The New York African Film Festival returns to the Film Society of Lincoln Center for its 23rd edition, bringing another thrilling and multifaceted selection of African films from the continent and the Diaspora to New York audiences. Among the highlights this year are the Opening Night film, Tanna, set in one of the world’s last tribal societies; the first narrative feature in the Tuareg language, Akounak Tedalat Taha Tazoughai; shorts programs that consider Africa from France, New York, and beyond; and a host of enthralling narrative features and eye-opening documentaries that reflect on the ways African men and women have broken through borders with films and stories that form part of the global imagination.
The New York African Film Festival returns to the Film Society of Lincoln Center for its 23rd edition, bringing another thrilling and multifaceted selection of African films from the continent and the Diaspora to New York audiences. Tickets on sale now! See more and save with a 3+ Film Package!
Opening Night · Q&A with Bentley Dean, cultural director Jimmy Joseph Nako, and distributor Arnie Holland on 5/4
Based on a true story and starring members of the Yakel tribe in Vanuatu, this debut feature tells the story of a young girl from one of the world’s last tribal societies who breaks off an arranged marriage to run away with her lover, setting off a war that threatens the future of their people.
Centerpiece · Q&A with Hermon Hailay on 5/6
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 in a relationship with the woman, which makes him confront his past and find out the price of love.
Closing Night · Q&A with historian and Director of Columbia University's Institute for African Studies Mamadou Diouf
Reconstructed almost entirely from archival materials, Manthia Diawara’s film innovatively highlights the position of two famous thinkers, Léopold Sédar Senghor and Wole Soyinka, about Negritude as well as the evolution of its definition in regards to contemporary issues.
Closing Night · Q&A with Alfonso Johnson, Mamadou Dia, Akosua Adoma Owusu, Ntare Guma Mbaho Mwine, Iquo B. Essien, actress MaameYaa Boafo, and actor Hoji Fortuna
A collection of films—all by or about New York City–based African creatives—reflect the experience of the New York corner of the African Diaspora.
The 23rd New York African Film Festival opens with a special live, interactive town hall event featuring the Digital Diaspora Family Reunion Roadshow. New Yorkers are invited to share their family photos and stories, and discover the communal linkages that underlie our common humanity. A panel discussion with African Diasporan creatives will follow the event.
A digital art exhibit featuring portraits and images from the Digital Diaspora Family Reunion Roadshow will serve as a companion piece to the 23rd New York African Film Festival.
Q&A with Mdou Moctar on 5/7
An homage to the Western rock-drama, the 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.
Q&A with Cecilia Zoppelletto on 5/9
Kinshasa is a city of 10 million people without a single cinema. This lyrical documentary examines the decline of the movie industry in the Democratic Republic of the Congo’s capital city by putting us in touch with audiences cut adrift from their beloved theaters who tell their passionate, insightful, and deeply nostalgic stories. Screening with: Twaaga / Invincible (Cedric Ido, 30m).
Q&A with Laurence Gavron and Axel Baumann
Over the course of the 20th century, a large number of groups in Sub-Saharan Africa spontaneously converted to Judaism and claimed Jewish identity. Laurence Gavron’s film gives an account of this black Judaism through an African community—that of Cameroon, with Serge Etélé as its spiritual leader. Screening with The Dance of King David (Axel Baumann, 32m).
Q&A with Charlie Vundla on 5/5
A young professor in Johannesburg (played by the director Charlie Vundla) falls apart after his wife leaves him. He gets stuck in a drug-induced and sex-fueled depression, but is rescued from self-destruction by a mysterious old schoolmate.
Q&A with actor Jimmy Jean-Louis and producer Nicholas Lory on 5/5
Based on true events, The Cursed Ones is a gripping drama about a young girl accused of witchcraft and a disillusioned reporter who fights to free her from the clutches of corruption and superstition.
Q&A with Raynald Leconte & Eve Blouin
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 (Dina Velikovskaya, 8m).
Q&A with Some Bright Morning director Lydie Diakhaté and subject Melvin Edwards
Intore (Eric Kabera, 64m) offers a rare and powerful look at how Rwanda survived a tragic past by regaining its identity through music, dance, and the resilience of a new generation. What role can the creative arts play in rebuilding a country after genocide? Screening with Some Bright Morning: The Art of Melvin Edwards (Lydie Diakhaté, 51m).
Q&A with Tora Mårtens and Niki Tsappos
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. Co-Presented by Margaret Mead Film Festival.
Q&As with Jules David Bartkowski and co-producer and cinematographer Adam Abada
An interesting take on the “white man in Africa” tale, Pastor Paul relates the story of Benjamin, a tourist and Chaplin-esque fool, who becomes possessed by a ghost after being cast as one in a Nollywood film. Co-presented with NollywoodNYC. Screening with Hex (Clarence Peters, 26m).
Q&A with Roy T. Anderson and Donna C. Roberts
Queen Nanny: Legendary Maroon Chieftainess (Roy T. Anderson, 59m) unearths and examines the mysterious figure that is Nanny of the Maroons—Jamaica’s sole female National Hero, and one of the most celebrated but least-recognized heroines in the resistance history of the New World. Screening with Yemanjá: Wisdom from the African Heart of Brazil (Donna C. Roberts & Donna Read, 52m).
The changing landscape of post-Apartheid South African politics and lifestyles is portrayed through two queer relationships: a successful black real-estate woman who is cheating on her white wife and their bohemian daughter, who’s dating a gender-nonconfirming woman in the Khayelitsha township.
Q&A with Alice Diop and programmer Claire Diao
The short films of this program shake us, move us, and amaze us by seizing a French—but also universal—feeling: sexual confusion in Yohann Kouam’s The Return; dance bodies and timidity in Jean-Charles Mbotti Malolo’s The Sense of Touch; the complexity of traditional weddings in Zangro’s Destino; and the difficulty to love that Alice Diop interrogates in Towards Tenderness.
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The New York African Film Festival returns to the Film Society for its 22nd edition, offering a selection of over 25 titles from more than 15 countries that reflects on the ways African men and women have broken through borders with films and narratives that form part of the global imagination. Read More
The core of the 21st New York African Film Festival is the experience of revolution and liberation in and from Africa in the 21st century. The festival presents a unique selection of contemporary and classic African films, running the gamut from features, shorts, and documentaries to animation and experimental films. In celebration of the centenary of Nigerian unification, look for a couple of films from Nollywood, Africa’s largest movie industry. Read More
The landmark 20th edition of the festival will pay homage to Ousmane Sembène and the first generation of African filmmakers, while passing the baton to a new generation of African visual storytellers who continue to transform our understanding of and vision for the Continent. Read More
Presented under the banner theme 21st Century: The Homecoming, this year’s New York African Film Festival will screen contemporary and classic African films that explore the notion of home and homeland, from the legacy of music legend Miriam Makeba (subject of our Opening Night film, "Mama Africa") to disaporic visions like the New York-set "Restless City." Read More