: the International Craft Show of Ouagadougou, the Festival International de Théâtre et de Marionnettes de Ouagadougou (The International Theater and Puppets Festival of Ouagadougou), the Jazz Festival of Ouagadougou […]

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  • The African Slave Trades: Across the Indian Ocean
  • Anonymous
  • The Arab world’s lost memory of African enslavement dominated the panel discussions that followed the screening of The African Slave Trades: Across the Indian Ocean. The film’s narrator, Nigerian writer and Nobel Laureate Wole Soyinka, noted that “each time an attempt has been made or even the actual product of this inquiry has been placed […]

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  • Expanding Artistic Horizons
  • Joyce White
  • The tall sentry at Paris’s Branly Museum greeted me with its left arm stretched above its head, palm forward, breasts sagging. Its neatly bearded regal face was cut with minute scarification and set above a long and graceful neck draped with a three-string necklace. I continued gazing at the exquisite androgynous wooden statue and finally […]

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  • Sembene Remembered
  • Sean Jacobs
  • On Tuesday, May 27, 2008, AFF co-produced a very special evening at the French institute Alliance Français, titled “Homage To Ousmane Sembène.” The evening began with a screening of a short documentary directed by Mamadou Niang on the life of Sembène. Fadhima Thiam, actress and personal friend of Sembène, read excerpts from one of Sembène’s […]

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  • Cinema
  • Emilie de Brigard
  • Soon after its invention in France in 1895, cinema came to Africa. Over the next century, its development was shaped by European colonialism and its postcolonial aftermath. By 2005, however, African cinema had come of age. In the beginning, only Europeans had cameras, but Africans gradually gained control of the medium and the message. Africans […]

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  • Sembène the Ceddo*
  • Olivier Barlet
  • Young Ousmane was not predisposed to become the master of African cinema. His family, fishermen from Zinguidor, wasn’t wealthy or from a noble background. But when he was born in 1923, Casamance had just been “pacified”, after three centuries of active resistance. He grew up in a dominated world, then, but one that kept on […]

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  • AFF 2006 Outdoor Series
  • Rumbidzai Bwerinofa
  • Hello, it’s me again, the African Film Addict, and I am still addicted. However, this year, I gave up the summer to work on improving myself professionally (whatever that means). When I received the emails and postcards about the New York African Film Festival’s outdoor series in Harlem, I steeled myself and pledged to stay […]

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  • 55th Berlin Film Festival Focuses on Africa
  • Ogova Ondego
  • The 55th edition of the Berlin International Film Festival was special to me in the sense that it not only focused on Africa and an African film won the Golden Bear, but that the world’s second largest audiovisual event imparted self-organization and event management skills on twelve players in the African audiovisual field. With an […]

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  • News Clipping: 2005
  • Screenings of the AFF Traveling Series at the Museum of Fine Arts in Houston coincide with a major exhibition entitled African Art Now: Masterpieces from the Jean Pigozzi Collection. The exhibition will present thirty-one contemporary artists from fifteen African countries who live and work in Africa.† The vast majority of works in the exhibition reflect […]

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  • Sithengi’s Fight for Supremacy in Africa Could Cost Its Identity
  • Ogova Ondego
  • Southern African International Film and Television Market, Sithengi, could lose its identity as it re-brands itself as Cape Town World Cinema Festival (CTWCF). Pundits argue that Sithengi is trying to do too many things at the same time and that its vision could get blurred—if not lost—in the clutter. Although South Africa has taken a […]

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  • The 2004 Dhow Awards
  • Kimani wa Wanjiru
  • FEATURE FILMS Golden Dhow Maargam Directed by Rajiv Vijay India, 2003, 108 mins. An understanding evolves between a daughter and her father as they undertake a journey together that takes them through the feudal paths of the father’s ancestral village in Kerala and his radical past as a Marxist, an armed revolutionary among indigenous communities […]

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