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The 21st New York African Film Festival (Statement)


In Africa and its diaspora, revolution is not always synonymous with the overthrowing of a government or a head of state. It is also the relentless 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 the 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 twenty-first century. All of the films featured will tackle the path to liberation or the feeling of freedom itself:  its impact, its agents, but first and foremost its visual splendor.

Under this heading, this month-long multi-venue event will present a unique selection of contemporary and classic African films, running the gamut from features, shorts, and documentaries to experimental films, along with supplementary educational programs. Filmmakers and actors will also attend the screenings and Q&A sessions.


For more than two decades, African Film Festival, Inc. (AFF) has bridged the divide between post-colonial Africa and the American public through the powerful medium of film and video. AFF’s unique place in the international arts community is distinguished not only by leadership in festival management, but also by a comprehensive approach to the advocacy of African film and culture. AFF established the New York African Film Festival (NYAFF) in 1993 with Film Society of Lincoln Center. The New York African Film Festival is presented annually by the African Film Festival, Inc. and Film Society of Lincoln Center, in association with Brooklyn Academy of Music. AFF also produces a series of local, national and international programs throughout the year. More information about AFF is found on the Web at



In celebration of the centenary of Nigeria’s unification, Opening Night will feature the Nollywood dark comedy Confusion Na Wa by Kenneth Gyang

Centerpiece film is the much-anticipated Half of a Yellow Sun, directed and adapted by Biyi Bandele and starring
Thandie Newton, Chiwetel Ejiofor, and Anika Noni Rose

The sweeping epic Sarraounia is the Closing Night selection


English Flyer(Front)


The Film Society of Lincoln Center (FSLC) and African Film Festival, Inc. (AFF) will present the 21th New York African Film Festival (NYAFF) May 7-13. Organized under the banner theme “Revolution and Liberation in the Digital Age,” the initial leg of the festival includes eleven features and eight short films from various African nations and the Diaspora. The NYAFF continues throughout May at the Cinema at the Maysles Documentary Center and the Brooklyn Academy of Music’s BAMcinématek.

“There are long and proud cinematic traditions in countries all over the African continent, and at the same time there are new voices and new means of expression. We are happy that the festival this year will be able to share the work of these artists, who are exploring both myth and modernity,” said FSLC Associate Director of Programming Marian Masone.

Half of a Yellow Sun


“While American cinema started from popular films and progressed to art house, film in Africa went in reverse, garnering international interest through the art house genre before moving to popular cinema. Consequently, most of the films about Africa during its ‘art house’ phase cornered African cinema into a genre in itself, one that was perhaps not easily accessible,” said AFF Executive Director and NYAFF Founder Mahen Bonetti. “Today, the golden era of technology not only allows the African public to see films made about their own realities but also exhorts each generation of filmmakers to raise the bar with the stories they tell about the continent and its diaspora, resulting in a veritable digital revolution.”

With a gracious nod to Nollywood, the world’s second-largest film industry, and to the 100th centenary of the unification of Nigeria, the festival Opening Night presentation will be Confusion Na Wa, the dark comedy by Kenneth Gyang. Winner of Best Picture at the 2013 African Movie Academy Awards, the film stars OC Ukeje and Gold Ikponmwosa as two grifters whose decision to blackmail a straying husband (played by Ramsey Nouah) sets in motion a chain of events leading to a shocking conclusion. The screening will be preceded by the Opening Reception at 6pm. Regular festival prices apply for the screening, and tickets can be purchased on Tickets for the movie and Opening Reception are $50 and available online at

NYAFF audiences will get a sneak peek before the May 16 theatrical release of the critically acclaimed film Half of a Yellow Sun, based on the internationally best-selling novel of the same name by National Book Critics Circle Award–winning Nigerian author Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie. Directed by Biyi Bandele, the Centerpiece selection stars Thandie Newton and Anika Noni Rose as glamorous twins navigating life, love and the turbulence of the Biafra (Nigerian Civil) war in 1960s Nigeria. The Monterey Media release also includes a powerful performance by recent Oscar-nominee Chiwetel Ejiofor. Directly following the New York premiere of the film on Friday, May 9, the Centerpiece Gala will be held at the DiMenna Center for Classical Music’s Mary Flagler Cary Hall (450 West 37th Street, between 9th and 10th Avenues). Regular festival prices apply for the movie, and tickets can be purchased on Tickets for the screening and benefit are $200 and available online at

Half of a Yellow Sun


A crop of films take up this year’s theme of revolution and liberation. In the documentary Mugabe: Villain or Hero?, director Roy Agyemang gets unprecedented access to the Zimbabwean leader and his entourage and lays bare the fight between African leaders and the West for African minerals and land. Ibrahim El Batout’s narrative feature Winter of Discontent takes viewers inside the Tahrir Square protests that were so central to the Arab Spring. And Ntare Guma Mbaho Mwine’s timely experimental short Kuhani features a conflicted priest, just as Uganda’s Anti-Homosexual Act is grabbing headlines.

As a part of this, women’s rights and issues are again in the spotlight. In her documentary Bastards, director Deborah Perkin follows a single mother, beaten and raped at 14 and discarded as she fights in Moroccan court to legitimize her sham marriage, thus ensuring a future for the daughter born out of her nightmare. In Cameronian director Victor Viyouh’s drama Ninah’s Dowry, the title character flees an abusive marriage only to be pursued by her husband to retrieve either his property (her) or the dowry he paid. The short Beleh, by Eka Christa Assam, turns gender roles on their head as a bullying husband gets a taste of his own medicine. The wounded central characters in the narrative films Of Good Report by Jahmil X.T. Qubeka and Grigris by Mahamat-Saleh Haroun are allegorical to the societal shifts and legacy of post-independent Africa.

On the lighter side, the festival will also present comedies, including Confusion Na Wa and It’s Us (Ni Si Si), as well as the U.S. premiere of the short Soko Sonko (The Market King). The Tunisian short Wooden Hands, also a U.S. premiere, delights as a willful five year-old’s act of rebellion takes on a life of its own. Additionally, writer Marguerite Abouet and illustrator Clément Oubrerie have brought their popular cartoon to life as directors of the animated feature Aya of Yop City, which follows the adventures of a 19-year-old and her girlfriends in Ivory Coast.

The Closing Night film on Tuesday, May 13, will be Sarraounia, Med Hondo’s sweeping epic based on historical accounts of Queen Sarraounia. Feared for her bravery and expertise in the occult arts, the fierce warrior leads the Azans of Niger into battle against French colonialists and enslavement at the turn of the century. The historical drama took first prize at the Panafrican Film and Television Festival of Ouagadougou (FESPACO) in 1987. Regular festival pricing applies.

From May 8-13, the Frieda and Roy Furman Gallery will host the exhibition Digital Africa, featuring the works of Congolese and American photographers. “Congolese Dreams” is a series of works by acclaimed photographer Baudouin Mouanda and a collective of artists, a companion to Philippe Cordey’s film of the same name, which will be screened during the festival. It will be paired with Adama Delphine Fawundu’s stunning portraits capturing the residents of Tivoli Towers in Crown Heights, Brooklyn—home to more than 350 families, who are mostly of African descent—as well as portraits of young musician-activists from Nigeria and the U.S.

All screenings will take place in the Walter Reade Theater, 165 West 65th Street (between Broadway and Amsterdam) and the Elinor Bunin Munroe Film Center, 144 West 65th Street (between Broadway and Amsterdam). Tickets for the New York African Film Festival screenings go on sale April 17 at the Film Society’s box offices and online at Pre-sale to Film Society members begins on April 15. Single screening tickets are $13; $9 for students and seniors (62+); and $8 for Film Society members. Discount packages start at $30; $24 for students and seniors (62+); and $21 for Film Society members. Discount prices apply with the purchase of tickets to three films or more. Visit for additional information, and to purchase tickets.

NYAFF then heads to the Cinema at the Maysles Documentary Center in Harlem May 15-18. As is the tradition, the NYAFF closes over Memorial Day Weekend May 23-26 at the Brooklyn Academy of Music BAMcinématek as part of the dance and music festival DanceAfrica. For details, visit African Film Festival online at

The programs of AFF are made possible by the generous support of the National Endowment for the Arts, The Andy Warhol Foundation for the Visual Arts, Lambent Foundation, New York State Council on the Arts, NYC Department of Cultural Affairs, Open Society Institute for West Africa, Bradley Family Foundation, International Organization of La Francophonie, Domenico Paulon Foundation, WNYC, New York Community Trust, NYC & Company, New York Times Community Affairs Department, French Cultural Services, Manhattan Portage Bags, City Bakery, Metrowine, Flavorpill, South African Consulate General, SN Brussels, Columbia University’s Institute of African Studies, Hudson Hotel, Divine Chocolate and Omnipak Import Enterprises, Inc.

Kuhani Poster



Films and Descriptions for New York African Film Festival

Opening Night Film
Confusion Na Wa

Kenneth Gyang, Nigeria, 2013, 105m
English and Pidgin with English subtitles
Set in a Nigerian city, Confusion Na Wa is a dark comedy about a group of strangers whose fates become intertwined over the course of 24 hours. At the heart of everything is a phone found by opportunists Charles and Chichi, who, having read through its contents, decide to blackmail the owner Emeka, an arrogant lawyer who is cheating on his wife. Little do they realize that their misdemeanors have set in motion a chain of events that will lead to their own downfall. Meanwhile Bello, a civil servant who naïvely thinks hard work is its own reward is pushed to the edge of reason by his wife and his boss. And businessman Babajide lets his piety get the better of him. Eventually mayhem will connect them all. With a script by Tom Rowlands-Rees, director Kenneth Gyang takes a nonlinear approach to storytelling in this Nollywood prizewinner (Confusion Na Wa was named Best Film at the 2013 African Movie Academy Awards). New York Premiere
May 7, 7:30pm (Q&A with Kenneth Gyang)
May 10, 9:15pm (Q&A with Kenneth Gyang) 

Centerpiece Film
Half of a Yellow Sun

Biyi Bandele, Nigeria/UK, 2013, 113m
With epic grandeur, Half of a Yellow Sun tell the story of a generation living through the tumult of Nigeria’s independence and the ensuing Nigerian-Biafran War through the thorny romantic journeys of two sisters. Olanna (Thandie Newton) is married to Odenigbo (Chiwetel Ejiofor), a revolutionary who fathers a child with another woman. Her twin sister Kainene (Anika Noni Rose) is in love with a British writer (Joseph Mawle) who has come to Nigeria to teach. Playwright Biyi Bandele makes his film directorial debut with this adaptation of Nigerian writer Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie’s Orange Prize–winning novel. Half of a Yellow Sun may take place 50 years ago, but Bandale has fashioned it as an emotionally gripping example of contemporary Nigerian cinema, and honors the ongoing strength of that country’s women in the process. New York Premiere
May 9, 7:00pm (Q&A with Biyi Bandele and some cast members)

Half of a Yellow Sun


Closing Night Film

Med Hondo, Burkina Faso/Mauritania/France, 1986, 120m
Dioula, French, and Fula with English subtitles
Based on historical accounts of Queen Sarraounia, who leads the Azans into battle against the French colonialists at the turn of the century, Hondo’s sweeping epic rivals any that American cinema has produced. A brilliant strategist and forceful leader, Sarraounia is a young warrior queen, whose mastery of the ancient “magic” skills of martial arts and pharmacology is first put to the test when she defends her people from attack by a neighboring tribe, which earns respect from the men she guides into battle and deep loyalty from her people. But her real trial comes when the French army marches south to widen its colonial grip on the African continent. Hondo contrasts the strong alliances that emerge among African communities with the self-seeking and purposelessness of the Europeans and provides much-needed African historical perspective. Sarraounia is not only an engrossing tale of a remarkable woman’s bravery but also a captivating study of revolution against enslavement and the struggle for peace and freedom.
May 13, 6:30pm (Q&A with Permanent Representative to the UN for Francophonie Affairs Filippe Savadogo conducted by art historian and film critic Beatriz Leal)

Aya of Yop City
Marguerite Abouet & Clément Oubrerie, Ivory Coast/France, 2013, 85m
French with English subtitles
Abouet and Oubrerie bring their popular comic-book series that tracks the adventures of a young woman in a working-class town to cinematic life in a beautifully drawn account of West Africa in the 1970s. Nineteen-year-old aspiring doctor Aya spends most of her time at home in the Abidjan suburb of Yopougon (nicknamed Yop City) studying and dealing with her family so she doesn’t have time to take part in the exploits of her gal pals Bintou and Adjoua, both of whom want it all—to marry up as well as start their own business. Things go awry, though, when one of them gets pregnant. Oubrerie’s vivid drawings capture the spirit of a community growing past colonialism along with the rest of the country, and a spectacular soundtrack of period funk, rock, disco, and Afrojazz sets it all in motion. A delight for the eyes and the ears.
May 8, 4:30pm
May 11, 9:00pm (Intro by actress Aïssa Maïga) 

Deborah Perkin, Morocco/UK, 2013, 93m
Arabic with English subtitles
In Morocco, as in all Muslim countries, sex outside marriage is illegal. Single mothers are despised, but what is the fate of their children? They are outcasts, condemned to a life of discrimination. Bastards tells this story from a mother’s point of view. At 14, Rabha El Haimer was an illiterate child bride, beaten, raped, and then rejected. Ten years later, she is a single mother, fighting to legalize her forced marriage, to register her daughter, and to make the father accept his child so that she can secure a future for her “illegitimate” daughter. With unprecedented access to the Moroccan justice system, filmmaker Deborah Perkin follows Rabha’s fight from the Casablanca slums—confronting her mother and asking why she married her off so young—to the high courts where the child’s father makes absurd claims and Rabha suffers verbal abuse from her father-in-law. Perkin may be the first Westerner to film in Moroccan family courts, where she captures real-life drama, played out in the first Muslim country in the world to recognize that single mothers and illegitimate children have rights.



Screening with
Eka Christa Assam, Cameroon, 2013, 30m
Pidgin with English subtitles
Pregnant Joffi has a bullying husband who takes her, and pretty much everything else, for granted. His attitude is challenged when he awakes one morning to find a very different world from the one he fell asleep to the night before. A quirky, poignant, and pertinent look at gender roles. New York Premiere
May 9, 4:00pm
May 12, 6:00pm (Q&A with Deborah Perkin) 

Mahamat-Saleh Haroun, Chad/France, 2013, 101m
French and Arabic with English subtitles
Despite a bum leg, 25-year-old Grigris has hopes of becoming a professional dancer, using his killer moves on the dance floor of his local club to secure some extra cash. His dreams are tested when his stepfather falls critically ill and he’s forced to risk his future by smuggling oil to pay the hospital bills. When he falls for Mimi, a beautiful but damaged prostitute, they attempt to start a new life together. But as bad decisions begin to catch up with them, they are forced to run for their lives. Their pasts, however, are never far behind… Professional dancer Souleymane Deme is remarkable as a man who can’t get a break, and veteran director Mahamat-Saleh Haroun, whose visually striking films have won awards at the Cannes and Venice film festivals, creates an elegant character study. New York Premiere
May 8, 8:45pm (Q&A with Mahamat-Saleh Haroun)
May 12, 3:45pm

It’s Us (Ni Si Si)
Nick Reding, Kenya, 2013, 88m
Swahili with English subtitles
Picture a typical Kenyan community: a harmonious muddle of tribes, intermarriages, and extended families; people living and working together all their days who don’t care which tribe their neighbor belongs to. What starts out as comic ribbing and good-natured banter between friends takes a more serious turn when politically motivated rumors arise and a sudden mistrust takes hold. With mistrust comes a sense of threat, and with threats, fear escalates, and in a matter of days, the bonds and alliances—the foundation of the community—are severed, just as they were in Kenya in 2008. Can a once-peaceful community learn from the mistakes of the past and be given another chance? Written and directed by Nick Reding, It’s Us was produced by the NGO-sponsored Arts for Education (S.A.F.E.) prior to Kenya’s elections to promote identity, peace, and unity by showing people confronting turmoil and violence. Can film change hearts and minds? Nick Reding and S.A.F.E. are making sure that happens. U.S. Premiere
May 8, 6:30pm (Q&A with Nick Reding)
May 12, 1:45pm



Mugabe: Villain or Hero?
Roy Agyemang, UK/Zimbabwe, 2012, 116m
To most in the West, the title question of Roy Agyemang’s provocative documentary hardly needs to be asked. Accused of inept leadership and human-rights abuses, Zimbabwean president Robert Mugabe, who has ruled the country since its independence from Great Britain in 1980 and was sworn in for a new five-year term just last summer, is also known for being the first African leader to seize white-controlled farms and redistribute them to the local population. British-born of Ghanaian parents, Agyemang set out to gain a fresh perspective on Mugabe by exploring the reality behind the headlines. And what was supposed to be a three-month project became a three-year all-access journey with Mugabe and his inner circle that reveals a charismatic, complicated man ruling a country at the intersection of international economics and post-colonial fallout. This personal film also raises wider serious issues about the relationship between African leaders and the West in the fight for the continent’s minerals and land.
May 7, 2pm
May 11, 6:15pm

New African Shorts
TRT: 110m

Baudouin Mouanda: Congolese Dreams
Philippe Cordey, Congo, 2012, 25m
Lingala, French, and German with English subtitles
For his latest project, The Dream, photographer Baudouin Mouanda explores beauty in unlikely places by asking women to pose in the same white wedding dress in different locations, from rubbish dumps to crowded trains.
Aissa’s Story
Iquo B. Essien, Nigeria/USA, 2013, 15m
French and English with English subtitles
An African immigrant housekeeper and single mother must decide whether to move on with her life or fight when the case against her assaulter is dismissed.
Kwaku Ananse
Akosua Adoma Owusu, Ghana/Mexico/USA, 2013, 26m
Outsider Nyan attends her estranged father’s funeral. Overwhelmed at the procession, she searches for him in the spirit world. Kwaku Ananse draws upon the rich mythology of Ghana and combines semi-autobiographical elements with the tale of Kwaku Ananse, a trickster in West African stories who appears as both spider and man.
Soko Sonko (The Market King)
Ekwa Msangi-Omari, Kenya/USA, 2014, 22m
Kiswahili and Sheng with English subtitles
When her mom gets sick, Kibibi’s dad takes her to the market to get her hair braided before school. A fish out of water, this well-intentioned dad goes on a roller coaster of a journey where no man has gone before… because only women have been there!
Frances Bodomo, Ghana/USA, 2014, 15m
On July 16, 1969, America prepares to launch Apollo 11. Thousands of miles away, the Zambia Space Academy hopes to beat America to the moon. Inspired by true events.
Ntare Guma Mbaho Mwine, Uganda, 2013, 7m
An experimental short inspired by Ugandan Catholic priest Father Anthony Musaala’s open letter titled “The Failure of Celibate Chastity Among Diocesan Priests.” Father Musaala is one of many Ugandans who has been persecuted as a result of the country’s recently passed Anti-Homosexuality Act. New York Premiere
May 8, 2:00pm
May 11, 3:30pm (Q&A with Iquo B. Essien, Akosua Adoma Owusu, Ekwa Msangi-Omari, Kenya, Frances Bodomo, and Ntare Guma Mbaho Mwine) 

Ninah’s Dowry
Victor Viyouh, Cameron, 2012, 95m
English, Pidgin and Babanki with English subtitles
Ninah is a mother of three stuck in an abusive relationship with no hope of change. Her family lives off her meager earnings from farm work while her husband, Memfi, drinks away his equally meager earnings as a shepherd. When she learns that her father is seriously ill and her husband refuses to let her go to him, Ninah realizes that she cannot take the abuse anymore and runs away. Memfi pursues her: he will recover the dowry he paid or take home the woman he owns—by any means necessary. This action sets off an incredible series of events with a whirlwind of suspense, thrills, and adventure that traverses the Cameroon landscape. Writer-director Victor Viyouh has crafted a powerful story with nuanced and complex characters, and Mbufung Seikeh, as Ninah, makes a screen debut that is nothing short of astonishing. Co-presented by Alwan for the Arts. New York Premiere
May 9, 2:00pm
May 9, 9:45pm




Of Good Report
Jahmil X.T. Qubeka, South Africa, 2013, 109m
English and Xhosa with English subtitles
Schoolteacher Parker Sithole (Mothusi Magano) arrives in a rural village with no local connections. Though his unassuming disposition and a glowing recommendation from his previous employer inspires trust and sympathy, he promptly begins a torrid affair with one of his new pupils, 16-year-old Nolitha (Petronella Tshuma). Jahmil X.T. Qubeka’s second feature delves into the type of impoverished black community that the government has ignored, making it that despair is part of the working poor’s daily life, and a man “of good report” can get away with anything. Shot in stark black and white, the film is a tribute to classic film noir while at the same time takes us out of that genre with bold artistic and political strokes (the film was banned, but quickly unbanned, by South African authorities).
May 10, 6:30pm (Q&A with Jahmil X.T. Qubeka)
May 12, 9:00pm (Q&A with Jahmil X.T. Qubeka) 

Winter of Discontent  (El sheita elli fat)
Ibrahim El Batout, Egypt, 2012, 96m
Arabic with English subtitles
Set against the momentous backdrop of the whirlwind protests in Cairo’s Tahrir Square that began on January 25th, 2011, director Ibrahim El Batout takes us on a raw and starkly moving journey into the lives of revolutionaries and counter-revolutionaries alike. Amr is an opposition activist whose face is etched with pain and sorrow; Farah is a journalist who is feeling the pressure of working for the state’s television news channel; and Adel is a security officer who tortures detainees by day and has dinner with his wife in the comfort of their home by night. Their lives will collide in this hard-hitting political thriller that lays bare the police state of Hosni Mubarak’s Egypt and offers a glimpse of the systematic torture and harassment that targeted any internal dissidence. One of the most dramatically satisfying cinematic accounts to date dealing with Egypt’s turbulent developments. Co-presented by Human Rights Watch Film Festival. U.S. Premiere



Screening with
Wooden Hands
Kaouther Ben Hania, Tunisia, 2013, 23m
Arabic with English subtitles
As the holidays end, 5-year-old Amira entertains herself before going back to Koran school. Attaching her hand to a chair with superglue looks like fun… U.S. Premiere
May 7, 4:30pm
May 11, 1:00pm

Public Screening Schedule for 2014 New York African Film Festival

Directors and guest speakers will be present during the festival (indicated by an asterisk* before the show time). ALL FILMS IN NON-ENGLISH LANGUAGES WILL BE SUBTITLED IN ENGLISH.

Screening Venue:
The Film Society of Lincoln Center:
Walter Reade Theater (165 West 65th Street, between Broadway and Amsterdam) and Francesca Beale Theater (144 West 65 Street, between Broadway and Amsterdam)

Wednesday, May 7 (Walter Reade Theater)
2:00PM  Mugabe: Villain or Hero? (116m)
4:30PM Winter of Discontent (96m) + Wooden Hands (23m)
7:30PM *Confusion Na Wa (105m)

Thursday, May 8 (Walter Reade Theater)
2:00PM New African Shorts Program (110m)
Baudouin Mouanda: Congolese Dreams (25m) + Aissa’s Story (15m) + Kwaku Ananse (26m) + Soko Sonko (The Market King) (22m) + Afronauts (15m) + Kuhani (7m)
4:30PM Aya of Yop City (85m)
6:30PM *It’s Us (Ni Si Si) (88m)
8:45PM *Grigris (101m)

Friday, May 9 (Walter Reade Theater)
2:00PM Ninah’s Dowry (95m)
4:00PM Bastards (93m) + Beleh (30m)
7:00PM *Half of a Yellow Sun (113m)
9:45PM Ninah’s Dowry (95m)

Saturday, May 10 (Walter Reade Theater)
6:30PM *Of Good Report (109m)
9:15PM *Confusion Na Wa (105m)

Sunday, May 11 (Francesca Beale Theater)
1:00PM Winter of Discontent (96m) + Wooden Hands (23m)
3:30PM *New African Shorts Program (110m)
Baudouin Mouanda: Congolese Dreams (25m) + Aissa’s Story (15m) + Kwaku Ananse (26m) + Soko Sonko (The Market King) (22m) + Afronauts (15m) + Kuhani (7m)
6:15PM *Mugabe: Villain or Hero? (116m)
9:00PM *Aya of Yop City (85m)

Monday, May 12 (Francesca Beale Theater)
1:45PM It’s Us (Ni Si Si)(88m)
3:45PM Grigris (101m)
6:00PM * Bastards (93m) + Beleh (30m)
9:00PM *Of Good Report (109m)

Tuesday, May 13 (Francesca Beale Theater)
6:30PM Sarraounia (120m)

Founded in 1969 to celebrate American and international cinema, the Film Society of Lincoln Center works to recognize established and emerging filmmakers, support important new work, and to enhance the awareness, accessibility, and understanding of the moving image. The Film Society produces the renowned New York Film Festival, a curated selection of the year’s most significant new film work, and presents or collaborates on other annual New York City festivals including Dance on Camera, Film Comment Selects, Human Rights Watch Film Festival, LatinBeat, New Directors/New Films, NewFest, New York African Film Festival, New York Asian Film Festival, New York Jewish Film Festival, Open Roads: New Italian Cinema and Rendez-Vous with French Cinema. In addition to publishing the award-winning Film Comment magazine, The Film Society recognizes an artist’s unique achievement in film with the prestigious Chaplin Award. The Film Society’s state-of-the-art Walter Reade Theater and the Elinor Bunin Munroe Film Center, located at Lincoln Center, provide a home for year-round programs and the New York City film community.
The Film Society receives generous, year-round support from Royal Bank of Canada, Jaeger-LeCoultre, American Airlines, The New York Times, Stella Artois, the Kobal Collection, Trump International Hotel and Tower, the National Endowment for the Arts, and the New York State Council on the Arts.


The 21st New York African Film Festival (Statement):

This year, Nigeria celebrates the centenary of its unification. To mark this special occasion, the 2014 NYAFF will highlight films that have been produced, inspired by, and made in Nollywood, Africa’s largest movie industry. We are proud to present our NYC audience with the winners of last year’s “African Oscars” (AMAA); Kenneth Niang’s frenetic dark comedy Confusion Na Wa and the poetical short Kwaku Ananse by Akosua Adoma Owusu, an adaptation of a mythological tale from Ghana about wisdom and belonging. We will also premiere Biyi Bandele’s highly anticipated film Half of a Yellow Sun, a rendition of Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie’s best-selling book about the Biafran war, a movie that glows thanks to the leading performances of Thandie Newton, Anika Noni Rose and Oscar-nominee Chiwetel Ejiofor.

The animated film adaptation of the acclaimed comic series Aya of Yop City by Marguerite Abouet & Clement Oubrerie is not just an ode to young romance in West African cultures, but a nod to animation is at its golden age, encompassing every region of the world, including Africa. Victor Viyouh, Ninah’s Dowry carries in its poignant story of women empowerment the elements of a revolution. Cannes award-winner Mahamat-Saleh Haroun comes back to NYC with his latest movie Grigris, a story of love and solidarity between two outcasts in the backdrop of present-day Chad. Narratives of struggles and liberation from all around Africa and the diaspora round out the program, expanding the festival’s human scope: the incisive documentary Mugabe: Villain or Hero? by Roy Agyemang; Ibrahim El Batout’s feature Winter of Discontent, about the traumatic emotional and physical wounds of Egypt’s repressive system; and the Kenyan moral fable It’s Us (Ni Si Si), which stresses the need of forgiveness and comprehension of the other, complete the program.

Our shorts program is a fresh selection devoted to the richness and experimental elements of the genre and its special ability to convey this year’s festival theme. Young filmmakers use a wide range of approaches from sci-fi (Afronauts) to social melodrama (Aissa’s Story and Kuhani), with a special focus on comedy (Soko Sonko, Wooden Hands and Beleh) to reflect upon a wide spectrum of pressing contemporary issues.

To honor the 20th anniversary of South Africa’s independence, we will feature the controversial neo-noir Of Good Report by Jahmil XT Qubeka, which is exemplary of the vigor of South Africa’s present-day film industry. One of the most poignant epics of revolution and liberation ever filmed on the continent, Med Hondo’s masterpiece Sarraounia, winner of the first prize at FESPACO, will be the crowning jewel to close the festival.


"Sodiq", a documentary by Adeyemi Michael

We have put together this wide-ranging and penetrating program as an audiovisual allegory of the power and relentless effort of African people to overcome crisis and oppression. Built around the embodiment of the male figure as a vivid force to overcome crisis, we are delighted to introduce Rehad Desai’s striking new work Miners Shot Down to NYC audiences. Recent winner of the Camera Justitia Award at the Movies that Matter Festival, Desai’s documentary follows the developments that lead to the biggest use of force by security forces of post-colonial South Africa: the Marikana Massacre of a group of striking miners in August 2012.

The session devoted to the Cultural Healing Project Short Documentary Films gathers seven shorts reflecting on the challenges and opportunities faced by Sudan. This creative peace-building project sprouts from British-Sudanese filmmaker Taghreed Elsanhouri’s proposal that a group of auteurs film the story that mattered most to them in their communities, encouraging them to express through film their cultures and traditions.

Shorts and documentaries about men and women confronting personal, social, economic, and political limitations compose this compelling selection: the struggles of an addict in Zanzibar to defeat his dependence in the short Curse of an Addict; the desperation of a woman unable to conceive a male heir in chauvinistic present-day Nigeria in the feature film B for Boy by Chika Anadu; Eliaichi Kimaro’s quest to understand his complex identity as a young Tanzanian-Korean in the US in A Lot Like You; and the different hurdles standing between a young Congolese tenor and his dream (Rêve Kakudji); a child aspiring to be a doctor subjected to a trial for murder (Sodiq); and a heterogeneous group of people plunging into the uncertain future of Mali’s annual Festival in the Desert in The Last Song Before the War.

BAM Cinématek (MAY 23 – 26)

"Legends of Madagascar", by Haminiaina Ratovoarivony

Madagascar will be in the spotlight of the festival’s BAM run, with a carefully selected
group of movies that best represent the history of the country. Angano, Angano (1989) by the tandem César Paes & Marie Clémence, and When the Stars Meet the Sea (1996) by pioneer Raymond Rajaonarivelo will be screened alongside the recent road movie Legends of Madagascar (2012) by Haminiaina Ratovoarivony.

Beyond Madagascar, we will screen other films from across the continent. From Kenya we have Something Necessary, Judy Kibinge’s insightful reflection on the effects of the war in Kenya, as well as the tragicomedy Nairobi Half Life (2012) by David ‘Tosh’ Gitonga’. Based in Ivory Coast, Lonesome Solo’s Burn It Up Djassa (2012, Ivory Coast) blends together action and music in one of the most successful examples of contemporary African noir, and acclaimed Tunisian filmmaker Taieb Louhichi presents a touching story of love and longing in The Child of the Sun (2013).

Cassa, Cassa (2013), a revealing documentary about contemporary African dance by Elodie Lefebvre, and the fast-paced Fuelling Poverty (2012) by Ishaya Baku, which exposes gasoline fraud in Nigeria, show how documentary can serve as an X-ray of present-day realities in Africa


20th NYAFF @ BAMcinématek – May 24-27

The New York African Film Festival returns to celebrate its 20th anniversary. The festival closes over Memorial Day Weekend May 24 to 27 at the Brooklyn Academy of Music BAMcinématek—part of the dance and music festival DanceAfrica.

Under the banner “Looking Back, Looking Forward: 20 Years of the New York African Film Festival”, our 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.

Screening Venue:
BAMcinématek @ BAM Rose Cinemas, 30 Lafayette Avenue in Brooklyn.


Friday, May 24
2:00PM, 7:00PM Africa Shafted: Under One Roof (55 min.) + Farewell Exile (15 min.)
4:30PM, 9:30PM Our Beloved Sudan (92 min.)

Saturday, May 25
2:00PM, 7:00PM Black Africa, White Marble (77 min.)
4:30PM, 9:30PM How to Steal 2 Million (90 min.)

Sunday, May 26
2:00PM, 4:30PM Zarafa (78 min.)
7:00PM, 9:30PM Tey/Aujourd’hui (86 min.)

Monday, May 27
2:00PM, 7:00PM Monica Wangu Wamwere: The Unbroken Spirit (71 min.)
4:30PM, 9:30PM Microphone (120 min.)


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