FSLC and African Film Fest, Inc. Announce the Complete Lineup for the New York African Film Festival, May 16-22
The Film Society of Lincoln Center (FSLC) and African Film Festival, Inc. (AFF) celebrate the silver anniversary of the New York African Film Festival at FSLC from May 16 to 22. Under the theme "25 Years of the New York African Film Festival," the international film organizations will pay homage to THE PIONEERS of African cinema while marking the passing of the baton to a new generation of African visual storytellers who continue to transform and expand our understanding of the continent and its diaspora. The event also commemorates the 100th birthday of the venerated South African freedom fighter and national leader Nelson Mandela, with a crop of films from his native land. The month-long festival brings 66 films from 25 countries to FSLC, the Brooklyn Academy of Music's BAMcinématek, and Maysles Cinema in Harlem.
"Since the founding of the New York African Film Festival, African cinema has moved BEYOND the art house and become the lingua franca of AFRICA and its diaspora," said AFF Executive Director and NYAFF Founder Mahen Bonetti. "From Nigeria to South AFRICA and Brazil, regional film industries are breaking down the artificial demarcations of the colonial era. For this 25th milestone, the festival is proud to showcase this new wave of a borderless cinema, which uses the tactility and immediacy of storytelling to offer audiences opportunities to imagine other futures for AFRICA and its diaspora.".
Opening Night will spotlight Apolline Traoré's award-winning film, Borders, which speaks to migration as well as to African women's struggles, in a timely echo of the #MeToo movement. The film follows four women as they travel from Mali to Nigeria, supporting each other while battling sexism and corruption. The film won three prizes at FESPACO, including the Paul Robeson Prize for the best film by a director from the African diaspora. Borders will screen with a short film dedicated to the memory of Burkinabé director Idrissa Ouedraogo, who passed away in February and was a mentor to Traoré. A fundraising gala will follow the screening. Tickets for the film and Opening Night Gala are $200 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.
French director Berni Goldblat's Wallay will have its New York premiere as the festival's Centerpiece film on Friday, May 18. The coming-of-age tale follows Ady, a young troublemaker sent from France to his single father's homeland of Burkina Faso for the summer. There, the teen finds new challenges as he navigates a different world.The festival tips a hat to key figures in the history of African film with the U.S. premieres of Abderrhamane Sissako: BEYOND Territories, Valérie Osouf's intimate portrait of the acclaimed director of Bamako and the Oscar-nominated Timbuktu; a 2017 version of the 1983 classic Selbe: One Among Many, by Safi Faye, the first sub-Saharan woman to direct a theatrically released film, now RESTORED to its original Wolof language; and Mohamed Challouf's Tahar Cheriaa: Under the Shadow of the Baobab, which documents the career of the founder of the Carthage Film Festival, Africa's first film festival. The festival will include the 1989 documentary short Parlons Grand-mère by the late Senegalese director Djibril Diop Mambéty.
Other highlights include films from a new wave of African directors, including Machérie Ekwa Bahango of the Democratic Republic of the Congo and Jeferson De of Brazil. The festival kicks off with a town hall meeting on Sunday, May 13, at the Film Society of Lincoln Center's Amphitheater. Titled "Activism & Art: Personal Journeys," it will bring together storytellers of various mediums to discuss how their art informs their activism."Falling," a free digital and interactive art exhibition exploring youth activism in Southern Africa, will run during the FSLC segment at the Elinor Bunin Munroe Film Center Amphitheater. Tickets go on sale May 4 and are $15; $12 for students, seniors (62+), and persons with disabilities; and $10 for Film Society members. See more and save with a 3+ film discount package. Learn more at filmlinc.org. The NYAFF heads to the Brooklyn Academy of Music (BAMcinématek) Thursday, May 24, through Monday, May 28, as a part of BAM's popular dance and music festival DanceAfrica. It closes with a series of classic and contemporary narratives and documentaries at Maysles Cinema in Harlem running Thursday, June 7, through Sunday, June 10.
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, The Shelley & Donald Rubin Foundation, Domenico Paulon Foundation, NYC & Company, French Cultural Services, Manhattan Portage, City Bakery, Black Hawk Imports, Essentia Water, South African Consulate General, National Film and Video Foundation, Consulate General of Sweden in New York, Hudson Hotel, and Royal Air Maroc.