The New York African Film Festival Film Festival, Inc. (AFF) kicked off on May 16th 2018, celebrating its silver anniversary at the Film Society of Lincoln Center (FSLC). Scheduled from May 16 to 22, this year’s theme, “25 Years of the New York African Film Festival,” the international film organizations pay homage to the pioneers of African cinema, while passing of the baton to a new generation of African visual storytellers.
“Since the founding of the New York African Film Festival, African cinema has moved beyond the art house and become the lingua franca of Africa and its diaspora,” said AFF Executive Director and NYAFF Founder Mahen Bonetti. “From Nigeria to South Africa and Brazil, regional film industries are breaking down the artificial demarcations of the colonial era. For this 25th milestone, the festival is proud to showcase this new wave of a borderless cinema, which uses the tactility and immediacy of storytelling to offer audiences opportunities to imagine other futures for Africa and its diaspora.”
The event also commemorates the 100th birthday of the venerated South African freedom fighter and national leader Nelson Mandela, with a crop of films from his native land. The month-long festival brings 66 films from 25 countries to FSLC, the Brooklyn Academy of Music’s BAMcinématek, and Maysles Cinema in Harlem.
Opening Night will spotlight director, Apolline Traoré’s award-winning film, Borders. The film follows four women as they travel from Mali to Nigeria, supporting each other while battling sexism and corruption. This film speaks to migration as well as to African women’s struggles, in a timely echo of the #MeToo movement. Borders has won three prizes at FESPACO, including the Paul Robeson Prize for the best film by a director from the African diaspora. Borders will screen with a short film dedicated to the memory of Burkinabé noted director Idrissa Ouedraogo, who passed away in February. Ouedraogo was a mentor to Traoré.
The NYAFF heads to the Brooklyn Academy of Music (BAMcinématek) Thursday, May 24, through Monday, May 28, as a part of BAM’s popular dance and music festival DanceAfrica. It closes with a series of classic and contemporary narratives and documentaries at Maysles Cinema in Harlem running Thursday, June 7, through Sunday, June 10, 2018. To learn more and purchase tickets, visit filmlinc.org.
The programs of AFF are made possible by the generous support of the National Endowment for the Arts, New York State Council on the Arts, NYC Department of Cultural Affairs, Bradley Family Foundation, The Shelley & Donald Rubin Foundation, Domenico Paulon Foundation, NYC & Company, French Cultural Services, Manhattan Portage, City Bakery, Black Hawk Imports, Essentia Water, South African Consulate General, National Film and Video Foundation, Consulate General of Sweden in New York, Hudson Hotel, and Royal Air Maroc.