I bumped into David Ninh, the press agent at Film Society of Lincoln Center, while picking up my press credentials for the Tribeca Film Festival. “I have something special for you,” Ninh teased, and voila, I checked my inbox and there was advance information on the returning New York African Film Festival at the Film Society of Lincoln Center (May 6 to 12).
This will be the 22nd edition. This festival is regarded one of the nation’s premiere film festivals. It brings the best of African cinema, and this year, the opening night film will be “Cold Harbour” by Carey McKenzie. The centerpiece film is “Red Leaves” by Bazi Gete and the closing night film will be “Mossane” by Safi Faye
It’s an interesting note that this year marks the African Film Festival’s silver anniversary.
The Film Society of Lincoln Center embraces diversity throughout the year. The joining of the African Film Festival and the New York African Film Festival is just one example of their commitment to storytellers around the world. The upcoming event is under the banner of the United Nations’ International Decade for People of African Descent (2015 to 2024). This year, the festival presents a diverse crop of 15 features and 13 short films from Africa and its Diaspora.
Isa Cucinotta, Film Society of Lincoln Center programmer, stated: “We are thrilled by this year’s selection of films exploring the breadth and depth of the African experience both on the continent and beyond. Through comedy, drama and documentary, the striving of a people on the move is vibrantly expressed. We are happy to be able to share the dreams and hard work of today’s artists.”
“As we reach our anniversary, it is clear that on many levels we have achieved all we set out to do some 25 years ago in creating a festival to challenge the prevailing narrative about Africa through the cinematic arts,” said AFF Executive Director and NYAFF Founder Mahen Bonetti. “As we revisit our mission this year, we see that our community has not only helped bring our masters to the attention of global audiences but that we continue to push to the forefront new voices that celebrate Africa in this important moment in our history.”
To get the party started, a preview town hall event will take place Friday, May 1 at WNYC’s Jerome L. Greene Performance Space. African artists living in the Diaspora will discuss how living outside of the continent but occupying a space where they are still “of the continent” influences their work and lives. The event will feature live musical performances by Les Nubians and hip-hop artist Blitz the Ambassador, as well as a reading from a literary work by Nana Ekua Brew-Hammond. Popular international journalist and Upworthy curator Femi Oke will then moderate a discussion with these artists and director Andrew Dosunmu.
Following its opening leg at Film Society of Lincoln Center, NYAFF then heads to Maysles Cinema Institute in Harlem (May 14-17) and concludes over Memorial Day weekend (May 22-25) at the Brooklyn Academy of Music BAMcinematek as part of its popular dance and music festival DanceAfrica.
Screenings will take place at the Walter Reade Theater, 165 W. 65th St. (north side, upper level, between Broadway and Amsterdam) and the Elinor Bunin Munroe Film Center, 144 W. 65th St. (south side, between Broadway and Amsterdam). Tickets for the New York African Film Festival will go on sale to the general public April 23 at the Film Society’s box offices and online at filmlinc.com. Pre-sale to Film Society members begins April 21. Single screening tickets are $14; $11 for students and seniors (62+); and $9 for Film Society members. See more for less with a 3+ Film Discount Package starting at $33; $27 for students and seniors (62+); and $24 for Film Society members.
To find out all of the details, visit filmlinc.com.