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.

  • African Cinema in the Nineties
  • By 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 … read more»

  • Ouaga Hip Hop Festival
  • By 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 … read more»

  • Akiedah Mohamed Reviews White Wedding
  • 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»

  • The African Slave Trades: Across the Indian Ocean
  • By 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 … read more»

  • Expanding Artistic Horizons
  • By 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 … read more»

  • Sembene Remembered
  • By 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 … read more»

  • Cinema
  • By 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 … read more»

  • Sembène the Ceddo*
  • By 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 … read more»

  • Interview with Branwen Okpako
  • By Andrew Dosunmu
  • AD: What do you want people to take out of your themes? And what experience do you want people to get?

    BO: Okay, let me not be vain about it. I want people to leave Dirt for Dinner having learned … read more»

  • AFF 2006 Outdoor Series
  • By 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 … read more»

  • Interview with Jean-Marie Teno
  • By Horst Rutsch
  • Directing both documentary and fiction, Jean-Marie Teno frequently shoots his films himself, often in the reflexive and provocative style of the first person narrative. Born in 1954, in Famleng, Cameroon, Teno studied communication at the University of Valenciennes and graduated … read more»

  • 55th Berlin Film Festival Focuses on Africa
  • By 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 … read more»

  • 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 … read more»

  • Madame Brouette: A Film by Moussa Sene Absa
  • By Françoise Bouffault

  • I’ve always been very attracted to films made in Senegal probably I have been there, exploring Dakar’s neighborhoods. I have sat with women around the dancing circle in Medina. I have strolled in the sandy streets of Niarri Tally, watched … read more»

  • Max and Mona
  • 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»

  • The 2004 Dhow Awards
  • By Kimani wa Wanjiru

    Golden Dhow
    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 … read more»

  • We, The Living
  • By Donald Levit
  • South African theater, jazz, video and commercial film director Ian Gabriel’s first feature, Forgiveness, offers a sensitive probing of the realities of apartheid and its human toll and legacy.

    One of twenty-four films from twelve countries at the multi-media … read more»