Essays & Articles

Since the first NY African Film Festival in 1993, AFF has cultivated an international network of industry professionals and media scholars to contribute insights to the historical and aesthetic significance of works by filmmakers in Africa and the Diaspora. Our collection of literature complements audience experiences of African cinema with the cultural contexts and production values that inform a finished work. It reflects the aspirations of AFF contributors as well as the directors themselves through interviews, film reviews, essays, and film industry observations.

  • When Film Is a Festival
  • By Jeffrey Ruoff
  • While millions of Americans experience the rise and fall of summer blockbusters, enthusiastic audiences see radically different movies in jam-packed theaters. I’m not thinking of your local multiplex, where the latest Woody Allen movie might sneak onto one of the … read more»

  • Mahen Bonetti Featured on Indigo Tongues!
  • AFF’s leading lady, Mahen Bonetti, gave a charming interview for episode 6 of Indigo Tongues’ Women in Media Segment. She discussed her background and upbringing in Sierra Leone, as well as her cinematic influences, and the history of the New … read more»

  • AFF Director Mahen Bonetti on NPR
  • Mahen Bonetti with director Abderrahmane Sissako in 2013.

    In case you missed it, this past Monday, February 9th, AFF’s Founder and Director, Mahen Bonetti was interviewed on NPR’s All Things Considered. She and director Abderrahmane Sissako discussed Mr. Sissako’s read more»

  • Selma and the American-ness of the Academy
  • By Iquo B. Essien
  • Last week, I attended a screening of Ava DuVernay’s Selma about Martin Luther King, Jr. and the 1965 voting rights marches of Alabama.

    Desperate for inspiration, fresh off my second rejection from Sundance Screenwriters Labs—this time, unlike last year’s form … read more»

  • MAX and MONA Review
  • By Sean Jacobs
  •  Max and Mona is a post-apartheid South African comedy. Set in and around the country’s industrial capital Johannesburg, it revolves around young Max Bua (Mpho Lovingo), the village mourner of a small, provincial town who, despite inheriting his grandfather’s unique … read more»

  • A Matter of Style
  • By Patty Chang
  • Among the noteworthy films featured this year at the New York African Film Festival at Lincoln Center was George Amponsah and Cosima Spender’s documentary, The Importance of Being Elegant, which examines the Congolese subculture centered around the worship of clothes … read more»

  • Interview with Jean-Marie Teno
  • By Horst Rutsch
  • Born in 1954 in Famleng, Cameroon, Jean-Marie Teno studied communication at the University of Valenciennes.  Since graduating in 1984 with a degree in filmmaking, he has been living and working in France.  Directing both documentary and fiction, Teno frequently shoots … read more»

  • By Zina Saro-Wiwa
  • Hello Nigeria! is actually the first in a series of programmes that I am doing where I attempt to dissect another culture through examining their celebrity magazines. The series is called Hello World!, but it was seeing the Nigerian … read more»

  • The Light at the End of the Dark Continent
  • By Donald J. Levit
  • Man may work from sun to sun

    But woman’s work is never done.

             -Traditional (origin unknown)

    Little gems from the Third World float westward once in a while, under- or non-promoted/distributed, for limited runs, or remora-like hitch a ride on … read more»

  • White Wedding Review
  • By Akiedah Mohamed
  • The preview of White Wedding at Atlas studios in Johannesburg was packed yet people squeezed into any and every available space.  Within minutes of watching the film, I understood why there’s such a buzz ahead of its cinematic release; it’s … read more»

  • Cinemas of the South
  • By Imunga Ivanga
  • Cinematic production originating in the South is often understood as a cinema of transition. Unique luxury, it takes the time to paint a world that is distant and yet so close, both in its refusal of entertainment and in its … read more»

  • U-Carmen eKhayelitsha Review
  • By Marion Manigo
  • When I first saw U-Carmen eKhayelitsha at the 13th New York African Film Festival in April 2006, I was mesmerized.  Because the film made such a strong social statement with its casting of Carmen, I was forced to … read more»

  • The Rwandan Holocaust On Film
  • By Kimani wa Wanjiru
  • “Let me try and describe Kigali on April 1994,” Nick Hughes, a documentary cameraman with Vivid Features told and attentive audience in Harvard. “A convoy of Belgium paratroopers was going to a Catholic mission to rescue a white expatriate and … read more»

  • The Role of Music in African Cinema
  • By Beatriz Leal Riesco
  • Even today, an analysis of the complex role of music in film is often forgotten by critics, many of whom remain prostrate before the dictatorship of the image. Yet as a manifestation of culture, music has a privileged position with … read more»