This year, the New York African Film Festival, presented under the banner "Africa in Transition," takes an introspective journey across the African continent with films that create a vision of Africa's future through a deconstruction of its past.
Fifteen years since South Africa’s first fully inclusive democratic elections, the country will go to the polls this April to choose the next generation of leaders that will work to maintain the grand ideals that drove the struggle against apartheid. Many films in this year’s festival speak to this challenge, from Jihan El-Tahri’s probing history of South Africa’s governing African National Congress, Behind The Rainbow, to first-time director Ralph Ziman’s Jerusalema, an irreverent gangster movie set in Africa’s largest metropolis, Johannesburg. Triomf, by veteran-director Michael Raeburn, focuses on South Africa’s white poor on the eve of the first democratic elections. Prodigal Son presents Kurt Orderson’s own search for South African identity. And a series of short films by the artists collective Filmmakers Against Racism responds to the xenophobic incidents that rocked South Africa in 2008.
The festival also highlights emerging and returning filmmakers who offer a new perspective on Africa’s current realities, including challenges to the stigma surrounding albinism (In My Genes) and explorations of the harsh treatment of African asylum seekers in the 21st century (Area Boys and Paris A Tout Prix). Sometimes relics of the past are needed for the journey into the future: L'Appel Des Arenes, From a Whisper, Bronx Princess, Nora, Fighting Spirit, and Yonde Codou, la griote de Senghor all capture people reclaiming cultural legacies to create opportunities for themselves and future generations.
Two veteran filmmakers follow the newer generation into the realm of bold introspection: Jean Marie Teno’s Sacred Places and Mahamat Saleh Haroun’s comedy Sex, Okra and Salted Butter both question what responsibilities African filmmaking has to the continent, and whether an African audience should be the focus.
The African Film Festival will present its annual panel discussion in collaboration with Columbia University’s Institute of African Studies on Wednesday, April 15. The festival concludes at BAMCinématek, May 22-25.
African directors and guest speakers will be present during the festival (indicated by an asterisk* before the show time).
U.S. PREMIERE Behind the Rainbow
Jihan El-Tahri, South Africa/Egypt, 2009; 132m
Co-presented with Alwan for the Arts
First-hand accounts the ANC’s transition from a liberation organization into South Africa's ruling party.
Wed Apr 8: *8:00pm ~ Buy Tickets
Mon Apr 13: *2:50pm ~ Buy Tickets
U.S. PREMIERE The Fighting Spirit
George Amponsah, UK/USA/Ghana, 2007; 80m. In English and Ga.
Three boxers from one African town take on the world. screening with
U.S. PREMIERE Siki, Ring Wrestler
Mamadou Niang, USA/Senegal, 1993; 12m
Fri Apr 10: 1:00pm ~ Buy Tickets
Sun Apr 12: *5:15pm ~ Buy Tickets
U.S. PREMIERES FILMMAKERS AGAINST RACISM Congo My Foot
Okepne Ojang, South Africa/Cameroon, 2008; 24m. In French and English. screening with Martine and Thandeka
Xoliswa Sithole, South Africa, 2008; 24m. In French, Shona, and English. and The Burning Man – Ernesto Alfabeto Nhamuave
Adze Ugah, South Africa/Nigeria, 2008; 24m. In Portuguese and English. and Baraka
Omelga Mthiyane and Riaan Hendricks, South Africa, 2008; 24m
Fri Apr 10: *10:00pm ~ Buy Tickets
Sun Apr 12: *12:30pm ~ Buy Tickets
U.S. PREMIERE From a Whisper
Wanuri Kahiu, Kenya, 2008; 90m. In Kiswahili and English.
The terrorist bombing of the U.S. Embassy in Nairobi, Kenya, ten years later.
Sat Apr 11: *3:00pm ~ Buy Tickets
Tue Apr 14: 7:00pm ~ Buy Tickets
Getting Exposure/Securing the Buzz
NYAFF Special Event
April 11: 10:30am - 12:30pm ~ <Buy Tickets
Get tips on pitching and promoting your film from a panel of journalists and experts in publicity and social networking.
The Importance of Being Elegant
George Amponsah, UK/USA/Ghana, 2004; 69m. In French and Lingala.
The story of one of the most unusual clubs in the world, La Sape, whose members have elevated fashion to the status of a religion.
Thu Apr 9: 2:15pm ~ Buy Tickets
Sat Apr 11: 10:00pm ~ Buy Tickets
NEW YORK PREMIERE In My Genes
Lupita Nyong’o, Kenya, 2009; 78m. In English and Swahili.
Co-presented with Margaret Meade Film & Video Festival
What is it like to be white in a black society?
Sun Apr 12: *9:15pm ~ Buy Tickets
Tues Apr 14: *5:00pm ~ Buy Tickets
NEW YORK PREMIERE Jerusalema
Ralph Ziman, South Africa, 2008; 118m
The tale of a self-made entrepreneur, climbing the criminal ladder one rung at a time.
Fri Apr 10: *7:15pm ~ Buy Tickets
Tues Apr 14: *9:00pm ~ Buy Tickets
U.S. PREMIERE Killer Necklace
Judy Kibinge, Kenya, 2009; 40m. In English and Kiswahili. screening with
U.S. PREMIERE Area Boys
Omelihu Nwanguma, Nigeria, 2008, 25m. In English and Krio.
Two twisted tales of desire and deceit.
Thu Apr 9: *9:00pm ~ Buy Tickets
Mon Apr 13: *10:00pm ~ Buy Tickets
NEW YORK PREMIERE Kinshasa Palace
Jose Laplaine, Democratic Republic of Congo/France, 2006; 75m. In French, Tshiluba, Portuguese, English, and Cambodian.
An engrossing study of family displacement and the socially corrosive ramifications of the African Diaspora.
Wed Apr 8: 1:45pm ~ Buy Tickets
Mon Apr 13: 5:30pm ~ Buy Tickets
Paris or Nothing / Paris à Tout Prix
Josephine Ndagnou, Cameron, 2008; 133m. In French.
Suzy leaves Cameroon for Paris, to find out that it is not the paradise she imagined.
Wed Apr 8: 3:30pm ~ Buy Tickets
Mon Apr 13: 7:30pm ~ Buy Tickets
U.S. PREMIERE The Prodigal Son
Kurt Orderson, South Africa, 2008; 64m. In English and Caribbean Patois. screening with Bronx Princess
Yoni Brook and Musa Syeed, Ghana/USA, 2008; 29m. In English, Twi, and Ga. and African Booty Scratcher
Nikyatu Jusu, USA/Sierra Leone, 2008; 13m
Three modern stories about going home again.
Fri Apr 10: 3:00pm ~ Buy Tickets
Sun Apr 12: *2:40pm ~ Buy Tickets
U.S. PREMIERE Sacred Places / Lieux Saints
Jean Marie Teno, Cameroon/France, 2009; 70m. In French.
A touching personal reflection on art and popular culture in Africa today.
Wed Apr 8: *6:00pm ~ Buy Tickets
Sat Apr 11: *1:00pm ~ Buy Tickets
Sex, Okra and Salted Butter / Sexe, Gombo et Beurre Sale
Mahamat Saleh Haroun, Chad/France, 2008; 81m. In French.
The defiant comedy of very traditional African husband in for the ride of his life.
Fri Apr 10: *5:10pm ~ Buy Tickets
Sun Apr 12: *7:20pm ~ Buy Tickets
U.S. PREMIERE Triomf
Michael Raeburn, South Africa, 2008; 120m. In English and Afrikaans.
A hilarious tragicomedy about death and the birth of a new world.
Thu Apr 9: *6:15pm ~ Buy Tickets
Mon Apr 13: 12:30pm ~ Buy Tickets
Wrestling Grounds / L'Appel des Arenes
Cheick Ndiaye, Senegal/Burkina Faso/France, 2006; 105m. In French and Wolof.
A colorful foray into the world of Senegalese wrestling.
Thu Apr 9: 4:00pm ~ Buy Tickets
Sat Apr 11: *7:35pm ~ Buy Tickets
U.S. PREMIERE Yandé Codou, The Griote of Senghor / Yandé Codou, la griote de Senghor
Angèle Diabang Brener, Senegal, 2008; 52m. In Sérère, Wolof and English. screening with Nora
Alla Kovgan and David Hinton, USA/UK/Mozambique, 2008; 35m and
U.S. PREMIERE Coming of Age
Judy Kibinge, Kenya, 2008; 12m
Three time-traveling portraits of arts and politics in Africa.
Sat Apr 11: *5:15pm ~ Buy Tickets
Tue Apr 14: 2:40pm ~ Buy Tickets