February 19, 2019
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35th Annual Newark Black Film Festival


Take an “Up Close and Personal Look” at This is My Africa


Wednesday, July 1- Newark Museum, Newark, NJ
Thursday, July 2 – NJ State Museum, Trenton, NJ


(Newark, NJ) --The aromas, the pulsating music, the vibrant colors of red...orange...green...black...were a few of the themes discussed in depicting the diverse and fruitful continent of Africa in the award-winning documentary This is My Africa to  be screened on July 1 at 7 pm as part of the 35th Annual Newark Black Film Festival held at the Newark Museum.  Filmmaker Zina Saro-Wiwa will lead a discussion following the showing.


Presented since 1974 by the Newark Museum and supported for the past nine years by Bank of America, the six-week festival is shown at several venues in Newark and Trenton. The Newark Black Film Festival (NBFF) is longest-running black film festival in the United States.


This is My Africa filmmaker Zina Saro-Wiwa delves into the African experience by interviewing 20 London-based Africans and Africaphiles including leading artists, musicians, singers, writers, designers and restaurateurs. The dialogue blends humor, honesty and imagery into a compelling account of the spirit and strife of African culture.


Those interviewed in This is My Africa include artist, Yinka Shonibare MBE; actor, Colin Firth; filmmaker, John Akomfrah OBE; Channel 4 news anchor, Jon Snow; actor, Chiwetel Ejiofor; singer, Mpho Skeef; author, Biyi Bandele; travel writer, Noo Saro-Wiwa; opera singer, Josephine Amankwah; fashion designer, Bayo Oduwole; playwright, Dipo Agboluaje; writer, Mazzi Binaisa; DJ, Duncan Brooker; High Commissioner, Paul Boateng; restaurateur, Mourad Mazouz; marketeer, Boko Inyundo; cultural historian, Nana O. Ayim; publishers of Let Them Eat Cake magazine, Njide and Nneka Ugboma and DJ/Producer, Tony Nwachukwu.


Complementing This is My Africa is the Newark Museum's July 1 opening of Party Time: Re-imagine America, a Centennial Commission by Yinka ShonibareMBE, one of those featured in the film.  A reception and viewing of Party Time will begin at 5:45 pm, prior to the screening of This is My Africa.   One of Shonibare's most ambitious works to date, Party Time is installed in the dining room of the Ballantine House, the 1885 mansion and National Historic Landmark that is part of the Newark Museum campus. The artist's longtime exploration of Victorian-era culture finds full expression in this theatrical sculptural tableau, his first ever situated in an actual 19th century interior.


Since its introduction in 1974 by the Newark Museum, NBFF has provided a forum for hundreds of emerging writers, directors, producers, performers and patrons of black cinema and has attracted abroad audience from throughout the northeast region.   The goal of the festival, according to festival chair Gloria Hopkins Buck, is to "present programs that reflect the full diversity of the Black experience both past and present, encompassing a wide range of forums and formulas, from documentary to the avant-garde."   In the past 34 years, Buck said, NBFF has screened 676 films to an audience of more than 157,000 adults and children.   All festival screenings will be followed by a presentation and public discussion with filmmakers and artists.


NBFF co-presenters include New Jersey Institute of Technology (NJIT); The Newark Public Library; Institute on Ethnicity, Culture, and the Modern Experience, Rutgers, The State University of New Jersey/Newark; Newark Screens on Springfield Ave. in Newark; and the New Jersey State Museum in partnership with the New Jersey Department of State.  


All screenings are FREE TO THE PUBLIC.   Films in Newark will begin at 7pm on Wednesdays.   Films at The State Museum in Trenton will begin at 6pm on Thursdays.   Seating for all screenings is limited and available on a first-come, first-served basis.   Once the theater is filled to capacity, additional seating will not be provided.   Group seating is limited to two groups of 25 for each screening.   To reserve group seating, in Newark, call 973-596-6550 and in Trenton, 609-292-6464.   In Newark, group seating will be held only until 6:40pm.


The Newark Museum is located at 49 Washington Street in the Downtown/Arts District of Newark, New Jersey, just 3 blocks from NJPAC and 10 miles west of New York City.   The Museum is open all year round: Wednesdays through Fridays, from Noon - 5 p.m.; Saturdays and Sundays, from 10 a.m. – 5 p.m., October 1 – June 30; and Saturdays and Sundays, from Noon – 5 p.m., July 1 – September 30.   Suggested Museum admission: Adults, $10.00; Children, Seniors and Students with valid I.D., $6.00. Members and Newark residents are admitted free. The Museum Café is open for lunches Wednesday through Sunday. Convenient parking is available for a fee.   For general information, call 973-596-6550 or visit our Web site, n ewarkmuseum.org .   The Newark Museum, a not-for-profit museum of art, science and education, receives operating support from the City of Newark, the State of New Jersey, the New Jersey State Council on the Arts/Department of State—a partner agency of the National Endowment for the Arts, the New Jersey Cultural Trust, the Prudential Foundation, the Geraldine R. Dodge Foundation, the Victoria Foundation, the Wallace Foundation, and other corporations, foundations and individuals. Funds for acquisitions and activities other than operations are provided by members and other contributors.


The Newark Museum is just a few steps from the NJTransit Light Rail Washington Park Station.  Direct connection with the Light Rail at the Broad Street Station and through Penn Station makes the Museum a convenient ride from all points in the region.


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