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17th Annual New York African Film Festival Presents ‘Independent Africa’

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17th Annual New York African Film Festival



50th Anniversary of Seventeen African Nations’ Sovereignty Commemorated

at Festival Running April 7 through 13 at The Film Society of Lincoln Center

World Cup Films in Honor of First World Cup Tournament in Africa, Animated and Focus Features’ ‘Africa First’ Short Programs, and Green Film to Be Featured

NEW YORK (March 15, 2010) —The Film Society of Lincoln Center and African Film Festival, Inc. (AFF) present “Independent Africa,” the 17th annual New York African Film Festival (NYAFF), which will celebrate the 50th anniversary of 17 African nations’ independence from colonial rule as well as the freedom that the rise in technology has given African filmmakers to tell their own stories. Among the 13 features and 25 short films from emerging and veteran filmmakers from 18 countries are four soccer films in honor of the World Cup’s first games in Africa opening in June 2010, an animated short program, Focus Features’ Africa First short program and an environmental film. The festival runs from April 7 through 13 at The Film Society of Lincoln Center and continues at Columbia University’s Institute for African Studies, 3ten Lounge, New Museum and the Brooklyn Academy of Music BAMcinématek with dates in April and May.

“We are proud to co-present the NYAFF, and display the work of African filmmakers, whose perceptive and challenging films add an essential voice to the world of cinema,” said Mara Manus, executive director, The Film Society of Lincoln Center.

“Fifty years ago these newly minted countries were creating film units and radio programming to engage their populations, and similarly this current crop of young African filmmakers see that the entire continent is an untapped market and are determined to get their work shown there and around the world,” said Mahen Bonetti, founder of AFF, www.africanfilmny.org. “With one foot in the Diaspora and one foot on the continent, and empowered by new technologies, they can effortlessly speak not only to local viewers but to the broader universe of film-going audiences.”

2010 marks 50 years of sovereignty for the African nations of Benin, Burkina Faso, Cameroon, Central African Republic, Chad, Congo, Cote D’Ivoire (Ivory Coast), Democratic Republic of Congo, Gabon, Madagascar, Mali, Mauritania, Niger, Nigeria, Senegal, Somalia and Togo. NYAFF will celebrate the occasion with films from these countries, such as the U.S. premiere of the opening night film, The Absence, directed by Mama Keïta (Senegal/France) on April 7. The thriller follows a scientist returning to Senegal for a family visit after 15 years in Paris; upon discovering that his hearing- and speech-impaired sister is working as a prostitute, he embarks on a high-stakes bid to free her from a dangerous underworld. The Absence won Best Scénario Award at the Panafrican Film and Television Festival of Ouagadougou (FESPACO, 2009) and Best Film Awards at the Festival of Tarifa (Spain, 2009) and Festival Quintessence (Benin, 2010). The Absence will be screened with Daouda Coulibaly’s A History of Independence, winner of Le Python Pygmee award at Festival Quintessence (Benin, 2010). Also screening will be rare archival footage of the nations as they transitioned from colonial- to self-rule from the Russian State Film & Photo Archives at Krasnogorsk, some of which has never been seen outside of Russia.

“Each year the New York African Film Festival allows a truly unique opportunity for The Film Society to reveal the thoughts, dreams, fears and delights of a rapidly transforming continent. We’re delighted to share with our audiences this unique showcase of a part of the world that grows ever more vital to all of our futures,” said Richard Peña, program director, The Film Society of Lincoln Center.

Eliane de Latour’s narrative film Beyond the Ocean, winner of the Jury Prize at the Festival des Cinéma du Monde 2009, will be the Centerpiece film on Friday, April 9, as another U.S. premiere. De Latour will be in attendance to introduce her film, which depicts a police raid on a Spanish port that separates the fates of two struggling friends, who both dream of returning to their Ivory Coast homeland as triumphant benefactors and heroes. Otho, deported, returns home empty handed, while Shad evades the authorities and later returns, apparently successful, to marry his Ivorian fiancée—only to be met by a duel with Otho.

Major technological advances in filmmaking continue to help Africans reaffirm their autonomy by putting cinematic tools in the hands of a new breed of storytellers. Wanuri Kahiu, Jean-Michel Kibushi, Daouda Coulibaly, Monique Mbeka Phoba and Guy Kabeya Muya are just some of the featured directors, who, with digital cameras in hand are emboldened to craft their own tales—some of which critique conditions in their nations. Through their work a new paradigm of independence for African film is being created, perhaps most exemplified by the Nigerian film industry—Nollywood—now the third largest film producers in the world; NYAFF will screen Nigerian filmmaker Kunle Afolayan’s The Figurine, which took Best Director, Best Picture, Best Cinematography, Best Original Soundtrack, Best Heart of Africa and many other honors at the African Movie Academy Awards earlier this year.

This year’s NYAFF features two short programs. The animated program will feature the films of Jean-Michel Kibushi, whose works include the techniques of claymation, chalk drawings and found objects. The festival will include two films made by Nigerien filmmaker Moustapha Alassane, the sub-Saharan father of animation, made 35 years apart. The 1966 film Bonvoyage Sim was intended to be critical of the colonial government in power at the time, however censorship prevented Alassane from giving the film the ending he desired. The festival will also include his Adieu Sim, the film with the alternate ending. Alassane, who now runs an animation program for Nigerien youth with his son, was a student of and collaborator with renowned filmmaker Jean Rouch and is said to have made the first black African film in 1962. The animated program will follow the 1966 non-animated Alassane classic The Return of an Adventurer. The other short program, Africa First, consists of films by five emerging African filmmakers who were each awarded funds by Focus Features to complete their projects.

Burning in the Sun, by Cambria Matlow and Morgan Robinson, is an inspirational portrait of a young West African, who returns to his homeland of Mali to build and sell solar panels in an effort to literally turn the lights on for the 99 percent of his countrymen in rural areas with no power. Daniel Dembélé’s motivation is to make solar power affordable so that Malians can be self-sufficient, not needing to buy the technology from European or other countries where it would be cost-prohibitive. The environmental documentary is co-presented with Green Screens

In honor of the FIFA (Federation Internationale de Football Association) World Cup coming for the first time to African soil in June 2010, four films on soccer will be presented, two of which are documentaries on World Cup soccer; Between the Cup and the Election, a film by Monique Mbeka Phoba and Guy Kabeya Muya, tells the story of the Leopards of Zaire, the first sub-Saharan soccer team to qualify for the World Cup, in 1974. Demetrius Wren’s Streetball follows the Homeless World Cup, an annual soccer tournament of 56 countries with teams comprised of homeless, ex-convicts, orphans and other dispossessed people.

NYAFF includes an art exhibition and performance art in The Film Society of Lincoln Center’s Frieda and Roy Furman Gallery at the Walter Reade Theater. “Orpheus Dreaming,” an exhibition by visual artist Michelle Hill, will be on display from April 7 through 14; griot Fifi-Dalla Kouyate will bring to life several African leaders as they declare their nation’s independence in “Proclamation of a Griot” on April 7 at 7:30 pm at the Gallery. Kouyate will perform the piece again at the Milbank Chapel at Teachers College, Columbia University, 420 W. 118th Street on April 14 at 7:00pm during a panel discussion.

Established and aspiring filmmakers will receive words of advice on film promotion from journalists, as well as publicity and social networking experts at “Getting Exposure: Securing the Buzz You Need for Your Film,” a panel discussion to be held on Saturday, April 10 at 1:30 p.m. at the Furman Gallery.

The festival runs at The Film Society of Lincoln Center’s Walter Reade Theater, 165 W. 65th Street, Plaza Level, from April 7 through April 13. It then moves on to Columbia University’s Institute of African Studies on April 14, for “Independent Art: 50 Years in the Making,” a day of film and panel discussions with filmmakers, scholars and film critics. On May 6, NYAFF will hold the world premiere of the tongue-in-cheek Dr. Cruel, a film co-directed by Jakob Boeskov and Teco Benson which critically examines the work of nongovernmental organizations (NGOs) on the African continent at 3ten Lounge at 7 pm (doors opening at 6 pm); the event is a collaboration with Creative Time with music by DJ Amo. AFF and the New Museum will co-present a series of films that celebrate the technical innovations that have contributed to a new level of independence in African cinema at New Museum, on May 13, 15 and 16. The festival concludes at Brooklyn Academy of Music’s BAMcinématek in tandem with DanceAfrica from May 28 through May 31. BAMcinématek is located at 30 Lafayette Avenue in Brooklyn.

The 17th New York African Film Festival was organized by Richard Peña, program director, The Film Society of Lincoln Center and Mahen Bonetti, founder and executive director of African Film Festival, Inc. (Toccarra Holmes Thomas, Maguette Ndiaye, Morgan Seag and Alonzo Speight) with special thanks to the AFF Board of Directors, Jane Aiello, Joan Baffour, Luca Bonetti, Francoise Bouffault, Sean Jacobs, Mamadou Diouf, Sarah Diouf, Gabriele Donati, Jacki Fischer, Jana Haimsohn, Belynda M’Baye, Alexander Markov, Andrew Milne, Larry Ossei-Mensah, Marina Pieretti, Muriel Placet-Kouassi, Prerana Reddy, Keith Shiri, Mohammed Sillah, Claudia Akyeampong, Cheryl Duncan & Company Inc. Public Relations, Kojo Associates and AFF’s volunteer team.

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, JPMorgan Chase, New York State Council on the Arts, NYC Department of Cultural Affairs, International Organization of La Francophonie, Divine Chocolate, Domenico Paulon Foundation, New York Foundation for the Arts, American Express, New York Times Community Affairs Department, South African Consulate General, Time Warner Cable, French Cultural Services, Bloomberg, Broadway Cares, Tides Foundation, Columbia University’s Institute of African Studies, WNYC, 57 Main St. Wine Company, Putumayo World Music, and Omnipak Import Enterprises, Inc.


Under the leadership of Mara Manus, Executive Director, and Richard Peña, Program Director, The Film Society of Lincoln Center offers the best in international, classic and cutting-edge independent cinema. The Film Society presents two film festivals that attract global attention: the New York Film Festival, now in its 47th year, and New Directors/New Films which, since its founding in 1972, has been produced in collaboration with MoMA. The Film Society also publishes the award-winning Film Comment Magazine, and for over three decades has given an annual award—now named “The Chaplin Award”—to a major figure in world cinema. Past recipients of this award include Charlie Chaplin, Alfred Hitchcock, Martin Scorsese, Meryl Streep and Tom Hanks. The Film Society receives generous, year-round support from42BELOW, American Airlines, GRAFF, Stella Artois, The New York State Council on the Arts, and The National Endowment for the Arts. For more information, visitwww.FilmLinc.com.


For almost twenty years, African Film Festival, Inc. (AFF) has bridged the divide between post-colonial Africa and the American public through the medium of film and video. AFF’s unique place in the international arts community is distinguished not only by leadership in festival management but a comprehensive approach to the advocacy of African film and culture. AFF established the New York African Film Festival (NYAFF) in 1993 with The Film Society of Lincoln Center. The New York African Film Festival is presented annually at the Walter Reade Theater by African Film Festival, Inc. and the 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. AFF can be found on the Web at www.africanfilmny.org.


The Film Society of Lincoln Center

Ticket Prices: $12 General Public, $8 Students/Seniors, $7 Film Society Members.

Tickets for the Opening Night Reception on April 7 cost $25 and tickets for the AFF Annual Gala Celebration are $150; to purchase tickets call AFF at 212-352-1720.

NYAFF ALL ACCESS PASS: $99 General Public, $89 Students/Seniors, $79 Film Society Members.

PURCHASE OPTIONS: www.FilmLinc.com; CenterCharge, 212-721-6500; Walter Reade Theater Box Office.

The Film Society of Lincoln Center’s Walter Reade Theater and Box Office

165 West 65th Street between Broadway & Amsterdam Avenues, upper level Box Office Hours: Mon-Fri opens at 12:30pm, Sat/Sun opens one half hour before the first screening. Closes every day 15 minutes after the start of the last show. If there are no evening screenings, the box office closes at 6pm. For more information call 212-875-5601.

To reach The Film Society at Lincoln Center, take the 1 train to 66th Street, or the M5, M66 or M106 bus.

3Ten Lounge

The 3Ten Lounge screening will be free and admittance is on a first-come, first-served basis. 3Ten Lounge is located at 310 Bowery in New York City. Take the F or V train to 2 Avenue.

New Museum

The New Museum is located at 235 Bowery at Prince Street, are $6 for AFF and New Museum members and $8 for the general public and can be purchased at New Museum. To get to the museum, take the 6 to Spring Street or the N or R to Prince Street.

BAMcinématek @ BAM Rose Cinemas

BAMcinématek @ BAM Rose Cinemas is located at 30 Lafayette Avenue in Brooklyn. Tickets: $12 per screening for adults; $9 for seniors 65 and over, children under twelve, and students 25 and under with valid I.D. Monday–Thursday, except holidays; $8 for BAM Cinema Club members. Buy online at BAM.org, by phone at 718-777-FILM (theater ID #545) or at the BAM Rose box office. Tickets are also available through www.movietickets.com. To get to BAMcinématek @ BAM Rose Cinemas take the C train to Lafayette; the N, R, D or M train to Pacific; the 2, 3, 4 or 5 train to Nevins; or the G train to Fulton. *Discounts available at BAM Rose box office only. Students: 25 & under w/ valid ID, Mon–Thu, except holidays. Children: Under 12. Policies: Children under six will not be admitted to BAM Rose Cinemas for any movies that are not rated; rated R or PG-13; or any movies not made specifically for children. All programs are subject to change.

PRESS SCREENINGS: **TENTATIVE SCREENING SCHEDULE – please contact Emilie directly for updates

Please join us for advance press screenings at The Walter Reade Theater, 165 W. 65th Street close to Amsterdam Avenue. Take the escalator, elevator or stairs to the upper level. RSVP for press screenings to Emilie Spiegel at espiegel@filmlinc.com or 212-875-5625.














PUMZI- (20m)


Complete materials and hi-res images for the festival may be downloaded from www.FilmLinc.com/press. Password is press2.


The Film Society of Lincoln Center

Irika Slavin, Director of Communications; islavin@filmlinc.com 212-875-5281

Emilie Spiegel, Publicist; espiegel@filmlinc.com 212-875-5625

The African Film Festival

Cheryl Duncan, Cheryl Duncan & Company Inc.; cheryl@cherylduncanpr.com 201-332-8338

African 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.


The Absence


Mama Keïta, 2009, Senegal/France; 82m

Adama is a successful scientist living in Paris. After 15 years away, he travels to his hometown in Senegal to visit his aged grandmother and his semi-deaf mute sister, Aicha. Aicha is still traumatized by their mother’s death, who died as she was giving birth to her. But the true extent of Aicha’s mental state only becomes apparent when Adama discovers she is working as a prostitute in a seedy underworld of gangsters, drugs, and crime. Adama’s discovery leads to a gripping thriller as he struggles to free Aicha from the sinister world into which she has descended.

Preceded by

A History of Independence

Il était une fois l’indépendance

Daouda Coulibaly, 2009, Senegal/Mali; 21m

Beautifully photographed in black-and-white, Daouda Coulibaly’s film offers a challenging view of the last 50 years of African history. It is the early 1960s, and Nama and Siré have just gotten married. Nama decides to make his home in a cave, where he will lead a hermit’s life and devote himself to God. One day, God sends an angel to Nama to thank him for being so devoted. So begins Coulibaly’s film, which picks up a common strand in African cinema—the transfer of oral legends to cinematic narrative—and ends up taking a critical look at African independence.

Apr 7: 8:00pm*; Apr 13 7:30pm*

Africa First Shorts

Total 119m

Saint Louis Blues

Dyana Gaye, 2009, Senegal/France; 48m

At a taxi stop in the capital, Dakar, people gather and wait for a battered old Peugeot station wagon to depart, but the taxi won’t leave until the driver finds a seventh passenger. As they wait, one woman breaks into song, and suddenly an impromptu musical number begins!

The Abyss Boys

Jan-Hendrik Beetge, 2009, South Africa; 26m

Two young brothers are the best divers in the abalone poaching industry on the Southern coast of South Africa. But as they try to survive amidst feuding gangs and corrupt police, they soon discover that innocence is the first thing that the sea takes back in return.


Jenna Bass, 2009, Zimbabwe; 25m

1980s Zimbabwe. When her father vanishes, a young girl who loves to tell stories believes he has dug a tunnel to the city. Only by facing reality will she discover the truth about his disappearance and the village she calls home.


Wanuri Kahiu, 2009, South Africa; 20m

It is 35 years after World War III, in a world with no water and toxic soil. Asha lives in an enclosed community, working as a curator at a virtual natural history museum. When she finds a seed that actually sprouts, a battle begins to find a home for the plant in the “dead” outside world.

Apr 8: 1:00pm; Apr 10: 6:30pm*

Between the Cup and the Election

Entre la coupe et l’élection

Monique Mbeka Phoba & Guy Kabeya Muya, 2008, DRC/Benin/Belgium; 56m

With the next World Cup in South Africa, this documentary offers a timely look at the first sub-Saharan soccer team, the Congolese squad that competed in the 1974 World Cup.

Preceded by

Freddy Ilanga: Che’s Swahili Translator

Katrin Hansing, 2009, South Africa/Cuba/USA; 24m

In April 1965, Freddy Ilanga, a 15-year-old Congolese youth became Che Guevara’s personal Swahili teacher and translator, during the latter’s secret mission in the Congo to train anti-Mobutu rebels. After seven intense months at Che’s side, the Cuban authorities sent Freddy to Cuba. At first, Freddy thought that his stay in Cuba would be temporary, but 40 years passed during which time he lost all contact with family and homeland. Then in 2003, he received an unexpected phone call from Bukavu, his hometown. His family had finally found him.

Discussion with special guest! Co-presented with Human Rights Watch Film Festival.

Apr 9: 1:00pm*; Apr 11 5:45pm*

Beyond the Ocean

Après l’océan

Eliane de Latour, 2008, France/Ivory Coast; 106m

In a Spanish port, Shad sells crack and Otho drives a cab without a license. Both dream of one day returning to their Ivory Coast homeland as triumphant benefactors and heroes. But a police raid separates their fates. Otho, deported, returns empty-handed. Shad runs from the authorities, and, in England, Shad comes across Tango, a “white and a white little sister” with whom he pursues his conquest of Europe. After wanderings and misadventures, he returns home apparently successful. But the day of the big wedding to his Ivorian fiancée, a duel with Otho breaks out.

Apr 9: 8:00pm*; Apr 11 7:45pm*

Burning in the Sun

Cambria Matlow, 2009, Mali; 82m

Twenty-year-old charmer Daniel Dembélé is equal parts West African and European, and looking to make his mark on the world. Seizing the moment at a crossroads in his life, Daniel returns to his homeland in Mali and starts a business building solar panels—the first of its kind in the sun-drenched nation. Matlow’s documentary recounts the path of his shaky startup to being a viable company, and of its impact on the tiny village of Banko. Taking controversial stances on climate change, poverty, and African self-sufficiency, the film explores what it means for a young man to grow up, and what it takes to prosper as a nation. Co-presented with Green Screens.

Apr 7: 5:45pm*, Apr 13 3:00pm

The Figurine (Araromire)

Kunle Afolayan, 2009, Nigeria; 125m

A multicultural look at the essence of tradition, friendship, betrayal, and love, transcending the ancient and the modern-day. Two buddies and a girl, all down on their luck, find their lives changed after one of them discovers a mysterious figurine in an abandoned shrine. According to legend, it bestows seven years of good luck—but no one told them about the seven years that come after that.

Preceded by


Wanjiru Kairu, 2009, Kenya; 13m

Nicky, an alcoholic on the road to recovery, is severely in debt to his belligerent older brother Robbie. He needs yet another loan, to pay for his teenage daughter, Lola, to attend college. But when the sibling rivalry between the brothers boils over, they get more than they bargained for.

Apr 8: 8:30pm*; Apr 11: 2:45pm*

Long Coat

Edouard Bamporiki, 2009, Rwanda; 63m

A drama about a young Hutu coming to terms with Rwanda and his own family’s past.

Preceded by

My White Baby (Me Broni Ba)

Akosua Adoma Owusu, 2008, Ghana/USA; 22m

In this lyrical portrait of hair salons in Kumasi, Ghana, a series of vignettes unfolds against a child’s story of migrating from Ghana to the United States. The tangled legacy of European colonialism in Africa comes alive in images of women practicing hair-braiding on discarded white baby dolls from the West. The title refers to the Akan term of endearment, me broni ba: “my white baby.”

Apr 7: 3:30pm; Apr 11 9:40pm*

No Time To Die

King Ampaw, 2006, Ghana/Germany; 95m

Ghanaian film veteran King Ampaw’s playful comedy testifies to changes in African funeral traditions that reflect wider social changes within former European colonies in Africa. A hearse driver meets and falls in love with a beautiful young dancer who is planning an elaborate celebration for her mother.

Apr 9: 6:00pm

The Power of the Poor (Fantan Fanga)

Ladji Diakité & Adama Drabo, 2009, Mali; 90m

When a gang of headhunters in Mali decapitate an albino villager, they take his head to a local witch doctor who believes that albino body parts can make people rich or potent. But the other villagers believe that the entire country will be cursed if the albino is buried without his head. A trenchant look at the fraught relationship between folklore and society.

Apr 9: 3:30pm; Apr 13 5:30pm

The Return of an Adventurer

Le Retour de l’aventurier

Moustapha Alassane, 1966, Niger/France; 34m

A young African returns home to Niger from the States with cowboy outfits in his suitcase for his closest friends. Soon, the friends—Black Cooper, Billy Walter, Queen Christine, and the rest—are out riding the range, rustling the village chief’s cattle (and some giraffes!), getting drunk, fighting, and playing poker. A hilarious take on the classic motif of the African who leaves Africa for the West and returns home a changed man—quite literally, Westernized! Followed by

Animated Shorts Program

Total 55m

Adieu Sim

Moustapha Alassane, Niger, 2001; 5m

Thirty-five years later, Moustapha Alassane revisits his folkloric political satire Bon Voyage Sim employing a new technique and an alternate ending that was not permitted during the intense colonial period of the late 1960s.

Bon Voyage Sim

Moustapha Alassane, Niger, 1966; 5m

The charming story of the politician frog Sim, who travels to neighboring countries in the midst of all the pomp and ceremony surrounding a presidential trip.

Kinshasa, Septembre Noir (Black September in Kinshasa)

Jean-Michel Kibushi, Democratic Republic of Congo, 1992; 7m

An animated documentary that consists of a collection of chalk drawings by children from Kinshasa who witnessed the military pillaging and chaos that hit their community in September, 1991. Interspersed are drawings by Kibushi himself, aiding in recounting the events that unfolded during that time.

Prince Loseno (L’Héritier)

Jean-Michel Kibushi, Democratic Republic of Congo, 2004; 30m

The story of Prince Loseno unfolds in the community of the “Confraternity of Leopards,” where the King Mwakana Kasanga Ka Ngolo, seeking to fulfill his role as leader and thereby pleasing his ancestors, is troubled by his lack of a successor and the possible infertility of his three wives. With the help of his counselor and witch-doctor, he tries to find a solution to his problems.

The Toad Who Visits His In-Laws

Le Crapaud chez ses beaux-parents

Jean-Michel Kibushi, Democratic Republic of Congo, 1990; 8m

Stemming from an oral tale recounted by the Tetela in the Sankuru, Democratic Republic of Congo, this story explains how it came to be that the Fox ate the Chicken, the Chicken ate the Termite, the Termite ate the Stick, and the Stick ate the Toad, and so on.

Apr 8: 3:45pm; Apr 10 4:00pm*

17 African Nations Celebrate Independence

1960, USSR/various African nations; 70m total

This year, 17 African nations will celebrate 50 years of independence from colonial rule. In commemoration of this monumental occasion, the New York African Film Festival is presenting archival footage of African nations as they transitioned into democratic nation-states. Procured from the Russian State Film & Photo Archive at Krasnogorsk, this program includes footage never before seen in the United States (or outside of Russia).

Apr 7: 1:45pm, Apr 11: 1:15pm


Demetrius Wren, 2010, South Africa; 78m

A fast-paced documentary that tells the stories of South Africa’s 2008 Homeless World Cup team. The Homeless World Cup is an annual soccer tournament that draws teams from over 56 countries and is composed of the homeless and those excluded from society. The South Africa squad consists of ex-convicts, former gangsters, orphans and recovering drug addicts, all of whom band together to represent their country, proving that no one is beyond redemption.

Co-presented with the Margaret Mead Film & Video Festival.

Preceded by

They Stopped Speaking (Sektou)

Khaled Benaissa, 2009, Algeria; 17m

A radio presenter sleeps like a log every morning after a night’s work. His intense dreams seem like nightmares, but what’s it like when he wakes up? An extremely lively and colorful picture of life in an Algerian town, with a slightly surrealistic tone. Co-presented with the Margaret Mead Film & Video Festival.

Apr 8: 6:00pm*; Apr 13: 1:00pm*

White Wedding

Jann Turner, 2009, South Africa; 93m

Set against South Africa’s beautifully varied landscapes, this high-spirited comedy is a feel-good movie about love, commitment, intimacy, friendship and all the maddening obstacles that can get in the way of a happy ending. As a man makes the long journey across South Africa to get to his wedding, the film traverses South Africa’s beautiful landscape from Johannesburg to Durban, from Eastern Cape to Western Cape.

Apr 10: 9:20pm*; Apr 13 9:45pm*

Panel Discussion—Getting Exposure: Securing Buzz for Your Film

Established and emerging filmmakers will learn the elements vital to an attention-grabbing pitch, tips on utilizing social media tools, and other dos and don’ts of film promotion from journalists and experts in publicity and social networking.

Apr 10: 1:30pm


Has God Forsaken Africa?

Musa Dieng Kala, Senegal/Canada, 2007, 52m

The tribulations of five young Senegalese men seeking to emigrate at any cost. Their goal: to find a captain to take them by canoe, or someone who will sell them a visa on the black market.

Screening with

For the Best and for the Onion!

Elhadj Magori Sani, Niger, 2008, 52m

The Galmi purple, the onion from Niger, pervades West African markets with 400,000 tons a year. Salamatou has been waiting to wed for two years, however her dowry depends on her father’s production of Galmi purple!

Apr 14: 1:00pm

The Golden Ball / Le Ballon D’or

Cheik Doukoure, Guinea, 1992, 90m

An engaging film that follows Bandian, a boy-wonder on the soccer field, from his village in the bush to superstardom in France.

Apr 14: 4:00pm

Panel Discussion: Independent Art: 50 Years in the Making

Filmmakers, scholars and critics will examine the last 50 years of independently produced media and consider the ways in which artistic autonomy has impacted African culture and political movements, as well as helped to preserve conventions of traditional storytelling. A reception will follow the panel discussion.

Apr 14: 7:00pm


Dr. Cruel

Teco Benson and Jakob Boeskov, Nigeria/USA, 2010, @15m

This tongue-in-cheek, Scandinavian-Nigerian-American co-production is an “action–art video” that borrows from all three cinematic cultures, as well as from the aesthetics of Al Qaeda videos. Dr. Cruel follows the manic, Scandinavian terrorist Dr. Cruel (Jakob Boeskov) and his group of followers—who call themselves the Afro-Icelandic Liberation Front (Osita Iheme and Uche Iwuanyanwu)—as they interrogate a white oil executive in a hideout somewhere in Nigeria. As he records a videotaped declaration of non-violence, what Dr. Cruel doesn’t know is that the Nigerian police have surrounded the building and a dramatic confrontation is about to erupt.

May 6: 7pm


Check www.africanfilmny.org for updates.



Coming of Age

Judy Kibinge, Kenya, 2007, 12m

Coming Of Age takes us through the development of Kenyan democracy through the eyes of a young Kenyan girl. The naïve post-independence euphoria is reflected in an innocent young girl’s outlook; Moi’s oppressive regime is narrated through her teenage turmoil; and a more mature narrator comes of age with the election President Kibaki. But after disputed election results in December 2007, we are left to wonder if democracy ever truly comes of age.


Bronx Princess

Yoni Brook and Musa Syeed, Ghana/USA, 2008, 29m

Bronx Princess follows headstrong 17-year-old Rocky as she leaves behind her mother in New York City to reunite with her father, a chief in Ghana. By confronting her immigrant parents’ ideas of adulthood during her tumultuous summer between high school and college, Rocky must reconcile her African heritage with her dream of independence.


Saint Louis Blues

Dyana Gaye, 2009, Senegal/France; 48m

At a taxi stop in Dakar, a musical number breaks out.

May 31: 2, 6:50pm

From a Whisper

Wanuri Kahiu, Kenya, 2008, 90m

This film commemorates the 10th anniversary of the August 1998 terrorist bombing of the U.S. Embassy in Nairobi, Kenya, in which over 250 people died and more than 5,000 were injured. The film tells the story of an artist and an intelligence officer, and how they find unique ways to move on from the tragedy that shattered their lives.

May 28: 2, 6:50pm

In My Genes

Lupita Nyong’o, Kenya, 2009, 78m

What is it like to be “white” in a “black” society? Agnes, a woman with albinism, overcomes the difficulties of being born with no pigment in a society that discriminates against the condition. In My Genes asks us to consider how it feels to be a member of one of the most hyper-visible and yet effectively invisible groups of people in a predominantly black society.

May 31: 4:30, 9:15pm

Kaay Fi

Come Here/Kaay Fi

Apolline Babilée, France, 2009, 52 m

Kaay Fi is a documentary about the sabar—a form of percussion instrument made of wood and the dance that is bound to it. The film was shot with the famous family of griots, the Fayes. Kaay Fi (literally: “Come here!”) is a look at the world of the sabar and the griots. Shot for the most part at “rue 23″—the intergenerational house of the Faye family, family life revolves around the sabar. Every event in the life of the Senegalese is accompanied by the rhythm of the sabar.



Alla Kovgan and David Hinton, USA/ UK/Mozambique, 2008, 35m

Based on a true story, Nora takes us to the Zimbabwe of dancer Nora Chipaumire’s childhood as she journeys through the vivid memories of her youth. With the help of local performers and dancers of all ages, she brings her story to life in a swiftly moving poem of sound and image.

May 28: 4:30, 9:15pm

Movement (R)evolution Africa

Joan Frosch and Alla Kovgan, Various countries/USA, 2007; 65m

An astonishing exposition of nine African choreographers from Senegal to South Africa who challenge stale stereotypes of “traditional Africa” and unveil soul-shaking responses to the beauty and tragedy of 21st century Africa!


Area Boys

Omelihu Nwanguma, Nigeria, 2008, 25m

Lifelong friends Bode and Obi decide to repent from their corrupt way of life. They cut ties with their megalomaniac boss, but life as “good” citizens proves difficult, and so they plan one last job to fund their transition. The friends are then faced with a life-or-death situation as they search for an escape from their vengeful former boss’s henchmen.

May 30: 2, 6:50pm

Sex, Okra and Salted Butter / Sexe, Gombo et Beurre Salé

Mahamat Saleh Haroun, Chad/France, 2008, 81m

Mr. Haroun reveals an incredible sense of humor in this comedy. An extra-marital affair leads to Hortense’s separation from her very traditional African husband, who is in for a ride as he learns about her love affair, his eldest son’s secret love life, and the responsibilities of single parenthood.

May 29: 6:50, 9:15pm

Wrestling Grounds / L’appel des Arènes

Cheikh N’Diaye, Senegal/Burkina Faso/France, 2006, 105m

When 17-year-old Nalla joins a champion wrestling team, he learns that wrestling is about more than muscles, money and ladies. Wrestling Grounds twists the familiar images of Africa, cutting from nightclubs to ancestral ceremonies to streets where boomboxes play and athletes in traditional dress and sneakers dance their way to victory.

May 30: 4:30, 9:15pm



Wednesday, April 7

1:45pm 17 African Nations Celebrate Independence

3:30pm Long Coat + My White Baby (Me Broni Ba)

5:45pm Burning in the Sun

8:00pm The Absence + History of Independence

Thursday, April 8

1:00pm Africa First Shorts

3:45pm The Return of an Adventurer + Animation shorts

6:00pm Street Ball + They Stopped Speaking (Sektou)

8:30pm The Figurine (Araromire) + Weakness

Friday, April 9

1:00pm Between the Cup and the Election + Freddy Ilanga: Che’s Swahili

Translator + Discussion w/ special guest

3:30pm The Power of the Poor (Fantan Fanga)

6:00pm No Time to Die

8:00pm Beyond the Ocean / Après L’Océan

Saturday, April 10

1:30pm Panel Discussion – Getting Exposure: Securing Buzz for Your Film

4:00pm The Return of an Adventurer + Animation shorts

6:30pm Africa First Shorts

9:20pm White Wedding

Sunday, April 11

1:15pm 17 African Nations Celebrate Independence

2:45pm The Figurine (Araromire) + Weakness

5:45pm Between the Cup and the Election + Freddy Ilanga: Che’s Swahili


7:45pm Beyond the Ocean

9:40pm Long Coat + My White Baby (Me Broni Ba)

Tuesday, April 13

1:00pm Street Ball + They Stopped Speaking (Sektou)

3:00pm Burning in the Sun

5:30pm The Power of the Poor (Fantan Fanga)

7:30pm The Absence + A History of Independence

9:45 pm White Wedding


Wednesday, April 14

1:00pm Has God Forsaken Africa? + For the Best and for the Onion!

4:00pm The Golden Ball / Le Ballon D’or

7:00pm Panel Discussion: Independent Art: 50 Years in the Making


Thursday, May 6

7pm Dr. Cruel


Thursday, May 13; Saturday, May 15; Sunday, May 16

Check www.africanfilmny.org for updates.


Friday, May 28

2, 6:50pm From a Whisper

4:30, 9:15pm Kaay Fi preceded by Nora

Saturday, May 29

6:50, 9:15pm Sex, Okra and Salted Butter

Sunday, May 30

2, 6:50pm Movement (R)evolution Africa preceded by Area Boys

4:30, 9:15pm Wrestling Grounds

Monday, May 31

2, 6:50pm African Short Program (including Coming of Age, Bronx Princess, Saint Louis Blues)

4:30, 9:15pm In My Genes

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