The Film Society of Lincoln Center and African Film Festival, Inc. Announce Lineup For 24th New York African Film Festival, May 3-9

Akin Omotoso’s South African drama Vaya selected as Opening Night, Sewmehon Yismaw’s Ewir Amora Kelabi is Centerpiece
*Full festival line-up will be announced on Monday, April 9th


Vaya, Akin Omotoso

We have joined forces once again with African Film Festival, Inc., to present the 24th New York African Film Festival, May 3-9. The festival’s theme, “The Peoples’ Revolution,” taps into the pulse of protest and the calls for change bubbling up throughout the peoples of the world, a reform charge championed by a new wave of artists throughout Africa and its diaspora. The festival continues throughout May at Lehman College, Maysles Cinema, and the Brooklyn Academy of Music’s BAMcinématek. Across these venues, the festival will present a total of 25 feature-length films and 36 short films from 25 countries—celebrated African films from the continent and the diaspora.

“In Africa, as in most of the developing world, young people are the majority. These vibrant human beings are the engines driving today’s societal transformations,” said AFF Executive Director and NYAFF Founder Mahen Bonetti. “They believe in traditional African values, African solutions to African problems, and in Africa’s right to the bounty of her own resources. In this year’s films, we see a generation of young people concerned with reclaiming what is rightfully theirs—their cultural identity, their homes, their dignity.”

Opening Night will see the U.S. premiere of award-winning South African director Akin Omotoso’s Vaya, a moving film about three strangers on a train to the city whose lives eventually collide. The film won the Special Jury Prize for Outstanding Film at the 2016 Africa International Film Festival (AFRIFF) and took the Best Screenplay prize at Africa Magic Viewer’s Choice Awards in 2017. A reception will follow at the Frieda and Roy Furman Gallery at the Walter Reade Theater. Tickets for the movie and Opening Night Reception are $150 and are available online at africanfilmny.org. Regular festival prices apply to tickets for the screening only and they can be purchased at filmlinc.org.


Ewir Amora Kelabi, Sewmehon Yismaw

Ethiopian filmmaker Sewmehon Yismaw’s drama Ewir Amora Kelabi will have its world premiere as the Centerpiece selection on Friday, May 5. Based on a true story, this remarkable tale is about one’s journey to find a better life and honor one’s family, highlighting the plight of displaced people worldwide.

Other films taking up this theme include the Tunisian dramedy Zizou, set at the outset of the Arab Spring; the South African drama Kalushi, based on a true story during the Soweto uprisings; the South African documentary Uprize!, about a peaceful protest of the apartheid government of South Africa in the 1970s that turned into a slaughter; the documentary Malcolm X: Struggle for Freedom, a rarely screened repertory title chronicling the American leader as he took on global issues; and Footprints of Pan-Africanism, a documentary on the role of Africans in the independence movement.

The FSLC segment concludes with “Art and Activism: Personal Journeys,” a town hall event with artists of various disciplines discussing how their art serves as activism, at the Elinor Bunin Monroe Film Center Amphitheater. It includes a digital art exhibition exploring dance and movement via virtual reality.

Tickets will go on sale Thursday, April 20. A pre-sale to Film Society members will begin Tuesday, April 18. See more and save with the 3+ film discount package.

Following its opening at Film Society of Lincoln Center, the NYAFF heads to other New York City institutions throughout May. On May 10, the festival presents an evening of film and discussion at Lehman College in the Bronx, in conjunction with the New York City Mayor’s Office of Media Entertainment’s inaugural “One Book, One New York” program. On May 19, the festival lands at Maysles Cinema in Harlem for a three-day program of documentaries. As is its tradition, the festival concludes over Memorial Day Weekend (May 26-29) at the Brooklyn Academy of Music (BAMcinématek) as part of its popular dance and music festival DanceAfrica.

The programs of AFF are made possible by the generous support of the National Endowment for the Arts, New York State Council on the Arts, NYC Department of Cultural Affairs, Bradley Family Foundation, International Organization of La Francophonie, Domenico Paulon Foundation, New York Community Trust, NYC & Company, French Cultural Services, Manhattan Portage Bags, City Bakery, Black Hawk Imports, Voss Water, South African Consulate General, Consulate General of Sweden in New York, Hudson Hotel, and Royal Air Maroc.


Uprize!, Sifiso Khanyile

FILMS & DESCRIPTIONS

All screenings take place at the Elinor Bunin Munroe Film Center (144 West 65th Street) unless otherwise noted

Opening Night
Vaya
Akin Omotoso, South Africa, 2016, 115m
Zulu with English subtitles
Three strangers on a train traveling from the coastal province of KwaZulu-Natal to Johannesburg are bound by interlocking destinies. Nkulu (Sibusiso Msimang), charged with retrieving his father’s remains from the capital for burial, is unaware that a whole other set of relatives have their own plans. Zanele (Zimkhitha Nyoka), chaperoning a young girl en route to reuniting with her singer mother, is given an exciting offer to appear on television that may be more than meets the eye. Nhlanhla (Sihle Xaba), excited by the prospect of getting rich quick, gets caught up in criminal activities. Imagine a South African spin on Amores Perros and you’re on the right path. U.S. Premiere
Wednesday, May 3, 7:00pm* (Q&A with Akin Omotoso)
Friday, May 5, 2:00pm
*Walter Reade Theater, 165 W 65th Street

Centerpiece
Ewir Amora Kelabi
Sewmehon Yismaw, Ethiopia, 2016, 85m
Amharic with English subtitles
Based on a true story, this film chronicles the life of Major Tibebu Mesfin, who worked for the Dergue Regime in Ethiopia. During this time of ideological struggle and infighting among the regime’s leadership, Tibebu disappears and his wife is captured, imprisoned, and tortured. Years later, fueled by a deep-seated desire to help his ailing mother, Tibebu’s son leaves the town of Gonder to search for work. The result is an unpredictable adventure, the story of how far one man will go to fulfill his destiny, and a tale for the ages about the resilience of the human spirit. World Premiere

Preceded by:
Hairat
Harari and Oromiffa with English subtitles
Jessica Beshir, Ethiopia, 2016, 7m
For the past 35 years, Yussuf Mume Saleh journeys at night to the outskirts of the walled city of Harar to bond with his beloved hyenas. New York Premiere
Friday, May 5, 6:30pm (Q&A with Sewmehon Yismaw, Zekarias Tibebu Mesfin, and Jessica Beshir)
Tuesday, May 9, 1:30pm

Ayiti Mon Amour
Guetty Felin, Haiti, 2016, 88m
Haitian Creole, French, and Japanese with English subtitles
Set in Haiti five years after the devastating 2010 earthquake, Guetty Felin’s magical realist tale avoids the kinds of images of the disaster that saturated screens around the world. In his depiction of young Orphée’s grief over the loss of his father beneath the rubble of decimated buildings (represented in ghostly images that float beneath the ocean’s surface), Felin refuses to tell a story of victimhood. Instead, she gives the narrative back to the Haitian people, whose lives cannot be reduced headlines. And as her characters begin to heal, Felin suggests that the island will too. Co-presented with Cinema Tropical.

Preceded by:
Jojolo
Lebert Bethune, Jamaica/USA, 1966, 12m
A subtle study of cultural identity following a graceful young woman of Haitian descent who works as a fashion model and actress in cosmopolitan Paris. Cool, light, and lyrical in style, Bethune’s portrait has a deft thematic touch.
Sunday, May 7, 6:15pm (Q&A with Guetty Felin, Lebert Bethune)


Ayiti Mon Amour, Guetty Felin

Footprints of Pan-Africanism
Shirikiana Gerima, USA, 2017, 90m
The documentary ­­Footprints of Pan-Africanism revisits the era of Ghana’s emergence into independence, when Africans on the continent and in the diaspora participated in building a liberated territory. This movement, rooted in the determination to reassert black people’s humanity and recover from the impact of slavery and colonialism, constituted an essential, indispensable part of the global Pan-African vision for liberation, which in the 1950s, ’60s, and ’70s ushered in no less than a black political and cultural revolution. Footprints ultimately celebrates the challenges young generations continue to pose to those who have yet to pick up the baton of the great Pan-African dreamers. Co-presented with Africa-America Institute. New York Premiere

Preceded by:
Accra Power
Sandra Krampelhuber, Austria/Ghana, 2016, 49m
Accra Power focuses on the creative and artistic strategies of young Ghanaians situated at the crossroads of tradition and various belief systems, high technological and economic growth, infrastructural deficits and current energy crisis. U.S. Premiere
Sunday, May 7, 1:30pm (Q&A with Shirikiana Gerima, Sandra Krampelhuber, Andrea Verena Strasser)

Green White Green
Abba Makama, Nigeria, 2016, 102m
English and Pidgin with English subtitles
Shot on location in Lagos, Green White Green humorously explores social and political views commonly held throughout Nigeria, with each character representing one of the country’s three major ethnic groups. A story about classism and how people from different economic and cultural backgrounds think and behave, Green White Green plays with stereotypes to illustrate just how similar we are despite our diversity and prejudices. New York Premiere
Friday, May 5, 8:45pm (Q&A with Abba Makama) 

Kalushi
English, Afrikaans, and Tsotsi-taal with English subtitles
Mandla Dube, South Africa, 2016, 110m
Kalushi is a true story about Solomon Mahlangu, a 19-year-old hawker from the streets of Mamelodi, a ghetto township outside Pretoria, South Africa. After being brutally beaten by police during the 1976 Soweto uprisings, he goes into exile and joins the liberation movement; a series of violent events lead Mahlangu on a journey that culminates in his being forced to stand trial for his life, using the courtroom as his final battlefield. A hero of the struggle against apartheid, Mahlangu would become an international icon of South Africa’s liberation. New York Premiere
Saturday, May 6, 8:30pm (Q&A with Mandla Dube, Pearl Thusi)
Tuesday, May 9, 3:30pm


Play the Devil, Maria Govan

Kemtiyu, Cheikh Anta
Ousmane William Mbaye, Senegal, 2016, 94m
In Wolof and French with English subtitles
“The Universal Man,” “The Capital Contemporary,” “The Giant of Knowledge,” “The Last Pharaoh”: those were some of the newspaper headlines the day after the death of Senegalese historian, doctor, and politician Cheikh Anta Diop on February 7, 1986. Kemtiyu is a portrait of this trailblazing scholar—venerated by some, derided by others, and unknown to most—an honest, enlightened political figure who had an insatiable thirst for science and knowledge. New York Premiere
Thursday, May 4, 6:00pm (Q&A with Ousmane William Mbaye)

Mapantsula
Oliver Schmitz, South Africa, 1988, 100m
In English, Sotho, Zulu, and Afrikaans with English subtitles
Mapantsula was the first anti-apartheid feature film made by, for, and about black South Africans. Filmed inside Soweto, scored to the urban beat of “Township Jive” music, it has been called a South African The Harder They Come. Mapantsula tells the story of Panic, a petty gangster who gets caught up in the growing anti-apartheid struggle and has to choose between individual gain and standing united with others against the system. This film gives viewers an insider’s tour of township life and a taste of the vibrant popular cinema to come promised by the new, democratic South Africa.
Monday, May 8, 9:00pm

Noem My Skollie (Call Me Thief)
Daryne Joshua, South Africa, 2016, 125m
Afrikaans with English subtitles
Daryne Joshua’s debut feature is a portrait of life on the mean streets of Cape Town’s lawless Cape Flats in the 1960s. Barely into their teens, Abraham and his three friends form a gang, more out of self-preservation than malice. As they grow up, Abraham (now played by the intense Dann-Jacques Mouton) and his gang turn to petty thievery. After he is arrested, Abraham’s storytelling abilities protect him from the worst that prison life has to offer. Once he’s out, he hopes to reunite with his childhood sweetheart and get his stories down on paper—if, that is, his gang friends and society give him a chance. Noem My Skollie is both a tribute to the human need for stories—and storytellers—and a realistic look at youth gang behavior. New York Premiere
Thursday, May 4, 8:15pm (Q&A with Daryne Joshua)
Monday, May 8, 2:00pm

Play the Devil
Maria Govan, Trinidad, 2016, 90m
In Play the Devil, the prevailing poverty and lush beauty of Trinidad and the pulsating rhythms of Carnival are backdrop to a story where dreams and obsession collide. Gifted 18-year-old Gregory is his family’s only hope for financial success. When the naive young man meets James, a powerful, affluent businessman offering friendship and guidance, his world spins out of control. As James’s persistent advances become more intrusive and menacing, Gregory’s initial compliance changes to rejection and the fallout threatens to ruin his future and expose his secrets. Gregory and James face each other once again—on Carnival Monday, when young men cover themselves in blue paint, dress as devils, and become lost in the frenzy of drumming and howling. Co-presented with Cinema Tropical.
Friday, May 5, 4:30pm
Sunday, May 7, 8:45pm (Q&A with Maria Govan)


Kemtiyu, Cheikh Anta

Preceded by:
Malcolm X: Struggle for Freedom
Lebert Bethune, Jamaica/USA, 1967, 20m
Bethune’s film portrays Malcolm X at a time when his views were evolving to include what was going on in the world at large. It features interviews filmed during Malcolm X’s trip to Europe and Africa shortly before his assassination in the United States, interspersed with scenes of African rebellion.
Sunday, May 7, 4:15pm (Q&A with Sifiso Khanyile, Lebert Bethune)

Zizou
Férid Boughedir, Tunisia/ France, 2016, 99m
Arabic and French with English subtitles
In Boughedir’s tale of an unlikely hero, young college graduate Aziz, nicknamed “Zizou,” leaves his village on the border of Sahara for the capital in quest of a job. After he becomes a satellite-dish installer, interacting with people from all walks of life, he falls madly in love with a young woman who has ties to a mafia group working closely with the governmental regime. His quest to set her free becomes his reason for living, and he proceeds unconsciously into the growing tide of a revolution about to wash over Tunisia. U.S. Premiere
Saturday, May 6, 3:45pm (Q&A with Férid Boughedir)
Monday, May 8, 4:30pm


80, Muhannad Lamin

SHORTS PROGRAMS

Shorts Program 1: Quartier Lointains: Justice
Total runtime: 87m
The following selection was curated by the traveling shorts program Quartiers Lointains, which highlights films from distant quarters throughout Africa. 

80
Muhannad Lamin, Libya, 2012, 6m
Lamin’s 80 depicts a man on the two most important days of his life: the day he gets caught and imprisoned and the day he escapes. U.S. Premiere 

The Aftermath of the Inauguration of the Public Toilet at Kilometer 375
Omar El Zohairy, Egypt, 2014, 18m
Aftermath is an adaptation of Death of a Government Clerk, a short story by Anton Chekhov that takes a metaphorical approach to the idea of fear. U.S. Premiere

Kanye Kanye
Miklas Manneke, South Africa, 2013, 26m
In a South African township, where an argument over whether red or green apples are better causes the greatest divide in the town’s history, a young man, Thomas, falls in love with Thandi, who falls into the opposite camp. U.S. Premiere 

Madama Esther
Luck Razanajaona, Madagascar, 2013, 15m
After getting fired, Mrs. Esther, a housekeeper in her fifties, may no longer be able to bring her grandson to the sea. So to make extra money, she agrees to harbor clandestine cockfights in her yard. U.S. Premiere

A Place for Myself
Marie-Clémentine Dusabejambo, Rwanda, 2016, 22m
Five-year-old albino girl Elikia is made to feel unwanted by her classmates and neighbors. But her mother encourages her to embrace her differences. Together, they stand up for themselves and fight back against discrimination. U.S. Premiere
Saturday, May 6, 1:00pm


Marabout, Alassane Sy

Shorts Program 2: Shorts from Senegal
Total runtime: 101m

Marabout
Alassane Sy, Senegal, 2016, 18m
Wolof and French with English subtitles
Marabout is the story of a police detective in Dakar who pursues a group of street kids after they steal from him, only to learn about the dangers they are exposed to in their daily lives. U.S. Premiere 

Boxing Girl
Iman Djionne, Senegal, 2016, 26m
Wolof and French with English subtitles
Boxing Girl is a coming-of-age tale about a bored 17-year-old hairdresser who finds red boxing gloves after getting hit by a motorbike in Dakar. As soon as she puts them on, she gets mysteriously carried all over the city. U.S. Premiere

Dem! Dem!
 Pape Bouname Lopy, Marc Recchia, Christophe Rolin, Senegal, 2016, 26m
Wolof and French with English subtitles
A Senegalese fisherman finds a Belgian passport on a beach in Dakar and decides to use it. He soon crosses paths with N’Zibou, a wise man who measures the clouds and questions the man about his search for identity.

Maman(s)
Maïmouna Doucouré, Senegal/France, 2016, 20m
French with English subtitles
The lives of eight-year-old Aida and her family, who live in an apartment in the Parisian suburbs, are turned upside down when the girl’s father returns from their home country of Senegal—and he is not alone.

Samedi Cinema
Mamadou Dia, USA, 2017, 11m
Wolof and French with English subtitles
Two young Senegalese boys’ friendship is tested after they are determined to see one last film at the town movie theater before it closes.
Saturday, May 6, 6:15pm (Q&A with Mamadou Dia, Christophe Rolin, Pape Bouname Lopy)


My Third Eye, Nova Scott-James

Shorts Program 3: New York Shorts
Total runtime: 89m

Adam & Howa
Sarra Idris, Sudan, 2015, 8m
A couple’s story becomes a metaphor for the relationship between the Sudanese diaspora who fled the country after political turmoil and those who were left behind. New York Premiere

Farewell Meu Amor
Ekwa Msangi, Tanzania/USA, 2016, 10m
On the morning of the long-awaited reunion with his exiled family, a man is faced with the heartbreak of a different type—of parting from his lover. U.S. Premiere

My Third Eye
Nova Scott-James, USA, 2017, 4m
This silent meditation on the relationship between a little girl and the male family member sexually abusing her examines the pain of intergenerational black familial trauma, but also the gift of spiritual independence. U.S. Premiere

Rest in Power, Malik Carmichael
Ajay Ram, USA, 2014, 11m
In this experimental short, eulogizing the life of 16-year-old Malik, a hypothetical teenager from the west side of Harlem, documentary-style interviews with Malik’s friends and family piece together the exceptional existence and senseless death of a black boy genius. New York Premiere

Sketch
Mariama Diallo, USA, 2017, 24m
A police sketch artist believes he has stumbled upon the suspect from one of his drawings and that he must do the right thing. New York Premiere

Ududeagu
Akwaeke Emezi, Nigeria, 2014, 2m
Igbo with English subtitles
This contemporary visual folktale is rooted in concepts of loss, leaving, and loneliness. Emezi collaborated with her father to translate the voiceover, originally written in English, into Igbo, and narrated it herself as an exercise in engaging with the lost fluency of her language. New York Premiere 

Ṣoju
Oluwaseun Babalola, USA/Botswana/Nigeria/Sierra Leone, 2016, 30m
In this documentary, surfers, metal heads, and guerilla filmmakers explore their identities and culture in Sierra Leone, Botswana, and Nigeria. New York Premiere
Monday, May 8, 6:45pm (Q&A with Sarra Idris, Ekwa Msangi, Nova Scott-James, Mariama Diallo, S. Ajay Ram, Akwaeke Emezi, Oluwaseun Babalola) 

Free Exhibition and Town Hall Event

Elinor Bunin Munroe Film Center Amphitheater, 144 West 65th Street 

Digital Art Exhibition
Afro Promo #1 (Kinglady) + Afripedia – Dance Battle 360° + Body Mechanics
In Afro Promo #1 (Kinglady), performance artist and choreographer Nora Chipaumire explores the influence of comic book heroes on the American immigrant experience to unpack aspects of African masculinity and explore the creation of a Black, African, male-female superhero. This will be accompanied by a new, interactive piece from the Afripedia collective titled Afripedia – Dance Battle 360°, a virtual reality showcase of contemporary African street dance culture, an immersive experience that allows anyone, anywhere to experience dance from the continent firsthand; and Body Mechanics, a short experimental dance film by Brooklyn-based artist Keisha Knight remixing archival films by Thomas Edison to explore early cinema’s fascination with the exotic and the electric.
May 3-9  

Town Hall Event
Art and Activism: Personal Journeys
Join us for a panel featuring the most illustrious interdisciplinary artists from the international African diaspora, who will discuss the visual and social themes underscoring the festival. Guests include Zimbabwe-born, Brooklyn-based choreographer Nora Chipaumire (via Skype); Ethiopian and Eritrean film producers Teddy Goitom and Senay Berhe, who produced Afripedia; Darlene and Lizzy Okpo, designers of William Okpo; and Raquel Cepeda, filmmaker and author of Bird of Paradise.
Tuesday, May 9, 7:00pm

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.

 

 

Help us advance our mission

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Thank you so much for your support of the African Film Festival!

For 26 years AFF has connected audiences to the uniquely powerful talent of creators from Africa and her Diaspora. At AFF, we believe that the advancement of African people—and the advancement of all people—begins with communication, knowledge, and understanding, and we use film as a vehicle to drive that change.

In the past year, we have been energized by the increased participation from younger audiences at both our community and educational programming. Engaging and nurturing our youth is a focal point of AFF’s work, but we can only do so with your assistance.

In 2017, we look forward to providing more new and exciting programs as we seek to shine a light on the next wave of creators whose voices, we believe, need to be a part of the global conversation. We ask for your support to AFF this giving season.

Whether you’ve attended any of our screenings at the annual New York African Film festival, our many community film screenings or cultural events in a NYC park or our annual Family Day Celebration on Governors Island, we are glad that you could be a part of AFF community.

We hope to see you at one of our programs soon!

Yours sincerely,
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Mahen Bonetti
Executive Director, AFF, Inc.

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Lights, Camera, Africa!!! Film Festival

Lights, Camera, Africa!!! Film Festival

(September 30 – October 2)

Lagos, Nigeria

www.lightscameraafrica.com

lca-2016-flyer-official

 

AFF is proud to partner with The Life House in Lagos, Nigeria for the 6th annual

Lights, Camera, AFRICA!!! Film Festival.

The 2016 LCA Film Fest takes place this weekend with a collection of the most dynamic films from Africa and beyond.

LCA Film Fest brings to audiences an offering of films under the banner ‘Music Makes the People…’ This year’s festival is an unabashed display of works of film that speak to the power of music and indeed other art forms to create love, express sorrow, to build bridges, and end wars. Music represents all that makes us human … music has created and upheld civilisations.

This weekend’s films include Akounak Tedalat Taha Tazoughai by Christopher Kirkley (Niger), Cholo by Muzna Almusafer (Oman), In the Eye of the Spiral by Raynald Leconte and Eve Blouin (Haiti), The Other Side of the Atlantic by Marcio Camara and Danielle Ellery (Brazil), Intore by Eric Kabera (Rwanda), and Too Black to be French? by Isabelle Boni-Claverie (France/Ivory Coast) and many more!

For complete details on the 2016 line-up at Lights, Camera, Africa!!! and to register for your FREE entry to the festival, click here.

9th Annual Family Day Celebration on Governors Island!

 

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Come out for an enchanting day of music, film, and dance as African Film Festival Inc.’s Family Day Celebration returns to Governors Island. Fun-seeking individuals of all ages are invited to join African Film Festival, Inc. and the Trust for Governors Island for a day of FREE activities including story-telling, double-dutch, dance and drum, needlepoint and short films— all celebrating Africa and the diaspora. Visit africanfilmny.org for more details.

Schedule of Events – Sunday, 25th September

12:00 pm – 2:00 pm
NEEDLE ARTS DEMONSTRATION / WORKSHOP
With Michelle Bishop & Harlem Needle Arts

12:15 pm – 1:30 pm
AFRO-BRAZILIAN DANCE CLASS
With Quenia Ribeiro

1:00 pm – 5:00 pm
SELECTED SHORT AFRICAN FILMS

2:00 pm – 3:15 pm
SENEGALESE SABAR DANCE CLASS
With Babacar M’baye & Sing Sing Rhythym

3:30 pm – 4:30 pm
STORYTELLING / DOUBLE-DUTCH
DEMONSTRATION / WORKSHOP
With Malika Lee Whitney

3:30 pm – 4:45 pm
GUINEAN DANCE CLASS
With Maguette Camara & Les Merveilles de Guinea

WEST AFRICAN & JAMAICAN CUISINE

All activities take place on Colonels’ Row

Check out a video from last year’s Family Day Celebration:

Directions to Governors Island

Ferries run from Lower Manhattan all seven days and run from Brooklyn Bridge Park’s Pier 6 on Saturdays, Sundays, Memorial Day and Labor Day.

There is a $2 round trip fare for adults and children over the age of 12.

There is no fare on 10 AM, 11 AM and 11:30 AM ferries from Manhattan on Saturdays and Sundays. There is also no fare on the 11 AM and 11:30 AM ferry from Brooklyn on Saturdays and Sundays. These ferries are free to all.

Directions to the Governors Island Manhattan Ferry

The Governors Island ferry departs from the Battery Maritime Building located at 10 South Street, adjacent to the Staten Island Ferry in Lower Manhattan. The ferry terminal is accessible as follows:

By Subway

1 to South Ferry station
4, 5 to Bowling Green station
R to Whitehall St. station

By Bus
M9, and M15

Directions to the Governors Island Brooklyn Ferry (Weekends ONLY)
The Governors Island Brooklyn ferry departs from Pier 6 in Brooklyn Bridge Park, at the foot of Atlantic Avenue.

By Subway
R to Court Street
4,5,2,3 to Borough Hall

By Bus
B63

Notes from the 23rd New York African Film Festival

Each year, attending the African Film Festival feels like embarking on a journey across the heart of Africa. I am a comfortable traveler though, and from my seat at Lincoln Center, it is the eternal magic of the moving image that I submit to. I dream, I am amazed, I am angry, I am moved – I visit stunning places, meet extraordinary people, and discover the complexity and beauty of Africa and its Diaspora.

The 23rd edition was no exception with more than 50 works from 25 different countries. Ironically though, opening night brought a full house, not to Africa but to a more distant, idyllic, unexpected place: Vanuatu, a Melanesian Archipelago in the South Pacific! There in the small village of Yakel on the island of Tanna, one of the few remaining tribes in the world, a story of how arranged marriages led to tragedy is told, which made the tribe reconsider their ancestral custom. The landscape is stunningly beautiful. A pinkish, bluish haze and a roaring, belching volcano give a mesmerizing energy and dreamlike quality to the plot. The choice of Tanna to open the festival is less puzzling than it sounds though. First, it is obvious that the protagonists have dark skin and Afro-textured hair but there is more, for they actually describe themselves as the original blacks, some of their distant ancestors having left for what is today Africa! The fact that some words in their language are also found in Swahili or Yoruba has started to intrigue scholars.

Of course there is a little bit of provocation in the choice of a non-African film to open the African Film Festival, but it fits into the mission of the festival and is one of its most constant and endearing features over the years: to challenge viewers, take them out of their comfort zones, subvert stereotypes and traditional notions, and provoke and open minds to unconventional views. I remember Viva Riva a few years back, who took the audience by surprise on opening night with a beautiful erotic scene and graphic violence, which many resented as “non-African,” although some marveled at the ability of African filmmakers to fit into the genre and create a compelling action movie — with depth and a social conscience, I would say. Coming back to opening night, Tanna was unanimously well received (“It could have been worse” was the most severe comment I overheard by someone who saw it as another anthropological movie). I think most people liked the unusual and yet familiar tragic romance, so beautifully enacted. Some also felt that we should listen to the Tanna, for we have lost our ways, lost what is humane in us. The Tanna have wisdom, and dignity and tolerance. As someone in the audience pointed out: they are more civilized than we are.

Tanna Director Bentley Dean with AFF Executive Director, Mahen Bonetti at Opening Night of the 23rd New York African Film Festival. Photo: Lindsey Seide
Tanna Director Bentley Dean with AFF Executive Director, Mahen Bonetti at Opening Night of the 23rd New York African Film Festival. Photo: Lindsey Seide

Under the banner “Modern Days, Ancient Nights: Fifty Years of African Filmmaking”, the 23rd edition paid tribute to its most revered master, Ousmane Sembène, and offered a possibility to reflect about the changes and meaningful shifts that have marked African cinema in the course of those fifty years. A great number of filmmakers programmed this year were women. It reminded me that in 1993, the first edition, there was only one woman in a sea of distinguished males: Safi Faye, who deserves recognition as a pioneer. The Senegalese director went on to make Mossane, highlight of the 4th edition, winner in Cannes in 1996, and a true classic. Watching Hermon Hailay’s beautiful film, Price of Love, centerpiece of the 23rd edition, and the films of many other promising young female directors, I could not help thinking not only about the determination it took for women to embrace a career fiercely guarded by males, but also about the thematic evolution from Mossane, set in a traditional peasant village with its natural aesthetic beauty, gorgeous setting, ancestral rites and customs, to Price of Love set in an urban, bustling, modern city where a taxi driver unwillingly gets entangled with a prostitute. Modern Days, Ancient Nights – both stories are beautiful and end tragically. Both films represent two widely different images of Africa, two different epochs in filmmaking.

I liked Price of Love, and Lamb and Red Leaves also shown this year, because I still want to be told a story, be charmed, and drawn into the lives and adventures of fictional characters who touch me. But documentaries inform, and they are getting more attention today than before, as they are the work of creative, original filmmakers who explore the amazing complexity and depth of real life in a compelling and personal way. And they also tell stories, but differently. The fact that on a beautiful sunny warm Sunday afternoon at 4 o’clock—after five days of cold unrelenting rain—screenings were sold out for two documentaries, shows that the audience shares that interest. Both the film Queen Nanny, which explores the legend of the Jamaican warrior who defeated the British and Yemanjá, which investigates the origin of Candomblé in Brazil, are attractive and well researched. They seek to retrieve clues into the past from the present. They recover priceless facts, gather fragile testimonies and put them together to reconstruct stories that have long been lost, suppressed or distorted, told by others or never told before.

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Guests attend the screenings of Queen Nanny and Yemanjá at The 23rd New York African Film Festival. Photo: Victoria Trentacoste

Let us not forget that it is also the festival that brought to New York the first documentaries by African filmmakers, especially Jean-Marie Téno’s Afrique je te plumerai (Africa I Will Fleece You, 1st edition of the festival). At a time when fiction was overwhelmingly the choice of filmmakers, he realized the potential of documentaries to help change the negative representations suffered by Africans and empowered them to reclaim the past and tell their own stories. His very personal and direct approach to documentaries influenced generations of filmmakers after him. Many favorites of the public this year were documentaries, for instance Martha & Niki, the poignant story told, with so much empathy, of two successful female hip-hop dancers whose very different outlooks on life tears them apart. I noticed lots of teary eyes after the screening.

Many films also touched upon controversial social issues —prostitution, child witchcraft, integration of LGBT people and values, and the role that the creative arts can play in rebuilding a country after genocide. The festival is a forum where ideas are discussed, where the public meets filmmakers; filmmakers who hardly know of each other’s existence on the continent meet each other, and all have the rare opportunity to exchange views and mix in a relaxed atmosphere. The Q&As were well attended, more so it seems than in previous years, with a well-informed public, anxious to tackle real issues.

The conversation was also enhanced by the presence of distinguished historians and scholars who sometimes offer lectures in their area of expertise, as was the case when Professor Mamadou Diouf and Professor Clyde Taylor discussed Manthia Diawara’s imaginary conversation entitled Negritude: A Dialogue Between Wole Soyinka And Senghor. They provided additional facts and a broader frame of reference, so much so that the public quietly left the theater when asked, but resolutely sat in the amphitheater eager to hear more.

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Manthia Diawara’s Negritude: A Dialogue Between Wole Soyinka and Senghor post screening discussion with Professors Mamadou Diouf and Clyde Taylor. Photo: Daniel Rodriguez

The ethnocentric point of view of anthropological studies has often been condemned, but watching Pastor Paul, one can experience a sense of gleeful vindication as the situation unfolds and the observer becomes the observed. Pastor Paul tells the story of a Western scientist, clueless and candid, who comes to Africa to study drumming and the mathematical structure of rhythm. Only he ignores their spiritual power. He is hired to play a ghost in a Nollywood movie and becomes possessed – I particularly liked the reversal of roles. He is the object of uncomprehending looks and idle speculation. The rationalizing Westerner is even accused of being “unpredictable” by the African director who scrutinizes him and observes his erratic behavior with growing perplexity.

“Today male and female directors and actors are talented, enthusiastic and considerably younger.”

Africa in NY, a series of shorts, was a wonderful surprise. I was thrilled to see the line-up of young filmmakers come on stage for the Q&A: imaginative, talented and perceptive, comfortable on stage but slightly surprised to be in the spotlight, knowing that they represent the future of African film. In their films they are skilled at conveying strong emotions. They explore the creative freedom offered by technical innovation and they play a part in the evolution of narrative in cinema in general. The director of Reluctantly Queer, for instance, uses veiled black and white images to tell the story of a young man painfully torn between his beautifully fulfilling love story with a man and the pain he will cause his mother in Africa; or Olive, where juxtaposing two stories in black and white with sparse dialogue and striking cinematography, conveys the most harrowing story of love and betrayal; or Contained where the filmmaker uses simple, visual effects to bring the audience into the mind of a man held in complete isolation as he is suspected of having Ebola.

Xavier Coleman, Iquo Essien, MaameYaa Boafo, Hoji Fortuna, Alfonso Johnson, Ntare Mwine and Mamadou Dia at the 23rd NYAFF. Photo: Daniel Rodriguez
Xavier Coleman, Iquo Essien, MaameYaa Boafo, Hoji Fortuna, Alfonso Johnson, Ntare Mwine and Mamadou Dia at the 23rd NYAFF. Photo: Daniel Rodriguez

Watching the line-up, some of the earliest days of the New York African Film Festival came back to my mind — the “classic period”, I would say, when it was more solemn. The filmmakers on stage were prestigious, intimidating, sometimes demanding, overwhelmingly male and considerably older than us. Today male and female directors and actors are talented, enthusiastic and considerably younger. And they are attuned to the world in which they live in a wonderful way. And, yes, they certainly know how to tell a story.

I continued my journey up to Maysles Cinema in Harlem, the next venue of the festival. We had the leisure of attending a screening (among others equally interesting) of a three hour monumental exploration of contemporary Egypt: the various political, religious and social forces at play explaining the somewhat comparable paths of three subsequent rulers: Nasser, Sadat and Mubarak. The filmmaker, Jihan El-Tahri, herself a powerful presence, charismatic and effervescent, made up for a twenty minute unexpected pause during the screening, substituting for image and sound, adding comments and her thoughts. After the screening, she answered questions with equal patience and competence. And with a most radiant infectious laugh, she admitted a preference for Nasser and declared that if she had to summarize her monumental work in one single sentence, she would call it “The failure of the post-colonial state”. In the festival, it had a more appealing title: Egypt’s Modern Pharaohs.

Post-screening discussion of Egypt's Modern Pharaoh's with Malika Lee Whitney and director Jihan El-Tahri. Photo: Dara Ojugbele
Post-screening discussion of Egypt’s Modern Pharaohs with Malika Lee Whitney and director Jihan El-Tahri. Photo: Dara Ojugbele

Then, at the end of May, I took the train to the Brooklyn Academy of Music (BAM), to an equally comfortable seat in a comfortable theater for the last part of my journey and the last five days of the festival. Most films here were dedicated to Senegal (complementing DanceAfrica’s spotlight this year on the country). Fabrice Monteiro’s photos have a clear message: we must save the planet. To reach out to young generations the photographer becomes a contemporary storyteller. In his tale, the earth Gaia is suffering from the abuse that humans wield on her. So she sends messengers who represent different wounds with scientific names: depletion, air pollution, toxic wastes, land over-exploitation and desertification. Only here they are embodied by traditional ominous spirits, the jinns – gigantic, aesthetically beautiful figures made of recycled material with the collaboration of the creative Senegalese designer Jah Gal. They are asking humans to change their ways. The film The Prophecy aptly chronicles the making of the photos, showing how tradition and art intertwine to send a hopeful message to those who have a role to play in the future. And there are solutions, says Fabrice Monteiro. Young people must realize they have the power to make changes.

Moussa Touré’s TGV shown at BAM, with the passengers of a Dakar bus en route for the border of Guinea, embarked on a hazardous journey in a lush, desolate landscape, reminded me of the classic Western: Stagecoach. Except here, danger did not come from Indians but from the imaginary “Bijagos.” Moussa Touré clearly intended to pay tribute to the classic Western movie, but his luminous social satire, incisive and funny, is a free adaptation of the conventions of the genre. One recognizes the atmosphere of impending doom, the long close-ups, diffident stares, the suspense, ominous signs, the breathtaking landscapes, etc., but the plot and the characters — the polygamist, the rainmaker, the marabout, the politician – are decidedly Africans. Another interesting departure is the fact that one night as all the passengers look for a place to sleep, the three women band together… mischievously, as if they were not impressed by their men playing cowboys. The film was made in 1997, but it remains vividly modern and the dialogues are subtle and full of biting humor.

I wonder whether today’s young filmmakers know that all African filmmakers once upon a time wanted to make a Western, not unlike Italians with their passion for spaghetti Westerns. They did more than an imitation though, they wanted to add their own voice to the general fascination for Western movies and the myth of the hero, and pay tribute to a genre they grew up with. As Cheik Fantamady Camara thus summarized: in the 70’s we dressed up as cowboys and filmed with a fake camera. When they had real cameras, they went beyond the boundaries of the genre, as brilliantly shown by Moussa Touré. It is interesting to trace this fascination for Western movies in African cinema. Think of Mambety’s Hyenas. Even though his film is based on a play by Swiss author Dürrenmatt, he cannot help giving a Far West flavor to his set – remember the station in the middle of nowhere, the sort of saloon where idle men hang around all day, the train that never comes but keeps whistling in the distance. And even Abderrahmane Sissako with his brilliant film Bamako, in which he stages the trial of the World Bank, makes a totally unexpected cameo appearance in the film as “Cowboy 2”, alongside Danny Glover as “Cowboy 3”. In the 60’s, some African filmmakers actually dreamed of making a “real” Western, as shown by Rahmatou Keita in her wonderful film Al’leesi (2004) that documents the birth of cinema in Niger in the 60’s. I remember a filmmaker excessively annoyed when a giraffe suddenly appeared in the distance ruining his take of the presumed American West.

“Some of Sembène’s Pan-African vision and his vision of women taking their fate in their own hands had come true.”

The audience at BAM gave a warm welcome to Samba Gadjigo’s film SEMBENE! and appreciated the presence of Samba Gadjigo, who engaged audience members in a post-screening Q&A. Samba is the official biographer of Ousmane Sembène and was also a close friend of the director. Their closeness, which covers a span of many years, allows for a more intimate portrait of the fierce “rebel who used his camera as a weapon.” The film also documents Sembene’s long career and shows excerpts from his films, which makes it a fascinating retrospective and homage to the master. A striking image stays with me: a very old man with failing eyesight, shakily moving around the set and yet handling, for the first time, an international cast and crew, working 12 hours a day in a remote place plagued by unbearable heat and no electricity. And making Moolaadé his last and most optimistic film about a most controversial topic: female genital mutilation. I can imagine the glee he felt when coming to the 2005 festival, his last visit, he sat one evening surrounded by young female filmmakers from east Africa, and guests of the festival, vehemently discussing genital mutilation. He had been heard. The old rebel had a smile on his face and remained silent. Some of his Pan-African vision and his vision of women taking their fate into their own hands had come true.

Here ended this year’s journey, but I would like to add a word on how it began. It was a town hall event three days before opening night, quite an experience and a huge success! As part of Thomas Allen Harris’ Digital Diaspora Family Reunion Roadshow, some guests and participants’ cherished photos from their family albums were projected on a large screen. As their owners shared memories, the audience felt drawn into the lives of people they did not know and who became strangely familiar. Just like African films tell us a different story than the ones portrayed for too many decades by others, photos do the same, they reclaim and enrich the past.  A digital display of DDFRR photos —some stunningly beautiful – ran in the amphitheater at Lincoln Center during the festival, a perfect companion to fifty years of African filmmaking.

Historian Leonard Davis sharing family photos at the 23rd NYAFF Digital Diaspora Family Reunion Roadshow event. Photo: Lindsey Seide
Historian Leonard Davis sharing family photos at the 23rd NYAFF Digital Diaspora Family Reunion Roadshow event. Photo: Lindsey Seide

2016 AFF SUMMER SERIES SCHEDULE

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It’s that time of year again!
Movies? Check!
Live Music? Check!
Free? Check!

Our summer outdoor series is back and we cannot wait to welcome you to various NYC parks, as we celebrate the summertime with wonderful programs like Cinema Under the Stars and our annual Family Day Celebration on the amazing Governors Island.

More dates in Queens and Brooklyn will be added soon!


Friday, May 20th – RasTa: A Soul’s Journey at East Elmhurst Playground, Queens

RasTa: A Soul’s Journey, Stuart Samuels, Canada, 2011, 93mins

RasTa: A Soul’s Journey tells the story of the journey of Rita and Bob Marley’s granddaughter, Donisha Prendergast, to eight countries around the world to explore the roots and evolution of Rastafari. Her journey takes her to places where her grandfather’s captivating performances and his message are still fondly remembered. The documentary boasts an uplifting and inspiring reggae soundtrack that features established as well as emerging contemporary, reggae stars such as Humble, Matisyahu and Damian Marley. This exciting mix of travel, music and culture packs a powerful punch that will appeal to audiences around the world.

This is a FREE event! Music by DJ PHD starts at 7:00pm, followed by the film screening.

Presented in collaboration with SummerStage

Visit www.cityparksfoundation.org/event/dj-phd-screening-rasta/ for more info.


Thursday, June 2 – Jazz on A Summer’s Day at Corona Golf Playground, Queens

Jazz on a Summer’s Day, Bert Stern and Aram Avakian, USA/Finland, 1960, 85mins

Jazz On A Summer’s Day captures the sounds and performances of some of the major jazz artists at the 1958 Newport Jazz Festival. Unlike earlier jazz movies that had been filmed in smoky black and white, this is shot in vibrant color. While musicians such as Louis Armstrong, Thelonious Monk, Anita O’Day and Mahalia Jackson perform, images of beaches, sailboats on water, dancing couples and the faces of joyful audience members are intercut into the proceedings.

The screening follows a dance class session with The Lorenz Latin Dance Studio at 7:00pm. This event is free and open to the public

Presented in collaboration with SummerStage

Visit www.cityparksfoundation.org/event/lorenz-latin-dance-screening-jazz-on-a-summers-day/ for more info.


Friday, June 3 – Kirikou and the Wild Beasts at Brookville Park, Queens

Kirikou and the Wild Beasts, Michel Ocelot and Benedicte Galup, France, 2005, 75 mins

Lilliputian hero Kirikou must outwit the evil witch Karaba in order to save his village in this follow-up to Michel Ocelot’s animation masterpiece Kirikou and the Sorceress, produced by Didier Brunier (The Triplets of Belleville). Based on West African folk tales, with a soundtrack featuring songs by Youssou N’Dour, Rokia Traore, and others, Kirikou and the Wild Beasts proves that spirit, not size, is the key to overcoming all odds.

The screening follows a dance class session with Edge School of the Arts at 7:00pm.
This event is free and open to the public

Presented in collaboration with SummerStage

Visit www.cityparksfoundation.org/event/edge-school-of-the-arts-screening-kirikou/ for more info.


Monday, June 13 – Afripedia at Saratoga Park, Brooklyn

Afripedia: Ghana, Senay Berhe, Teddy Goitom, Benjamin Taft, Ghana/Sweden, 2014, 28mins (Total: 84mins)

As Africa changes, and the world’s perception of it changes, the images of Africa and Africans need to change too. Afripedia is a collaborative, multi-part project profiling a new generation of artists from across the continent. This program brings together three documentaries from the Afripedia series, examining the vibrant and rising artistic communities in Ghana, Kenya, Ivory Coast and Senegal. Viewers meet outspoken androgynous music star Wiyaala; 3D artist Andrew Kaggia, who unveils his vision of Nairobi; fashion designer Selly Raby Kane, who sculpts the digital image of a future alien city in an old railway station; and many others.

Directors Teddy Goitom and Senay Berhe will be present for the screening. Music by DJ Hard Hittin’ Harry will start at 7:00pm followed by the screening. This event is free and open to the public.

Presented in collaboration with SummerStage

Visit www.cityparksfoundation.org/event/summerstage-hard-hittin-harry-screening-afripedia-qa/ for more info.


Sunday, June 26 – Queen Nanny: Legendary Maroon Chieftainess at Betsy Head Park, Brooklyn

Queen Nanny: Legendary Maroon Chieftainess, Roy T. Anderson, Jamaica, 2015, 59mins

Nanny was a queen captured in her homeland and forcibly transported across the Atlantic Ocean in the belly of a slave ship. In the New World, she rose up to become the leader of a new nation—of free Africans. However, not many people outside of Jamaica know about the legendary warrior chieftainess of the Jamaican Maroons. She is the only female among Jamaica’s seven national heroes, and her likeness appears on the country’s $500 bill, yet little is known about her. This landmark documentary, conceived by award-winning Jamaican-born, New Jersey–based filmmaker Roy T. Anderson and history professor Harcourt T. Fuller, unearths and examines this mysterious figure, who led a band of former enslaved Africans in the rugged and remote interiors of Jamaica in their victory over the British army during the early to mid-18th century.

Music by DJ Gringo will start at 7:00pm followed by the screening. This event is free and open to the public.

Presented in collaboration with SummerStage

Visit www.cityparksfoundation.org/event/summerstage-screening-queen-nanny-legendary-maroon-chieftainess/ for more info.


Friday, July 1 – Africa United at Bronx Museum of the Arts

Africa United
Africa United, Debs Gardner-Paterson ,Rwanda/UK, 2010, 90mins

Africa United tells the extraordinary story of three Rwandan children and their bid to achieve their lifelong dream to take part in the opening ceremony of the 2010 Football World Cup in Johannesburg.

Featuring a special performance by Dayramir Gonzales & Habana enTRANCE. Music by DJ Asho at 6pm. This event is free and open to the public.

Presented in collaboration with Bronx Museum FIRST FRIDAYS! and Asho Productions

Visit http://www.bronxmuseum.org/events/first-fridays-outdoor-film-screening-in-collaboration-with-the-new-york-african-film-festival for more info.


Monday, July 11 – Destination: Planet Negro! at Jackie Robinson Park, Harlem

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Destination: Planet Negro!, Kevin Willmott, USA, 2015, 98mins

In 1939, a group of African American intellectuals come up with an ingenious and unlikely response to Jim Crow America — leave the planet and populate Mars. Using technology created by George Washington Carver, a three-person crew (plus one rambunctious robot) lift-off in Earth’s first working spaceship on a mission that will take them to a world not unlike present-day America. Their spacey adventure illuminates some hard truths about American culture, and threatens to undermine the time-line of history along the way.

The sunset screening follows a live set by DJ Stormin’ Norman at 7:00pm. This event is free and open to the public.

Presented in collaboration with Reel Harlem Historic Harlem Parks Film Festival 2016

Visit https://www.nycgovparks.org/parks/historic-harlem-parks/events/2016/07/11/reel-harlem-historic-harlem-parks-film-festival-2016 for more info.


Tuesday, July 19 – Afripedia at Celebrating African Film with BRIC FLIX, Brooklyn

Afripedia: Ghana, Senay Berhe, Teddy Goitom, Benjamin Taft, Ghana/Sweden, 2014, 28mins (Total: 84mins)

As Africa changes—and the world’s perception of it changes— the images of Africa and its people need to change too. Afripedia is a collaborative, multi-part project profiling a new generation of artists from Africa and the Diaspora through film, digital media, online platforms, and more. Join us on Tuesday, July 19 for a free, not-to-be-missed screening of Afripedia’s Senegal, Ghana, and New York film series. The screening will be followed by a special discussion with Afripedia co-directors, Teddy Goitom and Senay Berhe.

Directors Teddy Goitom and Senay Berhe will be present for a Q&A as will artist Delphine Diallo, who is featured in Afripedia x New York. This event is free and open to the public, and is first come, first served.

RSVP here

Presented in collaboration with BRIC FLIX

ABOUT BRIC FLIX
BRIC FLIX is a free film screening and conversation series at BRIC House. Offering premieres, shorts, and web series projects that reflect the excitement, diversity, and creativity of the borough— BRIC FLIX is where Brooklyn comes for film.
Each screening is followed by a discussion with the filmmakers, artists, curators and more.

Visit http://www.bricartsmedia.org/events-performances/celebrating-african-film for more info.


Wednesday, August 3 – Kirikou and the Wild Beasts and Orisha’s Journey at Clove Lakes Park, Staten Island

kirikou and the wild beasts2
Kirikou and the Wild Beasts, Michel Ocelot and Benedicte Galup, France, 2005, 75 mins

Lilliputian hero Kirikou must outwit the evil witch Karaba in order to save his village in this follow-up to Michel Ocelot’s animation masterpiece Kirikou and the Sorceress, produced by Didier Brunier (The Triplets of Belleville). Based on West African folk tales, with a soundtrack featuring songs by Youssou N’Dour, Rokia Traore, and others, Kirikou and the Wild Beasts proves that spirit, not size, is the key to overcoming all odds.

orishasjourney
Orisha’s Journey, Abdul Ndadi, USA, 2014, 6 mins

Rooted in African myth, Orisha’s Journey is about a little girl and the power of imagination. Orisha, who doesn’t believe in fables finds herself in one.

The screenings follow a music set by DJ Djib Sayo at 7:00pm. The event is free and open to the public.

Presented in collaboration with SummerStage

Visit http://www.cityparksfoundation.org/event/summerstage-kirikou-and-the-wild-beasts/ for more info.


Thursday, August 4 – Lamb at Queens Museum, Queens

Lamb, Yared Zeleke, Ethiopia, 2015, 94mins
Lamb, Yared Zeleke, Ethiopia, 2015, 94mins

Ephraim is a young Ethiopian boy who recently lost his mother as a result of drought. His father leaves him and his beloved pet sheep, to be looked after by distant relatives, Ephraim isn’t very good at farming, but he has a hidden talent: he is an excellent cook. One day, his uncle tells him that they have to sacrifice his sheep for the next religious feast. The young boy, however, is ready to do anything to save his only friend and return home.

Special performance by Arki Sound. This event is free and open to the public.

Presented in collaboration with Queens Museum

Visit http://www.queensmuseum.org/events/passport-thursdays-outdoor-international-dance-music-film-series-2-2 for more info.


Friday, August 5 – Afripedia at Joyce Kilmer Park, Bronx

Afripedia-creatives-logo
Afripedia, Senay Berhe, Teddy Goitom, Benjamin Taft, Ghana/Sweden, 2014 (Total: 84mins)

Afripedia is a five-part short documentary series produced by the Swedish collective Stocktown. Shot in Kenya, Ghana, Angola, Senegal, and South Africa, each of the five episodes focus on a different group of artists and creators in their respective countries. Join us for the Senegal, Ghana, and Kenya episodes!

Special performance by The Cimarron Project. Music by DJ Asho. This event is free and open to the public.

Presented in collaboration with Bronx Museum FIRST FRIDAYS! and Asho Productions

Visit http://www.bronxmuseum.org/events/first-fridays-outdoor-film-screening-in-collaboration-with-the-african-film-festival_3 for more info.


The KIDflix Film Fest of Bed-Stuy! – Every Friday in August at Fulton Park, Brooklyn
Kidflix 2016

Friday, August 5th – The Trials of Muhammad Ali

The Trials of Muhammad Ali, Bill Siegel, USA, 2013, 94min

The Trials of Muhammad Ali covers the explosive crossroads of Ali’s life. When Cassius Clay becomes Muhammad Ali, his conversion to Islam and refusal to serve in the Vietnam War leave him banned from boxing and facing a five-year prison sentence. Ali’s choice of belief and conscience over fame and fortune resonates far beyond the boxing ring, striking issues of race, faith and identity that continue to confront us all today.

Pre-screening entertainment TBD. This event is free and open to the public.

Presented in collaboration with MoCADA and Black Girls Rock!

About the KIDflix Film Fest of Bed-Stuy
The KIDflix Film Fest of Bed-Stuy is a free annual film festival for kids and their families. The festival has taken place in Bedford-Stuyvesant since 2000, and is now in its 17th season. It is held every Friday night in August in Fulton Park.

Stay tuned for more KIDflix screenings and other upcoming summer programs!

Tickets + Info – 2016 New York African Film Festival Line-up

2016 NYAFF brochure cover smlr

The following program guide lists the features and short films scheduled to screen at the 2016 New York African Film Festival. This guide begins with information on our May 1st Town Hall Event. The line-up is then organized alphabetically, and each film or program of films is followed by its showtime and a trailer (if there is an available trailer). To read the full statement on this year’s festival, click here.


2016 NYAFF FILMS

TANNA OPENING NIGHT FILM (N.Y. PREMIERE)
Bentley Dean and Martin Butler, Australia/Vanuatu, 2015, 104 min.
In Nauvhal with English subtitles

Tanna is set in the South Pacific where Wawa, a young girl from one of the last traditional tribes, falls in love with her chief’s grandson, Dain. When an intertribal war escalates, Wawa is unknowingly betrothed as part of a peace deal. The young lovers run away, but are pursued by enemy warriors’ intent on killing them. They must choose between their hearts and the future of the tribe, while the villagers must wrestle with preserving their traditional culture and adapting it to the increasing outside demands for individual freedom. Tanna is based on a true story and performed by the people of Yakel in Vanuatu.

Wednesday, May 4th at 7:00pm (Q&A with Martin Butler and Jimmy Joseph Nako) and Monday, May 9th at 3:45pm – Elinor Bunin Munroe Film Center, Film Society of Lincoln Center


PRICE OF LOVE CENTERPIECE NIGHT FILM – N.Y. PREMIERE
Hermon Hailay, Ethiopia, 2015, 99min.
In Amharic with English subtitles

Teddy (Eskindir Tameru), the son of a prostitute who grew up on the streets after his mother’s death, desperately tries to avoid the temptation of his old ways of chewing khat and drinking. His only support system is his priest, who bought him a taxi license on the condition that he live a decent life away from his past. But after Teddy intervenes in a fight between a prostitute, Fere (Fereweni Gebregergs), and her ex-boyfriend, who sells women to “work” in the Middle East, his taxi is stolen by the latter as leverage. As a result, Teddy finds himself caught up in a relationship with Fere, and during the search for the car, they discover the price of love..

Friday, May 6th at 6:30pm (Q&A with Hermon Hailay) and Tuesday, May 10th at 9:15pm – Elinor Bunin Munroe Film Center, Film Society of Lincoln Center


ABOUT A MOTHER ANIMATION – N.Y. PREMIERE
Dina Velikovskaya, Russia, 2015, 8min.

Dina Velikovskaya’s animated short is about a mother who has given so much that it seems as if she has nothing left…until life opens up new opportunities. (Screening with In the Eye of the Spiral)

Sunday, May 8th at 7:15pm – Elinor Bunin Munroe Film Center, Film Society of Lincoln Center


AFRIPEDIA: GHANA, KENYA AND SENEGAL
Senay Berhe, Teddy Goitom and Benjamin Taft, Ghana/Ivory Coast/Kenya/Senegal, 2014, 84min. (28min. x 3 episodes)
In English, French and Wolof with English subtitles

As Africa changes, and the world’s perception of it changes, the images of Africa and Africans need to change too. Afripedia is a collaborative, multi-part project profiling a new generation of artists from across the continent. This program brings together three documentaries from the Afripedia series, examining the vibrant and rising artistic communities in Ghana, Kenya, Ivory Coast, and Senegal. Viewers meet outspoken androgynous music star Wiyaala; 3D artist Andrew Kaggia, who unveils his vision of Nairobi; fashion designer Selly Raby Kane, who sculpts the digital image of a future alien city in an old railway station; and many others.

Friday, May 27th at 7:00pm (Q&A with Teddy Goitom and Senay Berhe) – BAM Rose Cinemas


AKOUNAK TEDALAT TAHA TAZOUGHAI
(RAIN THE COLOR OF BLUE WITH A LITTLE RED IN IT)
Christopher Kirkley, Niger, 2015, 75min.
In Tamashek with English Subtitles

Akounak tells the universal story of a musician trying to make it “against all odds,” set against the backdrop of the raucous subculture of Tuareg guitar. The protagonist, real life musician Mdou Moctar, must battle fierce competition from jealous musicians, overcome family conflicts, endure the trials of love, and overcome his biggest rival – himself. Stylistically borrowing from the Western rock-u-drama and an homage to Prince’s 1984 “Purple Rain,” the story was written with and for a Tuareg audience, drawing from experiences of Mdou Moctar and fellow musicians. Carried by stunning musical performances from Mdou, the film is equally a window into modern day Tuareg guitar in the city of Agadez as it is an experiment in modern ethnographic filmmaking and new techniques of cross cultural collaboration. Akounak is the first feature fiction film in the Tamashek language. The title translates to”Rain the Color Blue with a Little Red in it,” a literal translation of Purple Rain (the Tuareg language has no word for Purple) – a nod to its unlikely origins and the difficulties of translating ideas across cultures.

Saturday, May 7th at 6:30pm (Q&A with Mdou Moctar) and Monday, May 9th at 2:00pm – Elinor Bunin Munroe Film Center, Film Society of Lincoln Center


BLACK JEWS: THE ROOTS OF THE OLIVE TREE N.Y. PREMIERE
Laurence Gavron, Senegal/France, 2016, 56min.
In French, English and Hebrew with English subtitles

Over the course of the 20th century, a large number of groups in various Sub-Saharan countries (South Africa, Nigeria, Ghana, Uganda, Cameroon, Mali, Ivory Coast, etc.) spontaneously converted to Judaism and claimed Jewish identity. These communities respect the worship rituals and dietary restrictions of Judaism, which they often learn from the Internet, as well as Jewish culture (cuisine, music, language, etc.). The film gives an account of this black Judaism, through an African community – that of Cameroon, with Serge Etélé as its leader. Rabbi Cappers Funnye, Michelle Obama’s cousin and leader of the black Jewish community in the United States, is also interviewed. (Screening with The Dance of King David)

Monday, May 9th at 6:00pm (Q&A with Laurence Gavron and Axel Baumann) – Elinor Bunin Munroe Film Center, Film Society of Lincoln Center

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CHILD OF THE REVOLUTION U.S. PREMIERE
Xoliswa Sithole, Zimbabwe, 2014, 73min.
In English, Shona and Ndebele with English subtitles

Xoliswa Sithole escaped Apartheid South Africa as a child and grew up amidst the freedom fighters of Zimbabwe, witnessing the euphoria of revolution.  Leaving before the country descended into it’s present challenges. Now, in this powerful documentary the two- time BAFTA and Peabody winner returns to Zimbabwe to relive her story and investigate what happened to those dreams of freedom.

Saturday, May 14th at 4:00pm (Q&A with Xoliswa Sithole) – Maysles Cinema

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CHOLO
Muzna Almusafer, United Arab Emirates/France, 2014, 21min.
Swahili with English subtitles

The dark-skinned 11-year-old Cholo meets his fair-skinned younger stepbrother Abdullah for the first time. Although strikingly different, the two boys enjoy a crackling chemistry. (Screening with Red Leaves)

Friday, May 27th at 4:30pm & 9:15pm – BAM Rose Cinemas


CUCKOLD N.Y. PREMIERE
Charlie Vundla, South Africa, 2015, 95min.
In English

The second feature by Charlie Vundla (director of How to Steal 2 Million, a selection of the 2012 New York African Film Festival), Cuckold tells the story of a young African-American professor in Johannesburg (played by Vundla) who falls apart after his wife leaves him for another man. While trying to drink himself into oblivion, he has a chance encounter with an old schoolmate who is now a homeless life coach. Together (with a little help from the drug trade), the two men prop each other up, and things soon ease back into normalcy… until the professor’s wife reappears sobbing at his doorstep. An unusual ménage à trois arrangement follows, one that seems destined to wreak havoc on the fragile state of affairs.

Thursday, May 5th at 8:30pm (Q&A with Charlie Vundla) and Tuesday, May 10th at 3:45pm – Elinor Bunin Munroe Film Center, Film Society of Lincoln Center


THE CURSED ONES N.Y. PREMIERE
Nana Obiri Yeboah and Maximillian Claussen, UK/Ghana, 2015, 95min.
In English

A series of misfortunes lead a West African village to accuse a young girl, Asabi of witchcraft. Their Pastor insists that salvation lies in her exorcism and death, using his compelling rhetoric to incite fear into the people and turn Asabi’s mother (Ama K Abebrese) against her own daughter. Disillusioned reporter, Godwin finds himself swept up in the witch hunt. With the help of a young school teacher, he attempts to save Asabi’s life, fighting back against corruption and false prophets. Based on true events, The Cursed Ones is a story of morality, corruption, and community in the heart of Africa.

Thursday, May 5th at 6:00pm (Q&A with Nicholas Lory and Jimmy Jean-Louis) and Tuesday, May 10th at 1:30pm – Elinor Bunin Munroe Film Center, Film Society of Lincoln Center


THE DANCE OF KING DAVID
Axel Baumann, USA, 2011, 32min.
In English and Amharic with English subtitles

Over 2900 years ago, King David brought the Ark of the Covenant to Jerusalem. When he did, King David, “danced before the Lord with all his might” (2 Samuel 6:14). The Dance of King David is a documentary film about the history and the contemporary worship of the Ark. This film examines the disappearance of the Ark from Israel and its reemergence in Ethiopia. We witness the “Dance of King David,”—an ancient rite still performed today by Jews and Ethiopians alike and we learn firsthand what it means to believe in the supernatural powers of this sacred object. (Screening with Black Jews: The Roots of the Olive Tree)

Monday, May 9th at 6:00pm (Q&A with Laurence Gavron and Axel Baumann) – Elinor Bunin Munroe Film Center, Film Society of Lincoln Center

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EGYPT’S MODERN PHARAOHS N.Y. PREMIERE OF SADDAT & MUBARAK
Jihan El-Tahri, Egypt/France/USA/Qatar, 2014, 168min. (56min. x 3 films)
In English, Arabic and French with English subtitles

On January 25, 1952, downtown Cairo was burnt down: angry mobs demanded the departure of British colonial military rule and called for ‘bread, freedom and social justice’. Fifty-nine years later to the day, the same anger was displayed, the same slogan brandished – but this time against Egypt’s elected president. For six decades, Egypt’s post-colonial leaders forged a system that harnessed military and religious powers, struck a delicate balance in foreign relations and muzzled a complacent civil society. What led the docile Egyptians to mass revolt? How were the promising ideals of the 1952 revolution hijacked? What led to the total breakdown of social justice and political freedom? Filmmaker Jihan El-Tahri has created a masterpiece trilogy of films about former Egyptian presidents Gamal Abdel Nasser, Anwar Sadat and Hosni Mubarak, aptly titled, ‘Egypt’s Modern Pharaohs’!

Sunday, May 15th at 2:00pm (Q&A with Jihan El-Tahri) – Maysles Cinema


FAAJI AGBA U.S. PREMIERE
Remi Vaughan-Richards, Nigeria, 2015, 91min.
In English and Yoruba with English subtitles

Faaji Agba is a six-year journey taken by film-maker Remi Vaughan-Richards following seven, 68-85 year old Yoruba master musicians in Lagos, Nigeria. They are forgotten by society, until Kunle Tejuoso, owner of Jazzhole Records, follows a trail to rediscover them and the ‘Faaji Agba Collective’ is born. Kunle’s journey starts with Fatai Rolling Dollar, which leads him to others such as Alaba Pedro, SF Olowookere, Ayinde Bakare and more. Their musical styles range from highlife, juju to afrobeat. The story starts in 2009 and follows them on their journey to perform in New York in 2011 where tragedy strikes. A year later, undeterred by the setback they perform again in Lagos, although it ends up being their last. Faaji Agba interweaves the history, culture and music scene of Lagos, Nigeria from the 1940’s to 2015 as their joys and tragedies unfold.

Saturday, May 14th at 7:45pm – Maysles Cinema


IN SEARCH OF FINAH MISA KULE U.S. PREMIERE
Kewulay Kamara, Sierra Leone, 2015, 42min.
In English, Mandeng, and Kuranko  with English subtitles

In Search of Finah Misa Kule: The Story of a People who Live by the Word chronicles the quest of poet Kewulay Kamara to reconstitute an ancient epic handed down in his family. Kamara takes us back to his native Village of Dankawali in northeast Sierra Leone where the epic was written out by his father in the 1960s only to be destroyed when the village was razed during the recent Civil War in Sierra Leone. (Screening with Oya: Something Happened On The Way To West Africa!)

Saturday, May 14th at 2:00pm – Maysles Cinema


HEAD GONE
Dare Fasasi, Nigeria/Sweden, 2014, 111 min.
In English and Pidgin English with English subtitles

Due to a road mishap, a bus driver loses a group of psychiatric patients on the way to a federal hospital. To cover up the mistake, he and a nurse pick up unsuspecting commuters to substitute the patients. The plot thickens as the new passengers must try to prove their sanity in a psychiatric institution, while the escapees try to adjust to a new environment. A comedy of errors that features some of Nigeria’s finest entertainers.

Monday, May 30th at 4:00pm and 8:30pm – BAM Rose Cinemas


HEX U.S. PREMIERE
Clarence Peters, Nigeria, 2015, 26min.
In English

Five young people, on their way home after a night in town, accidentally knock down a mysterious hooded man. Bola, a final year medical student, is haunted by the experience and is having an emotional breakdown, or is she? (Screening with Pastor Paul)

Friday, May 6th at 9:00pm and Saturday, May 7th at 8:45pm – Elinor Bunin Munroe Film Center, Film Society of Lincoln Center


IN THE EYE OF THE SPIRAL N.Y. PREMIERE
Raynald Leconte and Eve Blouin, USA/Haiti/UK, 2014, 72min.
In English and French with English subtitles

In the Eye of the Spiral details an artistic and philosophical movement born in Haiti called Spiralism, which has spread across the arts, touching upon spirituality and even politics. Featuring narration by Annie Lennox and the music of Brian Eno, the film sheds light on the state of a country hit by corruption and natural disaster, and the incredible will of Haitian artists who produce art as a personal form of redemption and survival. (Screening with About a Mother)

Sunday, May 8th at 7:15pm (Q&A with Raynald Leconte and Eve Blouin) – Elinor Bunin Munroe Film Center, Film Society of Lincoln Center

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INTORE (THE CHOSEN) N.Y. PREMIERE
Eric Kabera, Rwanda, 2014, 64min.
In English

Intore offers a rare and powerful look at how Rwanda survived a tragic past by regaining its identity via music, dance, and the resilience of a new generation. It’s a story of triumph and a lesson in how to forgive and live, told through the eyes of a mother whose grief provides hope; an artist, who chooses to forgive rather than seek revenge; a maestro, who brings together the National Ballet with an incredible touch of genius; and a young man, whose determination and hard work has given the Rwandan culture a new dimension of identity and celebration. These characters and others show viewers how a nation rose above the ashes of a horrific 1994 genocide to become a world model of post-conflict peace and unity. Featuring performances from Rwanda’s top traditional and commercial artists in music and dance, interwoven with poignant interviews with genocide survivors and perpetrators who sit side by side, Rwandan leaders, and the Hollywood elite. (Screening with Some Bright Morning: The Art of Melvin Edwards)

Sunday, May 8th at 1:30pm (Q&A) – Elinor Bunin Munroe Film Center, Film Society of Lincoln Center


KIRIKOU AND THE WILD BEASTS
Michel Ocelot and Benedicte Galup, France, 2005, 75 min.
In English

Lilliputian hero Kirikou must outwit the evil witch Karaba in order to save his village in this follow-up to Michel Ocelot’s animation masterpiece Kirikou and the Sorceress, produced by Didier Brunier (The Triplets of Belleville). Based on West African folk tales, with a soundtrack featuring songs by Youssou N’Dour, Rokia Traore, and others, Kirikou and the Wild Beasts proves that spirit, not size, is the key to overcoming all odds.

Sunday, May 29th at 2:00pm – BAM Rose Cinemas

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LA BELLE AT THE MOVIES N.Y. PREMIERE
Cecilia Zoppelletto, UK/Belgium/Congo, 2015, 67min.
In French and Lingala with English subtitles

Kinshasa, “Kin la Belle” is a city of 10 million people without a single cinema. The story of the city, its apartheid era, and Mobutu’s neocolonialism, unfolds through the fate of its cinemas. At the same time, “La Belle” celebrates the Kinshasa cowboys who found their identity in the Spaghetti Westerns of the 1960s. Through interviews and poetic imagery, La Belle at the Movies bears a unique testimony to an African film industry in crisis – orphaned but living in hope for a brighter future. (Screening with Twaaga)

Friday, May 6th at 4:15pm and Monday, May 9th at 8:30pm (Q&A with Cecilia Zoppelletto)  Elinor Bunin Munroe Film Center, Film Society of Lincoln Center


LAMB
Yared Zeleke, Ethiopia/France/Germany/Norway/Qatar, 2015, 94min.
In Amharic with English subtitles

Yared Zeleke’s remarkable debut feature tells the story of Ephraim, a young Ethiopian boy who is sent by his father to live with distant relatives in the countryside after his mother’s death. Ephraim uses his cooking skills to carve out a place among his cousins, but when his uncle decides that his beloved sheep must be sacrificed for the next religious feast, he will do anything to save the animal and return home.

Thursday, May 26th at 7:30pm and Friday, May 27th at 2:00pm – BAM Rose Cinemas


THE LONGEST KISS
Alexandra Sicotte-Levesque, 2013, Sudan/Canada, 75min.
In English and Arabic with English subtitles

Six Sudanese youth travel up and down the Nile, between north and south Sudan, in search of a place to call home. The youth in north Sudan grapple with a stale dictatorship, while their counterparts in south Sudan hope to start over. But at what cost? The Longest Kiss (the title refers to what the Sudanese commonly call the convergence of the Blue and White Nile in Khartoum) gives voice to youth from varying backgrounds and religions, resulting in an intimate portrait of a complex society that bears witness to its inevitable fragmentation. (Screening with The Prophecy)

Saturday, May 28th at 4:30pm (Q&A with Alexandra Sicotte-Levesque) and 9:30pm – BAM Rose Cinemas


MARTHA & NIKI N.Y. PREMIERE
Tora Mkandawire Mårtens, Sweden, 2015, 93min.
In Swedish with English subtitles

In 2010, Swedish friends Martha Nabwire and Niki Tsappos were the first-ever female hip-hop dance duo to beat all of their opponents—men included—at the most important international street-dance competition, Paris’s Juste Debout. Armed with boundless energy and huge amounts of talent, they annihilated the opposition. But what happens when they don’t come out on top? After one such disappointment, the first cracks began to appear in their friendship, and in spite of their shared passions, the girls’ different backgrounds and personalities come into conflict. This documentary not only captures two successful dancers in action, but also two young adults grappling with very different life questions. Where are your roots, and what elements of your culture do you bring along from your homeland? How do you keep your heritage alive, and how can you deal with all of these things within such a dynamic friendship?

Saturday, May 7th at 1:30pm (Q&A with Tora Mkandawire Mårtens and Niki Tsappos) – Elinor Bunin Munroe Film Center, Film Society of Lincoln Center


MIXTRESS X
Daty Kaba, USA, 2005, 74min.
In English

Mixtress X documents the untold story of female Hip-Hop DJs and their unique contribution to the musical form as they operate and contend with a male-dominated industry.

Saturday, May 14th at 6:00pm (Q&A with Daty Kaba) – Maysles Cinema


NEGRITUDE: A DIALOGUE BETWEEN WOLE SOYINKA AND SENGHOR
Manthia Diawara, USA/France/Germany/Portugal, 2015, 59min.
In English and French with English subtitles

This imagined dialogue between Lepold Sedar Senghor, one of the founding fathers of Negritude, and Nobel Laureate, Wole Soyinka, was reconstructed almost entirely from archival materials. It probes the relevance of the concept of Negritude, against the views of its many critics, not only to the decolonization and independence movements of the 1950s and 1960s, but also to an understanding of the contemporary artistic and political scenes of nationalism, religious intolerance, multiculturalism, the exodus of Africans and other populations from the South, and xenophobic immigration policies in the West.

Tuesday, May 10th at 6:00pm (Q&A with Professor Mamadou Diouf and special guests) – Elinor Bunin Munroe Film Center, Film Society of Lincoln Center

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THE OTHER SIDE OF THE ATLANTIC (DO OUTRO LADO DO ATLÂNTICO) N.Y. PREMIERE
Márcio Câmara and Daniele Ellery, Brazil, 2016, 90min.
In Creole and Portuguese with English subtitles

The Other Side of the Atlantic builds a bridge in the ocean that separates Brazil and Africa. The film tackles cultural exchanges, beliefs, prejudice and dreams built on both sides of the Atlantic through the life stories of students of African descent living in Brazil.

Sunday, May 15th at 6:00pm – Maysles Cinema


ỌYA: SOMETHING HAPPENED ON THE WAY TO WEST AFRICA!
Seyi Adebanjo, Nigeria, 2015, 30min.
In English, and Yoruba with English subtitles

Ọya: Something Happened on the Way to West Africa! follows the journey of Oluseyi Adebanjo as a Queer Gender Non-Conforming Nigerian returning home to connect with Òrìṣà (African God/dess) tradition, and follow a trail back to the powerful legacy of their great grandmother, Chief Moloran Ìyá Ọl ya. This personal and political story vibrantly investigates the heritage of command, mythology, gender fluidity, womyn’s power and the hidden truth behind the power of indigenous Yorùbá spirituality. As they encounter obstacles of a national strike and anti-gay marriage legislation to find the roots of the practice, will they be able to find affirmation for themself as a person between genders/worlds and take on this inheritance? The documentary illuminates the lives of Òrìṣà Ọya (Warrior Goddess), Chief Moloran Ìyá Ọl ya and Seyi Adebanjo while interweaving Yorùbá mythology, poetry, performance, and expert interviews. (Screening with Finah Misa Kule)

Saturday, May 14th at 2:00pm (Q&A with Seyi Adebanjo) – Maysles Cinema


PASTOR PAUL N.Y. PREMIERE
Jules David Bartkowski, USA/Ghana/Nigeria, 2015, 70min.
In English and Pidgin with English subtitles

Pastor Paul tells the story of a white tourist in Africa who is cast to play a ghost in a Nollywood film and suddenly becomes actually possessed by a ghost. From that point on his trip to Africa takes an unexpected turn and his life slowly turns into something not unlike a Nollywood film. Framed as a Chaplin-esque fool, Benjamin wanders around cities and villages seeking the mathematical secrets buried inside African drumming, only to have his project disturbed by becoming a vessel for the spirit of a colonial-era white missionary. Suddenly he’s prone to tourettic utterances, tongue-speaking bible quotes, words of his Nollywood character’s namesake, Pastor Paul. (Screening with Hex)

Friday, May 6th at 9:00pm and Saturday, May 7th at 8:45pm (Q&A with Jules David Bartkowski) – Elinor Bunin Munroe Film Center, Film Society of Lincoln Center


THE PROPHECY
Marcia Juzga, Senegal, 2015, 20min.
French and Wolof with English subtitles

Filmmaker Marcia Juzga offers this behind-the- scenes look at photographer Fabrice Monteiro’s project to raise global awareness about environmental issues in Senegal by combining art, culture, fashion, and tradition. In collaboration with designer Jah Gal, Monteiro captured various sites throughout the country characterized by a jinn, a supernatural genie omnipresent in African cultures. (Screening with The Longest Kiss)

Saturday, May 28th at 4:30pm and 9:30pm – BAM Rose Cinemas

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QUEEN NANNY: LEGENDARY MAROON CHIEFTAINESS
Roy T. Anderson, Jamaica, 2015, 59min.
In Jamaican Patois and English with English subtitles

Nanny was a queen captured in her homeland and forcibly transported across the Atlantic Ocean in the belly of a slave ship. In the New World, she rose up to become the leader of a new nation—of free Africans. However, not many people outside of Jamaica know about the legendary warrior chieftainess of the Jamaican Maroons. She is the only female among Jamaica’s seven national heroes, and her likeness appears on the country’s $500 bill, yet little is known about her. This landmark documentary, conceived by award-winning Jamaican-born, New Jersey–based filmmaker Roy T. Anderson and history professor Harcourt T. Fuller, unearths and examines this mysterious figure, who led a band of former enslaved Africans in the rugged and remote interiors of Jamaica in their victory over the British army during the early to mid-18th century. (Screening with Yemanja)

Sunday, May 8th at 4:15pm (Q&A with Roy Anderson)  Elinor Bunin Munroe Film Center, Film Society of Lincoln Center


RED LEAVES
Bazi Gete, Israel, 2014, 80min.
In Amharic and Hebrew with English subtitles

Seventy-four-year-old Meseganio Tadela (Eshetu) immigrated to Israel from Ethiopia nearly 30 years ago, but has zealously chosen to retain his culture, speaking very little Hebrew. When his wife passes away, he sets out on a journey to visit his fully assimilated children, eventually coming to realize that he belongs to a rapidly disappearing class. Ethiopian-Israeli director Bazi Gete’s debut feature is a beautifully acted, movingly rendered portrait of a man struggling with his place in the world. (Screening with Cholo)

Friday, May 27th at 4:30pm & 9:15pm – BAM Rose Cinemas


SEMBENE!
Jason Silverman and Samba Gadjigo, Senegal/USA, 2015, 82min.
In English and French with English subtitles

In 1952, Ousmane Sembene, a Senegalese dockworker and fifth-grade dropout, began dreaming an impossible dream: to become the storyteller for a new Africa. Sembene! chronicles the self-taught novelist and filmmaker’s 50-year struggle to return African stories to Africans and become the father of African cinema. Sembene’s colleague and biographer Samba Gadjigo uses rare archival footage and more than 100 hours of exclusive materials to tell this remarkable story of an ordinary man who transformed himself into a fearless spokesperson and hero for the marginalized.

Saturday, May 28th at 2:00pm and 7:00pm (Q&A with Samba Gadjigo) – BAM Rose Cinemas


SOME BRIGHT MORNING: THE ART OF MELVIN EDWARDS
Lydie Diakhaté, USA/France, 2016, 51min.
In English

Born in the American South of the late ’30s during segregation, Melvin Edwards is now a world-recognized sculptor. As a black internationalist, Pan-Africanist, and one of the major Modernist innovators in the New York art scene from the days of Abstract Expressionism up through the current Conceptual wave, Edwards is one of the few African-Americans who has a particular strong connection with Africa beyond his origins. Lydie Diakhaté’s film reveals how in Edwards’s work, the global black initiative operates like a vital lifeline in his artistic expression and how exploring different techniques of welding and engaging his cultural and political values he established his own artistic language across five decades. (Screening with Intore)

Sunday, May 8th at 1:30pm (Q&A with Lydie Diakhaté, Melvin Edwards and Clyde Taylor) – Elinor Bunin Munroe Film Center, Film Society of Lincoln Center

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TCHINDAS
Marc Serena and Pablo García Pérez de Lara, Spain/Cape Verde, 2015, 95min.
In Cape Verdean Creole with English subtitles

Within a small, tropical Cape Verdean Island, the beloved Tchinda is hard at work preparing for a Carnival she hopes will capture the town’s imagination. Despite her great reputation, Tchinda remains humble and every afternoon she happily tours the neighborhood to sell her best “coxinhas”, a classic Brazilian treat: delicious fried balls of chicken. Filmmakers Marc Serena and Pablo García Pérez de Lara have crafted a lush, perceptive documentary that at times feels akin to a fairy tale. The film reveals a hidden landscape tucked far away from the world we know, where trans inclusion and teamwork make up the fundamental structure of a truly magical community and culture.

Sunday, May 15th at 8:00pm – Maysles Cinema


TGV
Moussa Touré, France/Germany/Senegal, 1997, 88min.
In Wolof and French with English subtitles

TGV is an express bus service, driven by Rambo, between Dakar (Senegal) and Conakry (Guinea). Before setting off, Rambo and his passengers are warned of the danger of a violent revolt on the Guinea border. On hearing the news, only a dozen or so passengers decide to make the risky trip with Rambo and Demba, his assistant. As they make their way through the chaos, each personality comes to the fore and relationships form.

Monday, May 30th at 2:00pm and 6:30pm – BAM Rose Cinemas


TOO BLACK TO BE FRENCH?
Isabelle Boni-Claverie, France, 2015, 52min.
In French with English subtitles

In 2010, offended by the racist comments against black people held by Jean Paul Guerlain on the France 2 TV news, Isabelle Boni-Claverie organized several demonstrations on the Champs Élysées, negotiated with the LVMH group and obtained a series of measures to promote diversity. However, this incident, which she documents in the film, left her with a bad taste. How is it that today, in France, this is still happening? In response to this question, using a first-person approach, the filmmaker leads an investigation. She invokes the model story of her grandparents, an interracial couple of the 1930s. Reflecting on her upper middle-class childhood, she probes the relationship between class and race. Not without humor, in the manner of: “You know you are black when…”, she asks would-be interlocutors to testify before the camera about the exasperations that they experience. Both personal and collective, the film does not hesitate to call existing policies into question.

Friday, May 13th at 7:00pm (Q&A with Isabelle Boni-Claverie) – Maysles Cinema


TWAAGA (INVINCIBLE)
Cedric Ido, France/ Burkina Faso, 2013, 30min.
In Mooré, French and Arabic with English subtitles

Burkina Faso in 1985 is a country in the throes of revolution. Manu, a young boy who loves comics, tags along with his big brother Albert. When Albert decides to undergo a magic ritual, Manu realizes there are real powers to rival even those of superheroes. (Screening with La Belle at the Movies)

Friday, May 6th at 4:15pm and Monday, May 9th at 8:30pm – Elinor Bunin Munroe Film Center, Film Society of Lincoln Center


UNDER THE STARRY SKY
Dyana Gaye, France/Senegal, 2013, 86min.
In French, Wolof, English and Italian with English subtitles

Between Turin, Dakar, and New York, three destinies cross paths and echo one another, forming a constellation of exile. Twenty-four-year-old Sophie leaves Dakar to join her husband, Abdoulaye, in Turin. Meanwhile, Abdoulaye has already left for New York through a smuggler’s network and 19-year-old Thierno is traveling in Africa for the first time. Under the Starry Sky takes us on a journey through three distinct, diverse cities, underscoring the realities, hopes, and dreams of contemporary emigration.

Sunday, May 29th at 4:00pm, 6:00pm and 8:00pm – BAM Rose Cinemas


WHILE YOU WEREN’T LOOKING
Catherine Stewart, South Africa, 2015, 104min.
In English, Xhosa and Afrikans with English subtitles

The changing landscape of post-Apartheid South African politics and lifestyles is portrayed through two central relationships: a successful black real estate woman who is cheating on her white wife, and their bohemian daughter dating a gender non-confirming woman in the Khayelitsha township.

Friday, May 6th at 2:00pm and Sunday, May 8th at 9:15pm – Elinor Bunin Munroe Film Center, Film Society of Lincoln Center


YEMANJÁ: WISDOM FROM THE AFRICAN HEART OF BRAZIL
Donna C. Roberts and Donna Read, USA/Brazil, 2015, 52min.
In English and Portuguese with English subtitles

Co-Presented by Cinema Tropical 

This documentary, narrated by the Pulitzer Prize–winning author Alice Walker, explores the ethics, social justice, racism, ecological sustainability, and power found in community and faith via the stories of four extraordinary elder female leaders of the Afro-indigenous Candomblé spiritual tradition in Bahia, Brazil. In metropolitan Salvador, the Americas’ main port during the transatlantic slave trade, slavery’s brutal history was transformed into a vibrant religio-cultural tradition in Brazil, the world’s largest Catholic country. Candomblé is a brilliant example of resilience, profound dedication to one’s heritage, and the forces of nature that sustain us all. In the face of tremendous planetary and humanitarian crises, these ancient wisdoms offer inspiration for our shared global concerns. (Screening with Queen Nanny: Legendary Maroon Cheiftainess)

Sunday, May 8th at 4:15pm (Q&A with Donna C. Roberts) – Elinor Bunin Munroe Film Center, Film Society of Lincoln Center 


SHORTS PROGRAM #1 – QUARTIERS LOINTAINS U.S. PREMIERE (total 103min.)

THE RETURN
Yohann Kouam, France, 2013, 22min.
In French with English subtitles

It’s been a year since his big brother left, and Willy, 15, can’t wait for him to return. Willy thought he knew everything about Theo, but when he arrives back in the block, Willy discovers a secret about him…

The Return

THE SENSE OF TOUCH
Jean-Charles Mbotti Mololo, France, 2014, 15min.
In French with English subtitles

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

The Sense of Touch

DESTINO
Zangro, France, 2013, 22min.
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 their mini van, their ‘audiovisual laboratory’. But when Mehdi starts to film the wedding of Leila, his pretty ex-girlfriend…destiny happens.

Destino de Zangro

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.

To Tenderness

Saturday, May 7th at 4:00pm (Q&A with Alice Diop and Quartiers Lointains programmer Caire Diao) – Elinor Bunin Munroe Film Center, Film Society of Lincoln Center


SHORTS PROGRAM #2 – AFRICA IN NEW YORK (total 58min.)

AFRIPEDIA X NEW YORK
Teddy Goitom, Benjamin Taft, Senay Berhe, Sweden/USA, 2016, 12min.
In English

In the first in a series of short films set in the African diaspora, we meet Ethiopian/Eritrean Missla Libsekal, the founder of online publication Another Africa, as she embraces collaboration to counter the assumed perspectives of Africa and Africans. Senegalese/French photographer Delphine Diallo shares her passion and challenges in mindfully shifting her lens between Dakar and New York, while Somalian/Australian world champion Hula Hoop master Marawa continues to perfect her passion in the face of conventional expectations. Welcome to Afripedia, welcome to creativity.

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ANTON
Ntare Guma Mbaho Mwine, USA/Uganda/Germany, 2016, 5min.
In German with English subtitles

A young German boy longs for his father in Africa.

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CONTAINED
Mamadou Dia, Senegal/USA, 2016, 5min.
In French with English subtitles

A man suspected of having Ebola is quarantined. Contained alone, he starts to question his health and his psychological state.

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OLIVE
Alfonso Johnson, USA, 2016, 6.5min.
In English

Olive is a short film that explores betrayal, heartbreak, and chance encounters. The film was inspired by the song O Mistress Mine written by William Shakespeare and performed by Caleb Eberhardt of the hip hop/jazz duo Quincy Vidal.

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RELUCTANTLY QUEER
Akosua Adoma Owusu, Ghana/USA, 2016, 8min.
In English

This epistolary short film invites us into the unsettling life of a young Ghanaian man struggling to reconcile his love for his mother with his love for same-sex desire amid the increased tensions incited by same-sex politics in Ghana. Focused on a letter that is ultimately filled with hesitation and uncertainty, Reluctantly Queer both disrobes and questions what it means to be queer for this man in this time and space.

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NEW YORK, I LOVE YOU
Iquo B. Essien, USA, 2016, 21min.
In English

Viviane is a neurotic, struggling actress given to childish flights of fancy–like moving to Los Angeles on a whim. But can she leave New York and Kazembe, the love of her life, behind?

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Tuesday, May 10th at 7:45pm (Q&A with Iquo B. Essien, Alfonso Johnson, Mamadou Dia, Hoji Fortuna) – Elinor Bunin Munroe Film Center, Film Society of Lincoln Center


ART SHOW: DIGITAL DIASPORA FAMILY REUNION
May 4 – 10, 2016

Amphitheater at The Elinor Bunin Munroe Film Center – Free & Open to the Public

Digital Diaspora Family Roadshow

This digital art exhibit features portraits and images from the Digital Diaspora Family Reunion Roadshow, which enhance and expand the boundaries of the roadshow events to an even larger audience across time and space, creating an inter-generational, cross-cultural experience. The exhibit includes people working together in groups using smartphone photography to record and preserve their family histories.

Sunday, May 1st 2016, 2:00 pm- 4:15 pm

DIGITAL DIASPORA FAMILY REUNION ROADSHOW +  PANEL DISCUSSION – ART & ACTIVISM: PERSONAL JOURNEYS

The Amphitheater at Film Society of Lincoln Center
144 W. 65th Street
New York, NY 10023-6595

The 23rd edition of the New York African Film Festival opens with a special live, interactive town hall event featuring the Digital Diaspora Family Reunion Roadshow. People of all background are invited to bring family photos (on phones, Ipads, or traditional print photos) to the event for a chance to be selected to share their family stories, and in the process discover the links that underlie our common humanity. Those who wish to come and simply watch the event as audience members are welcome too. A panel discussion with creatives from the African Diaspora will follow the interactive family reunion roadshow.

2016 New York African Film Festival Town Hall Meeting Event

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The 23rd New York African Film Festival (NYAFF) opens with a special live, interactive town hall meeting featuring the Digital Diaspora Family Reunion (DDFR) on Sunday, May 1st at the Amphitheater of Film Society of Lincoln Center. Developed by artist-filmmaker Thomas Allen Harris, Digital Diaspora Family Reunion Roadshow is a powerful program that helps bridge perceived differences between people and transforms strangers into family.

People of all backgrounds are invited to bring family photos (on phones, Ipads or traditional prints) to the event for a chance to be one of the selected individuals asked to share their family stories, and in the process discover the links that underlie our common humanity as their photos are projected on a large screen for the audience. Those who want to come and simply watch the event as audience members are welcome too.

Click here to reserve your free ticket.

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A special Art & Activism: Personal Journeys panel discussion with creatives from the African Diaspora including Thomas Allen Harris, photographer Delphine Fawundu, musician Ayoinmotion and actress-educator Malika Lee Whitney will follow the interactive family reunion.

The 2016 New York African Film Festival Town Hall Meeting
The Amphitheater at Film Society of Lincoln Center (in the Elinor Bunin Munroe Film Center)

Sunday, May 1, 2016, 2:00pm – 4:30pm
144 West 65th Street
New York, NY 10023

This event is free, but registration is requested. Seating is on a first come, first seated basis.

Presented under the theme Modern Days, Ancient Nights: 50 Years of African Film Filmmaking –marking the 50th anniversary of the 1966 Cannes Film Festival debut of Ousmane Sembene’s Black Girl (La Noire de…)— the 2016 New York African Film Festival will present film screenings, artist Q&As, a digital art exhibit, and other ancillary programs. NYAFF is a month- long, multi-venue event taking place at Film Society of Lincoln Center (May 1 and 4—10, 2016); Maysles Cinema  (May 13– 15, 2016); and Brooklyn Academy of Music’s BAMcinematek (May 26 – 30, 2016).

Tickets on Sale! 23rd NYAFF Opening Night Screening & Reception- TANNA

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Click here for tickets to the Opening Night Screening + Reception

The 23rd New York African Film Festival (NYAFF) returns to Film Society of Lincoln Center (FSLC) this May. Under the banner Modern Days, Ancient Nights: 50 Years of African Filmmaking, marking the 50th anniversary of Ousmane Sembène’s celebrated first feature, Black Girl (La Noire de…), the 2016 festival will present films from countries throughout Africa and the diaspora. The NYAFF continues throughout May at Maysles Cinema (May 13-15) and the Brooklyn Academy of Music’s BAMcinématek (May 26-30).

The screenings of the 2016 New York African Film Festival begin on Wednesday, May 4th in the Walter Reade Theater of Film Society of Lincoln Center with the New York premiere of Tanna by Bentley Dean and Martin Butler. Following the screening and Q&A, a reception in support of the programs of African Film Festival, Inc. will be held in the Furman Gallery of the Walter Reade Theater.

For general admission tickets to the screening only, visit  www.filmlinc.org or click here.

Tanna is set in the South Pacific where Wawa, a young girl from one of the last traditional tribes, falls in love with her chief’s grandson, Dain. When an intertribal war escalates, Wawa is unknowingly betrothed as part of a peace deal. Soon after, the young lovers run away, but are pursued by enemy warriors intent on killing them. Dain and Wawa must choose between their hearts and the future of their people, while the villagers wrestle with preserving their culture and adapting to the increasing outside demands for individual freedom. Bentley Dean and Martin Butler’s feature debut is based on a true story and its cast features members of the Yakel tribe in Vanuatu.

Director Bentley Dean, Jimmy Joseph Nako, the film’s cultural director, and distributor Arnie Holland will be in attendance for an audience Q&A following the screening.

The screening of Tanna begins at 7:00pm followed by a 9:15pm Opening Night Reception to support the programs of African Film Festival, Inc. 

23rd New York African Film Festival Statement

‘Modern Days, Ancient Nights: 50 Years of African Filmmaking’

When Senegalese pioneer Ousmane Sembène premiered his masterpiece Black Girl at Cannes in 1966, it was the first time a Sub-Saharan feature film was accepted in the European cinema mecca. The international film world turned its head to Africa, and Sembène, “the father of African cinema” brought the highly regarded “Prix Jean Vigo” home to Dakar. The first generation of pan-African artists and activists used cinema as a platform to comment on and fight for their people’s rights. The world these men and women envisioned was composed of free, independent, equal, and solidary nations and individuals, and the universal language of cinema was a perfect means to inform, educate, and entertain both local and international audiences. 50 years later, historical and contemporary events make their dreams seem further away. Nevertheless, their personal and artistic commitment is a living model for the youth, who honor their legacy in the field of art and creation in our interconnected digital era.

Armed with their imagination, these fearless men and women continue the struggle of their ancestors, transforming film language in innovative and unexpected ways to forge new identities, find their way back home, and create new spaces to incite dialogue against injustice. Wars, migration and forced displacement are salient factors reshaping the face of the earth, concealing dramatic individual and collective stories. New languages, styles, genres, and narratives, stitched together with the richness of international references, pop culture, and vernacular traditions, bring to light an African-inflected world in constant change and mutation.

Under the banner Modern Days, Ancient Nights: 50 Years of African Filmmaking the 23rd edition of the New York African Film Festival honors the legacy of Sembène. The festival returns to New York to show film-lovers the most fascinating selection of narrative features, documentaries, and shorts from the African continent and the Diaspora. More than 50 works from over 25 countries display the exhilarating labor of a new generation of filmmakers working from the four corners of the world, enriching the growing patrimony of African cinema.

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Opening Night film Tanna by Bentley Dean and Martin Butler
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Centerpiece Night Film Price of Love by Hermon Hailay

To celebrate the International Decade of People of African Descent, a carefully chosen group of feature films and documentaries emphasize the encounter and interchange between cultures, spaces and human beings. Centerpieces of the program are the enigmatic Tanna, a timeless epic fable set in the South Pacific, based on real events, with breathtaking cinematography; Price of Love by Hermon Hailay, an Ethiopian melodrama dealing with prostitution, poverty, and human trafficking; and Rain the Color Blue with a Little Red in it, an homage to Prince’s Purple Rain and the first-ever fiction film in the language of the Tuareg people. Ghana, South Africa and Nigeria complete the feature film section with the absorbing historical and allegorical narratives 76 and The Cursed Ones; While You Weren’t Looking, a melodramatic take on new queer identities; the one-man thriller Cuckold; and Pastor Paul, a surrealist and hilarious ghostly encounter between Nollywood and the West.

We pay tribute to the explosion of a new wave of original documentaries in the FSLC program with several present-day gems about the role of art as a revolutionary, healing, and social tool in Martha & Niki, an account of the friendship of the first female couple to become World Champions of Hip Hop; Intore (The Chosen) introduces us to prominent Rwandan artists who played a fundamental part after the genocide. As shown in Some Bright Morning: The Art of Melvin Edwards, the life and work of African-American sculptor M. Edwards has been uncompromised for five decades. The historical significance and current decline of cinema theaters in Kinshasa is the core of La Belle at the Movies. Finally, Manthia Diawara stages a conversation between Wole Soyinka and L. Sédar Senghor to reflect on the achievements and limitations of Négritude.

The need for old African practices, religions, and people to adapt once they touched the other side of the Atlantic is a sub-theme of the documentary section. Queen Nanny: Legendary Maroon Chieftainess goes deep into the legend and reality of Jamaica’s sole national heroine; we penetrate into Candomblé’s female rituals in Brazil in Yemanjá. Wisdom from the African Heart of Brazil; and In the Eye of the Spiral, the Haitian philosophy and aesthetics of spiralism will leave no one indifferent. In the meanwhile back on the continent, the constant quest for spirituality leads to an upsurge of newly created African Jewish communities in Black Jews: The Root of the Olive Tree.

We reach the heights of innovation in the short format. French-based African filmmakers cope with love through animation (The Sense of Touch), bold interviews (Towards Tenderness), and melodrama and comedy (Destino). Their peers based in New York offer a fluid emotional map of our adopted city. Both the indigenous Nigerian horror film Hex by Clarence Peters and Cédric Ido’s super hero revolutionary tale Twaaga (Invincible) from Burkina Faso, are not-to-miss experiences.

At Maysles Cinema, a handful of the newest African documentaries about hidden artistic traditions and silenced truths correct the official historical narrative of Africa. Too Black to be French? by Isabelle Boni-Claverie, examines structural racism in the cradle of humanism, while The Pharaohs of Modern Day Egypt by Jihan El-Tahri, gives us an exhaustive panorama of the land of the pyramids since independence. In our last stop at BAM Cinématek, stories of displacement, exile, and human contacts, as well as a series of films about the creative process of contemporary African artists, will be screened along with the thorough “authorized” biography Sembene! by Samba Gadjigo and the mesmerizing TGV by Moussa Touré, an unexpected train trip to the rhythm of Wasis Diop’s unforgettable soundtrack.

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Sembene! by Samba Gadjigo and Jason Silverman

Mark Your Calendars!

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It’s almost that time of year again! The 2016 New York African Film Festival (NYAFF) will be back with new and exciting films (and some classics too!). Under the banner of Modern Days, Ancient Nights: 50 Years of African Filmmaking, the NYAFF will be celebrating the 50 year anniversary of Black Girl by Ousmane Sembene, which screened at Cannes Film Festival in 1966. We’ve got an amazing lineup of narrative, documentary, animation and short films.

In collaboration with Film Society of Lincoln Center, BAMcinématek and Maysles Cinema, this year’s festival will kick off with a special town hall event at Film Society of Lincoln Center’s Amphitheater on Sunday, May 1.

From Film Society of Lincoln Center (May 1 and May 4 – 10), the festival will continue on to Maysles Cinema (May 13 – 15) in Harlem and conclude at Brooklyn Academy of Music (May 26 – 30) in conjunction with DanceAfrica.

Stay tuned for more details on the film line-up, events, screening times, and director/artist appearances and much more!

Without the generous contributions of our supporters, the New York African Film Festival and the other programs of AFF would not be possible! Please consider making a donation today.

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Women’s History Month Screening at NeueHouse

 

NeueHouse_AfricanFilmFestival Women's History Month Celebration

Thursday, March 17th 6:45 PM-9:15PM

Join NeueHouse and African Film Festival, Inc. for a celebration of Women’s History Month with directors Ekwa Msangi (Soko Sonko) and Alla Kovgan (Nora), and  dancer-choreographer nora chipaumire. 

In the quest to give an authentic voice to women in their personal search for identity, Msangi, Kovgan and chipaumire have crafted works which pay homage to female individuality and the collective family structure, whilst challenging the old belief systems of a woman’s role. 

A screening of Msangi’s Soko Sonko — a comedic tale about the father-daughter bond and gender-role reversals– and Nora, an elegant dance biopic based on chipaumire’s childhood in Zimbabwe, will be followed by a discussion with the artists. 

This is a free, private screening. RSVP is required. RSVPs must be sent to RSVPNY@NeueHouse.com. 

Jihan El-Tahri’s Nasser Screening at MoMA Doc Fortnight

Join us at MoMA’s Doc Fortnight 2016, with two screenings of Nasser by Jihan El-Tahri. This year’s Doc Fortnight takes place February 19 – 29, 2016. We hope to see you there!

U.S. Premiere 2015. France/South Africa. Directed by Jihan El-Tahri. 97 min.

Screening Thursday, February 25 and Friday, February 26

Beginning in 1952, with the resistance against the British Occupation, the film follows the rise to power of Egypt’s iconic leader Gamal Abdul Nasser, capturing in captivating detail his struggle to make Egypt the secular leader of the Arab world. Using military connections, popular support, foresight, and cunning, Nasser became president, and in the end his repression of all opposition proved both his greatest strength and his downfall. This comprehensive documentary is jampacked with interviews—of members of the Muslim Brotherhood, government officials, communists, military personnel, and foreign diplomats—interspersed with mainstream film clips and an explicit narration. A Doc Fortnight/African Film Festival, Inc. collaboration. In Arabic, English, Russian; English subtitles

POST-SCREENING DISCUSSIONS WITH JIHAN EL-TAHRI

Thursday, February 25, 7:30 
Friday, February 26, 4:30 

Tickets:

$12.00
$10.00
$8.00

For more details visit MoMA

New Year, New Things!

As we move deeper into the winter season, take a look back at some of AFF’s programming from Summer and Fall 2015.

Family Day Celebration on Governors Island

Check out a video highlighting events from our annual Family Day Celebration on Governors Island, which includes dance classes taught by world renowned instructors, needle arts, double-dutch, storytelling, film screenings and amazing African and diaspora cuisine.

 

Am I – Post-Screening Discussion with Nadia Sasso at Maysles Cinema

This past Fall, AFF and Doc Watchers presented a screening of Nadia Sasso’s Am I: Too African to be American, Too American to be African. Following the screening was a very thought-provoking discussion moderated by Ngozi Odita. Check out some of the highlights below.

 

New Additions to the Sierra Leone Cultural Conservation Program Website

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The Sierra Leone CCP Oral History Project

This oral history project documents events surrounding the Ebola outbreak of 2014 in West Africa. In Sierra Leone, where the outbreak was first reported in early 2014, CCP participant Jongopie Cole asked citizens about their opinions and experiences with Ebola and also documented a case of an Ebola victim who sadly passed away several days after the recording was made.

2015 CCP Graduation Films

The Sierra Leone Cultural Conservation Program (CCP) is proud to present the 2015 Graduation Short Films by participants who completed the 3 1/2 year training program. Please enjoy the videos!

Visit ccp.africanfilmny.org for more

Celebrate Black History Month– AFRIPEDIA Screening at The Schomburg

 

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Afripedia Screening & Discussion

Thursday, February 18th, 2016, 6:30pm – 8:30pm

Schomburg Center for Research in Black Culture
515 Malcolm X Boulevard
New York, NY 10037

Join us at The Schomburg Center for Research in Black Culture as we celebrate Black History Month with a screening of the Ghana and Senegal episodes from the Afripedia series. Directors Teddy Goitom and Senay Berhe will be present for a post-screening talkback.

Afripedia— a documentary series by Teddy Goitom, Benjamin Taft, and Senay Berhe — is dedicated to showcasing artists, musicians, filmmakers, and other creatives from Africa and its Diaspora. Spend an evening with AFF and the Schomburg Center as we co-present a screening of this engrossing visual guide to the cultural movements taking place in African metropolises and the young artists on the continent who are making Black History now!

This event is FREE and open to the public, but registration is required. Please click here to reserve your seats now. All attendees are advised to arrive early as registered seats will be released 15-30 minutes before the start of the program. Click here for more details on the Schomburg Center’s registration/admission policy.

20TH NATIONAL TRAVELING SERIES

In 2015-2016, African Film Festival, Inc. (AFF) celebrates the 20th 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 20th edition of the National Traveling Series is comprised of eight films presented under the theme of “International Decade of People of African Descent.” The films represent a unique opportunity to examine the ways in which people of African descent have broken through borders with films and narratives, that form part of the global imagination. Likewise, the use of technology to help usher in the many cultural and social movements taking place on the continent is spotlighted in this edition of the National Traveling Series.

If you have an interest in bringing the films of the 2015-2016 National Traveling Series to your community, please contact the African Film Festival office at 212.352.1720 or by email at nyaff@erols.com for full details. Our team will be happy to work with you in order help bring African cinema to your community.

FEATURE FILMS

HEAD GONE
DARE FASASI, NIGERIA/SWEDEN, 2014, 111min.
In English & Pidgin with English subtitles

Due to a road mishap, a bus driver loses a group of psychiatric patients on the way to a federal hospital. To cover up the mistake, he and a nurse pick up unsuspecting commuters to substitute the patients and the plot thickens as the new passengers must try to prove their sanity in a psychiatric institution, while the escapees try to adjust to a new environment. This allegorical comedy of errors features some of Nigeria’s biggest names  including Innocent “2Face” Idibia, Alleluya “Alibaba” Akporobomerere, Bright “Basketmouth” Okpoucha, and more.

 

THE LONGEST KISS (A jamais, pour toujours)
ALEXANDRA SICOTTE-LEVESQUE, SUDAN, 2013, 72min
In English & Arabic with English subtitles

The meeting of the Blue and White Nile in Sudan’s capital, Khartoum, is referred to as ‘the longest kiss in history.’ As the Arab Spring was in full bloom, Sudan, straddling between the Middle East and Africa, was about to split in two. The film follows six young Sudanese searching for a place to call ‘home’ as their journeys take us up and down the Nile, between north and south Sudan, ahead of the south’s secession. Facing conflicting identities, youth in north Sudan grapple with a stale dictatorship while others in south Sudan hope to start over—but at what costs? For the first time a film gives a voice to Sudanese youth from different origins, Muslims and Christians. It is an intimate portrait of a complex society that bears witness to its inevitable fragmentation.

 

RED LEAVES (Alim Adumim)
BAZI GETE, ISRAEL, 2014, 80min.
In Hebrew and Amharic with English subtitles

Meseganio Tadela, 74, immigrated to Israel from Ethiopia 28 years ago with his family. He has chosen to zealously retain his culture, talks very little, and hardly speaks Hebrew. After losing his wife, Meseganio sets out on a journey that leads him through his children’s homes. He comes to realize that he belongs to a rapidly disappearing class that believes in retaining Ethiopian culture. As this harsh reality begins to hit him, he struggles to survive according to his own rules.

 

SHORT FILMS

AFRIPEDIA: GHANA
TEDDY GOITOM, BENJAMIN TAFT AND SENAY BERHE, GHANA/KENYA/SWEDEN, 2014, 28min.
In English

The whispers among connoisseurs talk about Accra as the next big hotspot for African cultural production, and Afripedia: Ghana suggests they’re not wrong. Meet outspoken and androgynous music star Wiyaala and exciting trick-bikers Bikelordz whose BMX skills and flamboyant style have taken neighborhoods by storm. Visual artist Afrogallonism puts on extraordinary outdoor performances to highlight environmental issues.

AFRIPEDIA: KENYA
TEDDY GOITOM, BENJAMIN TAFT AND SENAY BERHE, GHANA/KENYA/SWEDEN, 2014, 28min.
In English

Take an intimate look at Nairobi’s urban culture scene and its leading personalities and stars. Meet 3D-artist Andrew Kaggia, creator of a 3D-animated political short film, taking you to his futuristic vision of Nairobi and proving that disability is never inability. Afro-futuristic pop band and DIY-enthusiasts Just a Band redefine music videos, and visual artist Cyrus introduces us to his remarkable collection created solely with found materials.

 

CHOLO
MUZNA ALMUSAFER, OMAN, 2014 21min.
In Swahili with English subtitles

The dark-skinned, 11-year-old Cholo meets his fair-skinned younger stepbrother, Abdullah for the first time when their father Said arrives in Muscat. Although strikingly different, the boys have great chemistry. Cholo is a young boy full of imagination and a great love for nature and life. However, jealousy, competitiveness, and curiosity arise between the two, as they go through a journey of self-discovery.

 

PANIC BUTTON
LIBBY DOUGHERTY, SOUTH AFRICA, 2014, 25min.
In English

From the moment that Tshepo, a security guard, breaks through Jenny’s multi-locked door to save her, she feels as if she’s been swept off her feet. But as Jenny imagines herself falling in love with him, an unhealthy, delusional obsession begins to take shape.

 

THE PROPHECY
MARCIA JUZGA, SENEGAL, 2015, 20min.
In French & Wolof with English subtitles

Concerned about the environmental issues that Senegal is facing, photographer Fabrice Monteiro, in collaboration with the designer “Jah Gal,” created The Prophecy. The objective of this photographic project is to raise global awareness of the environment by combining art, culture, fashion, and tradition. The essence of each site photographed is characterized by a Jinn — supernatural genies omnipresent in African cultures — merging with its environment. Marcia Juzga’s film is a behind-the-scenes look at the making of Monteiro’s project.

A Message from Abderrahmane Sissako…

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“My first encounter with NYAFF took place twenty-two years ago, and though I am far from being its progenitor, I was there to witness its birth.  This encounter, which would mark my first voyage to New York, took place in Africa, at the Panafrican Film and Television Festival in Ouagadougou. The better part of the participants had met up after the screening in La Forêt, the mythic restaurant of the day, to dine together and to share our hopes for our cinema’s eventual emancipation. I was one of the novices joining the family of African cinema with their early efforts. A woman approached me and said, with her now-legendary determination, like that of a soldier, a warrior for good causes, “My name is Mahen,” and she spoke to me of her festival and of her wish for me to attend its first edition. “Yes,” I replied, without having understood everything. She wanted to bring little-known images to New York, to spure a meeting between meaning and desire.”

                                                                                                             – Abderrahmane Sissako

Founded in 1990 by Mahen Bonetti, African Film Festival, Inc. continues to introduce the best in cinema and culture from Africa and its Diaspora. AFF has exposed audiences to veteran and emerging filmmakers and multidisciplinary artists through the New York African Film Fesitval (NYAFF) and its other year-round programs.

Please consider making a donation today. Through your generosity, AFF will be able to bring the next generation of African and Diasporan artists, directors, and tastemakers to the forefront.

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AFF is a 501 (c)(3) nonprofit organization. All donations are tax-deductible.

Support AFF This #GivingTuesday

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Shopping #Black Friday or #Cyber Monday? What are you doing on #Giving Tuesday?

#GivingTuesday –which was established as a way to help people give back after Black Friday and Cyber Monday– is a great way to give help your favorite charities.

This year #GivingTuesday will take place on Tuesday, December 1st. We hope that you will take a moment to help African Film Festival, Inc. (AFF) on #GivingTuesday by making a donation to support our programs. Your donation will help us continue to present AFF programs such as the New York African Film Festival, Young Adults Education Program, Community Engagement Programs, National Traveling Series, and the Summer Outdoor Series-many of which are free to the public!

AFF is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization so a portion of your donation is tax deductible!

Please click below to make a donation:

Thank you for your contribution! Please help us spread the word by sharing, re-tweeting, and re-posting on social media!

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Nov. 19 screening of Am I: Too African to be American or Too American to be African?

 

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What does it mean to be an African born in America? AFF and DocWatchers invite you to join us for a screening of Am I: Too African to be American or Too American to be African? by Nadia Sasso at Maysles Cinema on Thursday, November 19th at 7:00pm. The film features interviews with a number of prominent first generation Americans of African descent, including Issa Rae of Awkward Black Girl fame. The filmmaker, Nadia Sasso, will be in attendance.

Maysles Cinema
343 Lenox Avenue,
New York, NY 10027
Between 127th and 128th Street

Film Synopsis:
Am I: Too African to be American or Too American to be African? is a documentary film that explores the complex identity formations of young African women living in America and West Africa who identify bi-culturally. It specifically looks at how they wrestle with concepts of race, complexion, gender, and heritage among other issues.

Click here for tickets.

A reception will follow the screening.