New York City is a hotbed for movie premieres and film festivals and, this week, there’s another film festival that deserves some attention.
The 24th annual New York African Film Festival — with the theme of “The People’s’ Revolution” — begins May 3rd and runs through May 9th at the Film Society of Lincoln Center. The festival will then travel to Lehman College, Maysles Cinema and the Brooklyn Academy of Music’s BAMcinématek. Across these venues, the festival will present a total of 25 feature-length films and 36 short films from 25 countries.
The New York African Film Festival has always found talented women from Africa and the Diaspora to showcase and this year is no exception. The 2017 NYAFF includes 25 feature films, three of which (12%) are directed by women filmmakers.
“In Africa, as in most of the developing world, young people are the majority. These vibrant human beings are the engines driving today’s societal transformations,” said AFF Executive Director and NYAFF Founder Mahen Bonetti in a release. “They believe in traditional African values, African solutions to African problems, and in Africa’s right to the bounty of her own resources. In this year’s films, we see a generation of young people concerned with reclaiming what is rightfully theirs—their cultural identity, their homes, their dignity.”
The three features helmed by women include Guetty Felin’s film, Ayiti Mon Amour, which is set in Haiti five years after the 2010 earthquake, and depicts young Orphée’s grief over the loss of his father beneath the rubble. There’s also the New York premiere of Footprints of Pan-Africanism by Shirikiana Gerima, a documentary about Ghana’s emergence into independence. Play the Devil by Maria Govan tells the story about gifted 18-year-old Gregory, his family’s only hope for financial success.
In the short film category (11 of which are from female filmmakers), NYSFF will show be the New York premiere of Hairat, a seven-minute short with English subtitles by Jessica Beshir, from Ethiopia. This premiere will take place on Friday, May 5 at 6:30 pm followed by a Q&A with Sewmehon Yismaw, Zekarias Tibebu Mesfin, and Jessica Beshir.
Other shorts include Adam & Howa by Sarra Idris, about a couple’s story which becomes a metaphor for the relationship between the Sudanese diaspora who fled the country after political turmoil and those who were left behind. The 10-minute short, Farewell, Meu Amour by Ekwa Msangi, focuses on an immigrant’s story about the love that is lost when a man’s wife and son finally receive visas to join him in the US.
Additional shorts include My Third Eye by Nova Scott-James, Sketch by Mariama Diallo, Maman(s) by Maimouna Doucoure, Boxing Girl by Iman Djionne, A Place for Myself by Marie-Clementine Dusabejambo, Ududeagu by Akwaeke emezi, Soju by Oluwaseun Babalola, and Accra Power by Sandra Krampelhuber.
Single screening tickets are $14; $11 for students and seniors (62+); and $9 for Film Society members. See more and save with the 3+ film discount package. Visit filmlinc.org for more information. All screenings take place at the Elinor Bunin Munroe Film Center (144 West 65th Street) unless otherwise noted. More information about AFF can be found www.africanfilmny.org.
© Lisa Iannucci (5/1/17) FF2 Media
Featured Image (at top) from Play the Devil by Maria Govan
Middle Photo: Footprints of Pan-Africanism by Shirikiana Gerima
Bottom Photo: Ayiti Mon Amour by Guetty Felin
Photo Credits: New York African Film Festival