The 20th Annual NY African Film Festival will return this year to the Film Society of Lincoln Center from April 3 – 9. The festival will continue at Columbia University’s Institute of African Studies on Thursday, April 18 for a day long, free scholarly public program, then head to the Maysles Cinema Institute in Harlem from May 2 to 6. NYAFF will close over Memorial Day Weekend May 24 to 27 at the Brooklyn Academy of Music BAMcinématek—part of the dance and music festival DanceAfrica.
April 3 – 9, 2013: Film Society of Lincoln Center
April 18, 2013: Columbia University’s Institute of African Studies
May 2 – 6, 2013: Maysles Cinema Institute
May 24 – 27, 2013: Brooklyn Academy of Music – BAMcinématek
Caribbean Films @ the Festival:
In the midst of increasing political violence in their homeland, the lives of three pairs of Haitian refugees intersect in 1980s New York City. They must confront the disturbing truth of their pasts, as the history of their interlocked lives is slowly revealed. For more information, visit the film’s FB page.
At the age of eight, Toussaint Louverture is marked forever when he sees his father, an old slave, judged unproductive and thrown into the harbor. As an adult and a free man, Louverture leads the slave revolt that results in the independence of Haiti.
Watch the trailer here:
Granddaughter of legendary artist Bob Marley, Donisha Prendergast, travels around the world to explore the roots and evolution of Rastafari. For more information, visit the film’s website and FB page.
Watch the trailer here:
About NY African Film Festival 2013:
Under the banner “Looking Back, Looking Forward: 20 Years of the New York African Film Festival”, the 2013 edition is dedicated to commemorating half a century of African cinema and two decades of work introducing American audiences to the best of this cinema and its protagonists.
To celebrate its 20th anniversary, NYAFF is paying homage to Senegalese filmmaker Ousmane Sembène -the ‘father of African cinema’- and to the first generation of African filmmakers, while passing the baton to a new group of storytellers who continue to challenge our understanding of the continent. This two-month multi-venue event will once again bring to New York a unique selection of classic and contemporary African films, running the gamut from features, shorts, and documentaries to experimental films and archival footage. In order to challenge preconceptions and spread knowledge about the continent and its Diaspora, supplementary programs such as panel discussions, visual and performing art exhibitions, workshops, and in-school presentations for K-12 and university students will take place alongside the projections.
For our tribute to Ousmane Sembène, the Festival chose Borom Sarret, the first African short, as well as Guelwaar, one of the most trenchant comic portraits of contemporary Africa to date. Both were shown in the early days of NYAFF, and are being brought back now to encapsulate thirty years of Sembène’s career and of African cinema and of provoking dialogue among audience members and directors.
Two award-wining movies from Abderrahmane Sissako will bridge the gap dividing first-generation African filmmakers and their younger counterparts. Life on Earth, a deeply poetic letter to the filmmaker’s father at the turn of the millennium, will be shown along with one of his early shorts, October, a love story in black and white, between an African student and a Russian woman in Moscow, which touches on central themes of the African in exile and migration as nostalgia and displacement.
With these year’s contemporaries the films will cover a broad range of countries, styles, proposals and themes. The Festival will cross the waters of the Atlantic to meet the dreams of freedom spread by the Caribbean Diaspora in Philippe Niang’s Toussaint Louverture and then embark on a road trip within the continent, in a crowded Senegalese bus of Moussa Touré‘s TGV, where each passenger’s motivation for making the trip is slowly revealed. Lonesome Solo’s urban noir Burn It Up Djassa speaks of a new generation from Ivory Coast determined to write its own future to the rhythm of its poetry, music and dance. Nairobi Half Life by David Tosh Gitonga scours the new lifestyle of the chaotic Kenyan capital with a mix of comedy and tragedy, while Faouzi Bensaïdi portrays a group of petty criminals struggling to survive in Tétouan in Death For Sale.
Women’s presence in African cinema has dramatically increased, correcting a longtime imbalance. Veteran filmmaker Licínio Azevedo’s Virgin Margarida is a timeless tale of female solidarity and struggle. Patricia Benoit’s Stones in the Sun deals with the traumas of memory of a group of Haitian refugees living in the US, while Chinonye Chukwu’s autobiographical debut Alaskaland opens an intimate window onto the conflicts of a young Alaska-raised Nigerian struggling to come to terms with his cultural heritage. Documentaries have always been a privileged format for investigation into social, cultural and artistic realities for many African filmmakers, and it makes up a significant proportion of this edition’s screenings: Cameroonian Osvalde Lewat presents her latest documentary Land Rush, co-directed by Hugo Berkeley, to reflect on the economic and political forces behind recent international agricultural investments in Mali. The tandem of Claudia Palazzi and Clio Sozzani go to Ethiopia to film Jeans and Martò, an inspiring story of education fighting against the burdens of tradition and obstructionism. Christine Delorme’s tour-de-force interview with this year’s dedicatee, Ousmane Sembène, tout à la fois (Ousmane Sembène All At Once), offers a sensitive testament to the charismatic filmmaker, and Cosima Spender’s Dolce Vita Africana is an iconic journey into Mali’s recent history through an unforgettable portrait of one of the most famous African photographers of all time: Malick Sidibé.