50th Anniversary of Seventeen African Nations’ Sovereignty Commemorated
at Festival Running April 7 through 13 at The Film Society of
World Cup Films in Honor of First World Cup Tournament in Africa, Animated and Focus Features’ ‘
NEW YORK —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
“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
“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
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
“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
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
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,
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,
The 17th New York African Film Festival was organized by Richard Peña, program director, The Film Society of Lincoln Center and
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.
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