In Africa and its diaspora, revolution is not always synonymous with the overthrowing of a government or a head of state. It goes beyond to a shared utopian search for liberation of the body and the mind that has characterized the history of African people through the years. Arising as a chain of movements led mostly by youth and women, revolution is a force against unfair systems, an impulse for the people to follow their own dreams, and a shared experience of empowerment. In the Digital Age, the struggle for liberation has found a resilient ally in technology, which has exerted multiplier effects in and outside the continent.
This is the core of the 21st New York African Film Festival: 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.
All films will tackle the path to liberation or the feeling of freedom itself: its impact, its agents, and, first and foremost, its visual splendor.
New York Premiere. Q&A with filmmaker Kenneth Gyang at both screenings.
The fates of a group of strangers become intertwined over the course of 24 hours in a diverse Nigerian city, where a blackmail plot hatched by some opportunistic slackers inadvertently leads to their own downfall.
New York Premiere. Q&A with filmmaker Biyi Bandele and cast members. Introduction at 9:45pm screening.
Based on Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie’s best-selling novel, Half of a Yellow Sun is set during the Nigerian-Biafran war in the 1960s and follows two middle-class Nigerian twins as their lives are torn apart by the conflict.
Introduction by Filippe Savadogo, Permanent Representative to the UN for Francophone Affairs and former Permanent Secretary-General of FESPACO.
Based on historical accounts of Queen Sarraounia, who lead the Azans into battle against the French colonialists at the turn of the century, Hondo’s influential postcolonial African epic rivals any that American cinema has produced.
Director Marguerite Abouet and actress Aïssa Maïga in person on May 11.
A popular comic-book series tracking the adventures of a young female aspiring doctor in a 1970s West African working-class suburb is brought to cinematic life through vivid drawings and a spectacular soundtrack.
U.S. Premiere. Q&A with filmmaker Deborah Perkin at both screenings.
A single mother fights to legalize her forced marriage and register her “illegitimate” daughter in this galvanizing documentary that offers an unprecedented look at the Moroccan justice system. Screening with Beleh (Eka Christa Assam, 30m).
New York Premiere
A young dancer with a bum leg sees his dreams dashed when his bad decisions catch up with him in this elegant character study from Cannes and Venice award-winning director Mahamat-Saleh Haroun. Screening with Columbite Tantalite (Chiwetel Ejiofor, 12m).
U.S. Premiere. Q&A with filmmaker Nick Reding on May 8.
The 2008 Kenyan political crisis is echoed in this story of a small community where what starts out as good-natured banter between friends takes a more serious turn when rumors arise and a sudden mistrust takes hold.
With unprecedented access to Zimbabwe’s longtime leader, reviled by many in the West, Agyemang’s film reveals a complicated man guiding a country still dealing with postcolonial fallout.
Q&A with filmmakers at both screenings.
A short film program that includes fiction and nonfiction portrayals of the African experience, including work by Baudouin Mouanda, Ekwa Msangi-Omari, Iquo B. Essien, Ntare Guma Mbaho Mwine, Akosua Adoma Owusu, and Frances Bodomo.
New York Premiere. Q&A with filmmaker Victor Viyouh on May 13.
A mother of three runs away from home when her abusive husband refuses to let her visit her seriously ill father, setting off a whirlwind of suspense and adventure that traverses the Cameroon landscape.
New York Premiere
This tribute to film noir explores how a man “of good report” can get away with anything, in this case a torrid affair with a 16-year-student, in an impoverished black community ignored by South African society.
This hard-hitting political thriller set against the 2011 protests at Tahrir Square takes us on a journey into the lives of an activist, a journalist, and a state security officer, laying bare the police state of Hosni Mubarak’s Egypt. Screening with Wooden Hands (Kaouther Ben Hania, 23m).
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