Our Programs

Thanks to initial grants from the Ford and Rockefeller Foundations, AFF and the Film Society of Lincoln Center have hosted major biennial film festivals devoted to works on Africa and the Diaspora since 1993. These popular events screened at Lincoln Center, the Brooklyn Museum of Art, and Brooklyn Academy of Music, also included panel discussions among media professionals and scholars at the Studio Museum in Harlem, the Museum for African Art, New York and Columbia Universities. Due to increasing demand and the number of quality African films now available, the festival has been presented annually since 1998. Although the African Film Festival is a non-competitive event and is not intended to be a film market, we invite many of the featured filmmakers to introduce their work and hold post-screening discussions. In addition, we sponsor a series of round-table discussions where African filmmakers from around the world can connect with film industry professionals in the U.S.


National Traveling Series

The National Traveling Series captures the best of the current Festival and is designed to bring the unique experience of watching African cinema to the broadest possible audience. The programming package may be tailored from the selection of feature films and shorts, and include promotional and educational material. Screenings are scheduled throughout the year by various cultural and educational institutions.

National Traveling Series 1995 – date

Educational Programs

AFF has created two programs to reach young audiences. The first, the Young Adults Education Program brings New York City middle and high school students to an annual matinee program during the Festival. Short films are screened that are age-appropriate and relevant to African history, geography, politics, and culture. AFF’s facilitator moderates dialogue with visiting directors after the screening.

AFF’s In-School Program was initiated in 2000 with a middle school of seventy-five students in one of New York City’s most disadvantaged neighborhoods. With EHSEH staff, AFF has developed a model curriculum that augments traditional materials with African films and visiting African artists and scholars. AFF is in the planning stages to expand the program to other schools, including a very active collaboration with Global Kids in recent years.

Educational Programs and Partners

International Partnerships

AFF contributes to many cross-cultural projects and has become a resource for programmers worldwide. The AFF Network reflects this unique perspective on the film industry. AFF has been to Burkina Faso to scout FESPACO since 1993. In the mid-1990s the Bob Marley Foundation hosted the African Film Festival at the Bob Marley Museum in Kingston, Jamaica. In 1996, AFF curated the film program of Africa: Art of a Continent, at the Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum, and, in 1997, went on to co-curate the African and African Diaspora Film Series for the 2nd Johannesburg Biennale. Recently, AFF partnered with the Celebration of African Heritage to co-curate a pan-African film festival in Brazil as well as Africala in Mexico. As our reputation for quality programming grows, so does the community of individuals and organizations committed to cultural understanding. In 2007 AFF met with partners in Barbados, Trinidad & Tobago, Sudan, Brazil, St. Kitts and Nevins, as well as organizers from North Africa and the Middle East. In 2010, AFF curated a program of shorts in St. Petersburg, Russia, in collaboration with Message to Man Festival and with Imagem dos Povos in Belo Horizonte, Brazil. In September 2012 AFF partnered with Lights, Camera, AFRICA!!! Film Festival in Lagos, Nigeria for the second year. The theme for the festival was “Shine Your Eye.” “Shine Your Eye” is a Nigerian expression urging one to look beneath the surface, and speaks to the need for active citizens to ask questions, seek answers, and possess their space.

Sierra Leone Cultural Conservation Program

The Sierra Leone Cultural Conservation Program (CCP), utilizes AFF’s resources to facilitate audiovisual production and exhibition, with renewed energy and reach, in Sierra Leone. The CCP, a program of AFF run by local artists and journalists, is a sustainable, ongoing program with a three-year youth audiovisual workshop at its core. The CCP workshop engages a diverse team of young Sierra Leoneans in the documentation of local culture, and in the creation of a public space where all Sierra Leoneans can celebrate their common heritage. Instructors guide participants in the production, dissemination, and archiving of media documentary projects. The program engages the greater Sierra Leonean community through regular radio spots airing excerpts of audio projects; exhibitions at the Sierra Leone National Museum; opportunities for the public to share their own stories through oral histories; screenings of local and other African films; and the establishment of a permanent, publicly-accessible audiovisual library.

Visit the CCP website

Community-based Programs

AFF’s bring African films directly to New York neighborhoods with limited cultural resources, taking African cinema out of the art-house and into community-based cultural institutions, public parks and other settings. These screening reach many who may be unable to attend our annual Festival due to cost or location.

Community-based programs partners have included cultural institutions and city agencies, such as Schomburg Center for Research in Black Culture, Aaron Davis Hall, City College, Ocularis, and the CityParks Foundation, Governors Island Preservation & Education Corporation, Queens Museum of Art, Bronx Museum of Art, Columbia University Institute of African Studies, just to name a few, to bring free film screenings, music and dance, workshops, panels and art shows to the public.

Community-based Programs


Current Programs

Save the Date for Governors Island!!

AFF’s Annual Family Day Celebration returns on Sunday, September 7, from 11:00am – 5:00pm!

RAIN DATE: Sunday, September 14, 11:00am – 5:00pm.

The sights and sounds of Africa are just a seven-minute ferry ride away! Please join African Film Festival, … read more»

2014 AFF SUMMER SERIES

Movies? Check! Live Music? Check! Free? Check! The Summer Series is back and we at AFF cannot wait to welcome you and yours to various NYC venues, as we celebrate the summertime with wonderful programs like “CINEMA UNDER THE STARS” … read more»

2014 WOMEN’S HISTORY MONTH SPECIAL

Mark your calendars for Thursday, March 13th! Come join Doc Watchers and the New York African Film Festival at Maysles Cinema Institute as we present two important documentaries “Joy, It’s Nina” and “Menstrual Man”, in honor of Women’s History Month!… read more»

18th NATIONAL TRAVELING SERIES

The 2013-14 AFF, Inc. Traveling Series package consists of nine films united by the underlying theme of young African voices in the age of new technology. These films reflect a new era of filmmaking, led by the emerging generation of … read more»