Film at Lincoln Center (FLC) and African Film Festival, Inc. (AFF) will celebrate the kickoff of the 29th New York African Film Festival (NYAFF) at FLC from May 12 to 17. This year’s festival, taking place at the FLC theaters with select virtual screenings, explores a host of themes under the banner Visions of Freedom, presenting diverse and interconnected notions of freedom pertinent to Africa, the diaspora, and the world at large while recalling activism of the past and ushering in new anthems of the future to embrace a united front for liberation and expression.

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“The events of the recent past have illuminated how interconnected our worlds are. Through it all and across the globe, the collective vision of freedom has come into sharp focus,” said AFF Executive Director and NYAFF Founder Mahen Bonetti. “This year’s festival takes a look at the past, while capturing the present pulse and looking forward to envision a brighter future.”

“Cinema of Liberation: From Inception and Execution to Exhibition,” a master class by veteran Ethiopian filmmaker, Haile Gerima, on Saturday, May 14, at 11:30am will teach the role of film in propelling forth freedom movements and arming viewers to take up the mantle of change. The event takes place in the Amphitheater at the Elinor Bunin Munroe Film Center.

NYAFF will present a Town Hall at Lincoln Center’s David Rubenstein Atrium on Wednesday, May 11 at 7:30 p.m., featuring African and diaspora artists displaying and discussing work that explores the festival’s theme Visions of Freedom. Participants include hair stylist and Hair by Susy founder Susan Oludele; dancer, lawyer, actor and pianist Justin Lynch; Singer, songwriter, and international DJ Nikki Kynard; and actress and director of the Opening Night film, Freda, Gessica Généus.

A solo exhibition featuring an experimental, durational moving image meditation by Nigerian-American artist, Zainab Aliyu, will run in the Amphitheater from May 12-17. “freedom is a durational practice” foregrounds anthems of celebration across the diaspora and transverses borders to fabricate an infinite pan-African chorus of shared somatic vibrations.

The festival continues at Maysles Documentary Center in Harlem from May 19 to 22 and culminates at the Brooklyn Academy of Music under the name Film Africa from May 27 to June 2 during Dance Africa.