Articles

Since the first NY African Film Festival in 1993, AFF has cultivated an international network of industry professionals and media scholars to contribute insights to the historical and aesthetic significance of works by filmmakers in Africa and the Diaspora. Our collection of literature complements audience experiences of African cinema with the cultural contexts and production values that inform a finished work. It reflects the aspirations of AFF contributors as well as the directors themselves through interviews, film reviews, essays, and film industry observations.

Essays

“Moi et Mon Blanc” Review

This is a fast-paced comedy of errors cocaine caper; a humorous fast-paced, quick-witted tale of the collision and embrace of two cultures and the absurdity of caste, class and cash.  With aspiration and determination as the impulsive incentive, two parking lot attendants in France bumble across mega euro dollars and a large cache of cocaine. […]

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“Filmmaking can show the way”

Interview with Souleymane Cissé Ten years have gone since Waati, your last big movie. What are your perspectives for filmmaking today in 2005? Filmmaking with a big F is taking a break, not because of the filmmakers, but because of those who are around them, around us. Those we are trying hard to understand. Are […]

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“I, myself, will never finish learning.”

…I think that what I have done is that I have carried on this way of telling stories around the fire, with the soundtrack of the crackling fire and the crickets—this notion of how memory is transmitted from one generation to another in our culture. If you really knew my childhood, you would think that […]

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“Shaking Up The Box: A Decade of ITVS”: Department of Film and Media at The Museum for Modern Art, July 5-22, 2001

This year’s presentation by The Independent Television Service (ITVS) included a series called Women’s Tales from Modern Africa. Produced by Simon Bright (A Winstar Cinema Release of a Zimmedia Production, produced in Association with ITVS and Winstar Productions), the series was comprised of three short films — Riches (2001) directed by Ingrid Sinclair, from Zimbabwe, […]

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“Why shouldn’t everyone hear?”

…In your documentaries, you have this ability to extract truth from all these personalities and personages, that’s what’s so emblematic of your work. You’re getting these people to open up—how is that? Is it just because you come from a family of diplomats? Why is it that you can get to these people? House of […]

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"We are doing worse than Hollywood": Interview with Kwaw Ansah

Steve Ayorinde: Thank you for the opportunity to speak with you. The name of Kwaw Ansah is to a large extent one of the most significant of African cinema. As far as cinema is concerned, we did not hear much from you in Nigeria since Heritage Africa. Has there been a break or change in […]

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14th Annual African Film Festival

Celebrating its 14th year, the New York African Film Festival continues to exemplify the Film Society of Lincoln Center’s commitment to international cinema. Annually, programmer Mahen Bonetti expands perceptions of African people, culture and cinema, articulating the artistic commonalities of the continent while identifying regional distinctions.In this year’s festival, modernity versus tradition, African identity, immigration […]

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2001 Zanzibar Film Festival

The Islands are now home to the Zanzibar International Film Festival (ZIFF), part of The Festival of the Dhow Countries, now in its fourth year. The festival, arguably the largest cultural event of its kind in East Africa, has effectively tapped into their rich and diverse historical and cultural heritage. Since 1998, ZIFF has drawn […]

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2001 Zanzibar International Film Festival

FEATURE FILMS Golden Dhow Sandstorm Director: Jag Mohan (India) Based on the true story of a low-caste potter woman who begins working for the government’s Saathin (women’s rights) programme. She is savagely gang-raped by upper-caste elders in her village, but her real rape begins when she is forced to run from pillar to post in […]

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55th Berlin Film Festival Focuses on Africa

The 55th edition of the Berlin International Film Festival was special to me in the sense that it not only focused on Africa and an African film won the Golden Bear, but that the world’s second largest audiovisual event imparted self-organization and event management skills on twelve players in the African audiovisual field. With an […]

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A Matter of Style

Among the noteworthy films featured this year at the New York African Film Festival at Lincoln Center was George Amponsah and Cosima Spender’s documentary, The Importance of Being Elegant, which examines the Congolese subculture centered around the worship of clothes (kitende) known as la Société des ambianceurs et personnes élégantes (the Society of Revelers and […]

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Abidjan’s Lout

A real bad boy, in the true sense of the word, is an outlaw. A boy who comes from the back streets. He is against society. Abou Bourguiba, ex-boss of the Mapless, one of the main gangs in Treichville The gloglo (ownership of a nouchi) Abidjan is made up of ten areas, simply referred to […]

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AFF 2006 Outdoor Series

Hello, it’s me again, the African Film Addict, and I am still addicted. However, this year, I gave up the summer to work on improving myself professionally (whatever that means). When I received the emails and postcards about the New York African Film Festival’s outdoor series in Harlem, I steeled myself and pledged to stay […]

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AFF Director Mahen Bonetti on NPR

In case you missed it, this past Monday, February 9th, AFF’s Founder and Director, Mahen Bonetti was interviewed on NPR’s All Things Considered. She and director Abderrahmane Sissako discussed Mr. Sissako’s Oscar-nominated film, Timbuktu. To hear the full story, click here! […]

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AFF Joins Friends of Liberty Hall and The Bob Marley Foundation

The New York African Film Festival’s 5th Annual African Mini “Video” Film Festival, on December 2, 2000, was held again, at the Bob Marley Theatre in association with a newly formed group, Friends of Liberty Hall, which has taken on the responsibility of reestablishing Marcus Garvey’s Liberty Hall in Kingston. The Bob Marley Theatre opened […]

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African Cinema in the Nineties

For African cinema, the final decade of this century has been a mixed bag of promises, hopes, achievements, and continued struggle and frustration with the same set of issues and challenges that have always confronted filmmakers throughout the continent. Hopes and projections of political and economic renewal and transformation under the aegis of World Bank-mandated […]

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African Cuisine…The Abidjan Allocodrome

The night is studded with stars. Not in the sky, but at human height, swinging flimsily. Shadows flicker inside these brief yellow shafts then disappear, blurred by a screen of thick smoke, swallowed up by the surrounding darkness. A vague humming sound remains. Smells prevail. A powerful scent of charcoal, burning flesh, tainted meat and […]

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AFRICAN FILM FEST STAGES A “CRUEL” QUICK HIT

The 17th New York African Film Festival got underway again last week with the premiere of a stunning 8-minute satire on revolution and oil seizure titled “Dr. Cruel,” a joint venture of film maker Teco Benson of Nigeria, and Jakob Boeskov of Denmark. “Dr. Cruel” unveils a Scandinavian terrorist, also played by Boeskov, and a group […]

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After African Independence A Review of the New York African Film Festival: “Independent Africa.”

Malian-French director Daouda Coulibaly begins his short film, Il Était une fois l’indépendance (A History of Independence, 2009), with a wedding celebration. A newlywed couple dances, guests clap, and a tethered goat awaits slaughter. Instead of the boisterous sounds of revelry, however, we hear the declarations of several independence era African political leaders. As the […]

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Akiedah Mohamed Reviews White Wedding

The preview of White Wedding at Atlas studios in Johannesburg was packed, yet people squeezed into any and every available space. Within minutes of watching the film, I understood why there’s such a buzz ahead of its cinematic release; it’s an exceptionally funny comedy about two best friends traveling to Cape Town to get to […]

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Anna Boden

Biography: Born in 1976 in Berkeley, California, Anna Boden is an American film director, cinematographer, editor, and screenwriter best known as the co-writer of the 2006 film Half Nelson. She is also famous for her collaborations with fellow filmmaker Ryan Fleck. While studying film at NYU, Boden met Ryan Fleck on the set of a […]

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Be Kunko

Shot in video, in the style of a news report, Be Kunko begins with the arrival of refugees in a UN camp. But very quickly, the narrative becomes more fictional as it focuses on the life of a small clan, a brotherhood. The fact is that if Little John has this news report value, its […]

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Camera Q&A: Deborah Perkin on Bastards and Morocco

Deborah Perkin is a British documentary filmmaker based in Wales, and a former-producer for the BBC. It was while working there that Perkin first pitched a story about Morocco’s family court system, and the unique charity that helps single mothers resolve their marriage status with their child’s father — thus helping those children to be […]

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Camera Q&A: Kenneth Gyang on Confusion Na Wa

Kenneth Gyang is a Nigerian filmmaker from the city of Jos, where he attended the National Film Institute. In 2012, he made his directorial debut with Blood and Henna, and followed it with 2013′s Confusion Na Wa — a title drawn from a line in a song by African musician Fela Kuti, and meaning “Confusion […]

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Cinema

Soon after its invention in France in 1895, cinema came to Africa. Over the next century, its development was shaped by European colonialism and its postcolonial aftermath. By 2005, however, African cinema had come of age. In the beginning, only Europeans had cameras, but Africans gradually gained control of the medium and the message. Africans […]

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Cinemas of the South

Cinematic production originating in the South is often understood as a cinema of transition. Unique luxury, it takes the time to paint a world that is distant and yet so close, both in its refusal of entertainment and in its maintenance of the auteur status. In reality it is a cinema of the refusal of […]

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Colonies, l’Empire des signes

« Colonies, les cicatrices de l’histoire » : la programmation fleuve qui se tient jusqu’au 30 avril Forum des Images ouvre une brèche, loin de toute…cicatrisation. En marge des fictions, pléthoriques mais connues, les films d’archives inédites françaises, belges, américaines, hollandaises, britanniques – ont donné à voir, au-delà de la banalité du mal colonial, une multiplicité de regards. […]

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Coming of Age in Nigerian Moviemaking

The 1970s signalled the beginning of indigenous efforts in Nigerian filmmaking. Francis Oladele made Kongi’s Harvest written by Wole Soyinka in 1971 and soon after that, Ola Balogun made Alpha in Paris. Balogun later followed with other works like Amadi, Ajani Ogun, Money Power and others films, while Jab Adu made Bisi, Daughter of the […]

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Denying Brazil

The documentary, Denying Brazil, is a plain-speaking and fascinating unmasking of the white racism endemic in Brazilian television’s most popular genre, which in the USA we would call the soap opera, but which throughout Latin America is known as the telenovela. The telenovela is more than a soap opera. It has a centrality in everyday […]

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Diaries from an African Film Addict

Hi, my name is Rumbidzai Bwerinofa, and I am an African film addict. How big an addict? Well, I live in Brooklyn, I am one of the laziest folks you will ever meet, and I still went up to Harlem for the Historical Harlem Parks Film Festival. I went as far as 150th Street — […]

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Excerpt from No Longer Invisible: Afro-Latin Americans Today

It is self-evident that specific historical, cultural, socio-economic and political conjunctions result in the emergence of different race relations patterns in the Americas. Brazil and the Caribbean countries, for example, differ significantly from Peru, where people of African descent are in a distinct minority and their position can be properly understood only in relation to […]

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Excerpt From No Longer Invisible: Afro-Latin Americans Today

It is self-evident that specific historical, cultural, socio-economic and political conjunctions result in the emergence of different race relations patterns in the Americas. Brazil and the Caribbean countries, for example, differ significantly from Peru, where people of African descent are in a distinct minority and their position can be properly understood only in relation to […]

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Expanding Artistic Horizons

The tall sentry at Paris’s Branly Museum greeted me with its left arm stretched above its head, palm forward, breasts sagging. Its neatly bearded regal face was cut with minute scarification and set above a long and graceful neck draped with a three-string necklace. I continued gazing at the exquisite androgynous wooden statue and finally […]

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FESPACO 17: Cinema and New Technology

The cinema sector and, more generally, the audiovisual must almost permanently be reorganizing its modes and means of production because of the fast and outstanding progress in information, image and sound technologies. In Africa, because the industry is weakened by an unfavorable economic situation, judicious choices should be made to adapt cinema to the large […]

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From Russia with Love

My interest in African cinema began when I was a student of film history at the VGIK film school in Moscow.  Films by a number of great African filmmakers including YEELEN, MANDABI, BLACK GIRL, TIYABU BIRU,BADOU BOY, SAMBIZANGA, SARRAOUNIA, among others,  captured my imagination forever. That time began my lifelong love affair with African cinema. It is interesting […]

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From Russia, With Love

My interest in African cinema began when I was a student of film history at the VGIK film school in Moscow. Films by a number of great African filmmakers including Yeelen, Manabi, Black Girl, Tiyabu Biru, Badou Boy, Sambizanga, Saruouni, among others, captured my imagination forever. That time began my lifelong love affair with African […]

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Ghanaian Popular Cinema and the Magic in and of Film

Since the late 1980s, a booming video feature film industry evolved in Ghana. While established filmmakers both within and outside the state-owned Ghana Film Industry Corporation (GFIC) found it extremely difficult to generate funds for film production, formally untrained people of various backgrounds — from cinema projectionists to car mechanics — took ordinary VHS video […]

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Globalizing African Cinema?

Is it a mere fortuitous coincidence that the last two decades of the twentieth century witnessed the re-emergence of the very same forces and ideologies of expansion, domination and control that burst onto the world scene in the last two decades of the nineteenth century? Are there parallels between the forces and ideologies of late […]

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Globalizing African Cinema?

Is it a mere fortuitous coincidence that the last two decades of the twentieth century witnessed the re-emergence of the very same forces and ideologies of expansion, domination and control that burst onto the world scene in the last two decades of the nineteenth century? Are there parallels between the forces and ideologies of late […]

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Gone With the Critique

Can we speak of cinema critique when it comes to the cinemas of Sub-Saharan Africa? This question, asked in such brutal a manner, still remains an enigma in my view. Under other auspices, the question of critique often translates itself into the effervescence of an atmosphere that is more contentious than consensual, but in any […]

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Hello Nigeria!

Hello Nigeria! is a film that aims to unravel and understand Nigerian society by examining the contents of their very own celebrity/society magazine Ovation. The film is actually the first in a series of programmes that I am doing where I attempt to dissect a non-Western culture by examining their celebrity magazines. The series is […]

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HELLO NIGERIA!

Hello Nigeria! is actually the first in a series of programmes that I am doing where I attempt to dissect another culture through examining their celebrity magazines. The series is called Hello World!, but it was seeing the Nigerian society magazine Ovation that gave me the idea for the series in the first place. Launched […]

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Immediate Experience: About The Panelists of The African Film Festival

The broad issues of production, marketing, international distribution, and the urgency and objectives of Black representation in the media find definition in the professional and personal experiences of the panelists. Special guests Miriam Makeba, Angelique Kidjo, and Pras highlight the challenges faced by the film directors and performance artists of the Diaspora. In addition, Malian […]

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Interview with Branwen Okpako

AD: What do you want people to take out of your themes? And what experience do you want people to get? BO: Okay, let me not be vain about it. I want people to leave Dirt for Dinner having learned something about the way German society functions and a little bit about the history of […]

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Interview with Branwen Okpako by Andrew Dosunmu

A.D.: What do you want people to take out of your themes? And what experience do you want people to get? B.O.:  Okay, let me not be vain about it: I want people to leave Dirt for Dinner having learned something about the way German society functions and a little bit about the history of […]

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Interview with Jean-Marie Teno

Directing both documentary and fiction, Jean-Marie Teno frequently shoots his films himself, often in the reflexive and provocative style of the first person narrative. Born in 1954, in Famleng, Cameroon, Teno studied communication at the University of Valenciennes and graduated in 1984 with a degree in filmmaking. Rooted in post-colonial experience, Teno’s cinematic essays interrogate […]

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Interview with Jean-Marie Teno

Born in 1954, in Famleng, Cameroon, Jean-Marie Teno studied communication at the University of Valenciennes.  Since graduating in 1984 with a degree in filmmaking, he has been living and working in France.  Directing both documentary and fiction, Teno frequently shoots his films himself, often in the reflexive and provocative style of the first-person narrative.  Rooted […]

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Interview with Jean-Marie Teno

Born in 1954 in Famleng, Cameroon, Jean-Marie Teno studied communication at the University of Valenciennes.  Since graduating in 1984 with a degree in filmmaking, he has been living and working in France.  Directing both documentary and fiction, Teno frequently shoots his films himself, often in the reflexive and provocative style of the first-person narrative.  Rooted […]

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Karmen Gei: Political Sex Icon

The Hollywood film industry helps create a lexicon of concepts and images used to define a woman’s sexual power. In America, this multibillion dollar industry encourages the use of exercise, makeup, and breast augmentation to transcend human limitations (e.g. temporality and corporeality) and empower the self. It deifies a female protagonist who relies on her […]

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Karmen Gei: Political Sex Icon

The Hollywood film industry helps create a lexicon of concepts and images used to define a woman’s sexual power. In America, this multibillion dollar industry encourages the use of exercise, makeup, and breast augmentation to transcend human limitations (e.g. temporality and corporeality) and empower the self.  It deifies a female protagonist who relies on her […]

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KVTV Access: 2014 New York African Film Festival

Yes its true, KVTV Access is back! We invaded the 2014 New York African Film Festival and caught up with Kenyan directors Ekwa Msangi and Nick Reding, both of whom had films screening at the festival. We had a few drops from some very special guests, so check it out and drop us a note about […]

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Lumumba: Death of a Prophet, Life of the Image

Through the starkness of Peck’s iconic choices and the poetic character of the voiceover, we are moved to a certain comprehension of the incommensurable. Raoul Peck occupies a liminal space in filmmaking, blurring the boundaries between documentary and fiction, between the personal and the political, as well as the boundaries of national affiliation. In the […]

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Madame Brouette: A Film by Moussa Sene Absa

I’ve always been very attracted to films made in Senegal probably I have been there, exploring Dakar’s neighborhoods. I have sat with women around the dancing circle in Medina. I have strolled in the sandy streets of Niarri Tally, watched women in the shades of mango trees in Malika. And everywhere I went, I have […]

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Mahen Bonetti Featured on Indigo Tongues!

AFF’s leading lady, Mahen Bonetti, gave a charming interview for episode 6 of Indigo Tongues’ Women in Media Segment. She discussed her background and upbringing in Sierra Leone, as well as her cinematic influences, and the history of the New York African Film Festival. Watch the interview here! […]

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Max and Mona

Max and Mona is a post-apartheid South African comedy. Set in and around the country’s industrial capital Johannesburg, it revolves around young Max Bua (Mpho Lovingo) the village mourner of a small provincial town who, despite inheriting his grandfather’s unique talent for making people cry at funerals, wants to pursue a medical degree in the […]

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MAX and MONA Review

 Max and Mona is a post-apartheid South African comedy. Set in and around the country’s industrial capital Johannesburg, it revolves around young Max Bua (Mpho Lovingo), the village mourner of a small, provincial town who, despite inheriting his grandfather’s unique talent for making people cry at funerals, wants to pursue a medical degree in the […]

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Mirror, Mirror on the Screen: A Story about Africa in Cinema

The car glided to a stop.  At least, that was how Dikeogu felt. Entering the lush “gated community”, squinting at what seemed like set-after-set of a very lavish budget Hollywood production and a reel of disorienting scenarios playing in his head, seemed like an out-of-body experience. An ornate fountain, at the center of the drive-way, […]

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MIRROR, MIRROR ON THE SCREEN: A Story about Africa in Cinema

The car glided to a stop. At least, that was how Dikeogu felt. Entering the lush “gated community,” squinting at what seemed like set-after-set of a very lavish budget Hollywood production and a reel of disorienting scenarios playing in his head, seemed like an out-of-body experience. An ornate fountain, at the center of the drive-way, […]

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Mixing Impossible Genres: David Achkar and African Autobiographical Documentary

David Achkar’s 1991 film Allah Tantou [God’s Will] contains autobiographical, biographical and historical (both national and international) layers and first, second and third-person narratives. Documentary material, including photographs, newspapers, newsreels, and home movies, are combined with fictional reenactments as Achkar slips back and forth between personal and historical narrative, telling a piece of a postcolonial […]

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My FESPACO Diary: One filmmaker’s Journey to Africa’s Oscars

FESPACO Headquarters (Iquo B. Essien) After an October 2014 coup toppled the 27-year presidency of Blaise Compaoré, most thought the Panafrican Film and Television Festival of Ouagadougou (FESPACO) would be cancelled. Compaoré played a role in his own demise. When he proposed a constitutional amendment lifting term limits, which would have allowed him to run […]

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New Looks: The Rise of African Women Filmmakers

In this article, I draw on my experience not only as a researcher and teacher of African film, but also as an African film programmer and film festival director over the past ten years, from 2001 to 2011. The article thus shifts between descriptive and prescriptive registers; at turns analytical, it also takes on the […]

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New Wave / Old Wave

African cinema has been around for forty years now. Most of the early films were either idealized portraits of a pre-colonial Africa, anti-colonial political tracts, or transitional stories about the move between the village and the city or Africa and Europe. By the 1970s, however, corrupt post-colonial bureaucracies had replaced colonial governments as objects of […]

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News Clipping: 2005

Screenings of the AFF Traveling Series at the Museum of Fine Arts in Houston coincide with a major exhibition entitled African Art Now: Masterpieces from the Jean Pigozzi Collection. The exhibition will present thirty-one contemporary artists from fifteen African countries who live and work in Africa.† The vast majority of works in the exhibition reflect […]

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Not Nollywood: An Interview with Nigerian Filmmaker Tunde Kelani

Tunde Kelani is a seasoned Nigerian filmmaker wrapping up his sixteenth film, Dazzling Mirage.On the film’s website Mainframe Movies, his production company founded in 1991, promotes this as a “movie and a movement.” This is not Nollywood. Observers, scholars, and critics usually describe Nollywood as everything but “cinema.” For some critics, it’s all absence except for its […]

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Notes from the 23rd New York African Film Festival

Each year, attending the African Film Festival feels like embarking on a journey across the heart of Africa. I am a comfortable traveler though, and from my seat at Lincoln Center, it is the eternal magic of the moving image that I submit to. I dream, I am amazed, I am angry, I am moved […]

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Ouaga Hip Hop Festival

Ouagadougou is much more than the capital of Burkina Faso, it is one of the cultural capitals of the world. The city hosts several major festivals: the International Craft Show of Ouagadougou, the Festival International de Théâtre et de Marionnettes de Ouagadougou (The International Theater and Puppets Festival of Ouagadougou), the Jazz Festival of Ouagadougou […]

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Ousmane Sembene’s London Season

Offerring its highest honour on Ousmane Sembene last month, the British Film Institute (bfi) said the 82-year-old is “the Patron Saint of Black Cinema – to call him a director is a misnomer.” Sembene became the 58th recipient of the bfi fellowship; past honourees include Orson Welles and Akira Kurosawa. Naming some with whom Sembene […]

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Pan African Film Festival II

SCREENINGS Ten films, including features and documentaries and eleven videos were screened during the course of the festival. This year’s festival selection highlighted works from Portuguese-speaking African countries and works of established and emerging directors from Brazil. Several of the films were premieres, including Penalti (Penalty), a film made by Bahian director, Adler Kibe Paz. […]

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Ramadan Suleman: Fools

In the last decade, anti-apartheid films with South Africa as a backdrop, have generally been English language, Hollywood productions, with white protagonists, often played by big-name Hollywood actors. The narrative of the films usually focuses on the exteriority of the struggle against apartheid. Fools, a new film by Ramadan Suleiman, based on Njabulo Ndebele’s Noma-award […]

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Reflections on FESPACO 2001

The monument, a rather curious construction representing stacked film cans, reflects an element of the humble yet ambitious nature of the African film industry. It is indeed a great achievement that one of the poorest countries in Africa, despite political instability, revolutions, and counter-revolutions has been able to organize FESPACO on a regular and continuing […]

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Review: Faat Kine

Like Borom Sarret, Black Girl, The Money Order, and Xala, Ousmane Sembene’s latest release is another chapter in the writer-director’s laser-sharp commentary of post-independence in Senegal. Faat Kine brings the viewer face to face with politically, economically, and morally corrupt social fabric. Against this backdrop, Faat Kine stands out as the most hopeful, the most […]

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Rumbi’s 2006 Outdoor Series

Hello, it’s me again – the African Film Addict – and I am still addicted.  However, this year, I gave up the summer to work on improving myself professionally (whatever that means).  When I received the emails and postcards about the New York African Film Festival’s outdoor series in Harlem, I steeled myself and pledged […]

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Selma and the American-ness of the Academy

Last week, I attended a screening of Ava DuVernay’s Selma about Martin Luther King, Jr. and the 1965 voting rights marches of Alabama. Desperate for inspiration, fresh off my second rejection from Sundance Screenwriters Labs—this time, unlike last year’s form letter, a lovely e-mail from the program director praising my “empathy” towards the story’s characters—I […]

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Sembene Remembered

On Tuesday, May 27, 2008, AFF co-produced a very special evening at the French institute Alliance Français, titled “Homage To Ousmane Sembène.” The evening began with a screening of a short documentary directed by Mamadou Niang on the life of Sembène. Fadhima Thiam, actress and personal friend of Sembène, read excerpts from one of Sembène’s […]

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Sembène the Ceddo

The Elephant had a toothache, as they would say in the Ivory Coast: the “Father of African film” left us during the night of the 9th of June 2007, aged 84, as a result of a long illness that prevented him from attending the 2007 Fespaco. Tribute-portrait of a man who called himself a non-believer, […]

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Sembène the Ceddo*

Young Ousmane was not predisposed to become the master of African cinema. His family, fishermen from Zinguidor, wasn’t wealthy or from a noble background. But when he was born in 1923, Casamance had just been “pacified”, after three centuries of active resistance. He grew up in a dominated world, then, but one that kept on […]

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Seventeenth edition of the New York African Film Festival

The seventeenth edition of the New York African Film Festival is almost over.  Opening on April 7 at the Walter Reade Theatre in Lincoln Center, the festival concludes at BAM Cinematek on Memorial Day weekend.  In between, organizers Richard Pena and Mahen Bonetti preside over a mix of films, q and a’s, receptions, panel discussions, […]

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Sithengi’s fight for supremacy in Africa could cost it its identity

Southern African International Film and Television Market, Sithengi, could lose its identity as it re-brands itself as Cape Town World Cinema Festival. Pundits argue that Sithengi is trying to do too many things at the same time and that its vision could get blurred—if not lost—in the clutter. It is good that South Africa has […]

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Sithengi’s Fight for Supremacy in Africa Could Cost Its Identity

Southern African International Film and Television Market, Sithengi, could lose its identity as it re-brands itself as Cape Town World Cinema Festival (CTWCF). Pundits argue that Sithengi is trying to do too many things at the same time and that its vision could get blurred—if not lost—in the clutter. Although South Africa has taken a […]

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Soldiers of the Rock Review

Norman Maake’s directorial debut is cinematic/karmic  kaleidoscope encompasses a boiling and poignant saga of the fraternity of determination and Shaka Zulu like strength that is the bedrock of a cadre of South African gold miners. Depending on the view on takes, these gallant men are centurions who ritualistic surgeons who daily descend into the bowels […]

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Some Thoughts on the film “The Daily Nation”

I thought the film directors did a commendable job in capturing the mood and character of not only life within the Nation Media Group and newspaper industry in Kenya, but also of the country as a whole. The excellent shots of the hustle and bustle of Nairobi, the chaotic traffic, the buildings, the bus terminus, […]

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Something Ventured

15 July 2000 I was on my way home via the A train to Brooklyn feeling kind of drained. Maybe it was from the good cry I had had at Djoniba’s Dance & Drum Centre. My friend Noori had brought a bunch of snapshots from her Senegal trip last year. She had taken the trip […]

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Still, The Fire in the Belly: The Confessions of Ousmane Sembene

The meeting has been under way for well over two hours, and the seven participants do not seem exhausted after strings of passionate exchanges. The scene could have been ripped from a chapter of Ousmane Sembène’s fifth novel, God’s Bits of Wood, in which the women deliberate their plan of attack against the oppressive and […]

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The 2004 Dhow Awards

FEATURE FILMS Golden Dhow Maargam Directed by Rajiv Vijay India, 2003, 108 mins. An understanding evolves between a daughter and her father as they undertake a journey together that takes them through the feudal paths of the father’s ancestral village in Kerala and his radical past as a Marxist, an armed revolutionary among indigenous communities […]

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The African Slave Trades: Across the Indian Ocean

The Arab world’s lost memory of African enslavement dominated the panel discussions that followed the screening of The African Slave Trades: Across the Indian Ocean. The film’s narrator, Nigerian writer and Nobel Laureate Wole Soyinka, noted that “each time an attempt has been made or even the actual product of this inquiry has been placed […]

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The Light at the End of the Dark Continent

Man may work from sun to sun But woman’s work is never done.          -Traditional (origin unknown) Little gems from the Third World float westward once in a while, under- or non-promoted/distributed, for limited runs, or remora-like hitch a ride on bigger fish, like Irani Makhmalbaf’s and Burkinabè (i.e., native of Burkina Faso) Ouédraogo’s contributions […]

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The Orbit of “Planet Africa”: The Best from Africa and the African Diaspora

This year’s program is an electric mix of twelve features and seven short films from seventeen different countries, with eight features making their world or North American premieres. “Planet Africa” opens with Hijack Stories, an entertaining critique of North America’s depiction of violence. Co-curators Gaylene Gould and June Givanni offer an authoritative survey of current […]

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The Role of Music in African Cinema

Even today, an analysis of the complex role of music in film is often forgotten by critics, many of whom remain prostrate before the dictatorship of the image. Yet as a manifestation of culture, music has a privileged position with respect to the study of representations of identity and ideology; moreover, in its subversive and […]

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Reviews

“Moi et Mon Blanc” Review

This is a fast-paced comedy of errors cocaine caper; a humorous fast-paced, quick-witted tale of the collision and embrace of two cultures and the absurdity of caste, class and cash.  With aspiration and determination as the impulsive incentive, two parking lot attendants in France bumble across mega euro dollars and a large cache of cocaine. […]

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“Shaking Up The Box: A Decade of ITVS”: Department of Film and Media at The Museum for Modern Art, July 5-22, 2001

This year’s presentation by The Independent Television Service (ITVS) included a series called Women’s Tales from Modern Africa. Produced by Simon Bright (A Winstar Cinema Release of a Zimmedia Production, produced in Association with ITVS and Winstar Productions), the series was comprised of three short films — Riches (2001) directed by Ingrid Sinclair, from Zimbabwe, […]

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14th Annual African Film Festival

Celebrating its 14th year, the New York African Film Festival continues to exemplify the Film Society of Lincoln Center’s commitment to international cinema. Annually, programmer Mahen Bonetti expands perceptions of African people, culture and cinema, articulating the artistic commonalities of the continent while identifying regional distinctions.In this year’s festival, modernity versus tradition, African identity, immigration […]

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A Matter of Style

Among the noteworthy films featured this year at the New York African Film Festival at Lincoln Center was George Amponsah and Cosima Spender’s documentary, The Importance of Being Elegant, which examines the Congolese subculture centered around the worship of clothes (kitende) known as la Société des ambianceurs et personnes élégantes (the Society of Revelers and […]

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AFRICAN FILM FEST STAGES A “CRUEL” QUICK HIT

The 17th New York African Film Festival got underway again last week with the premiere of a stunning 8-minute satire on revolution and oil seizure titled “Dr. Cruel,” a joint venture of film maker Teco Benson of Nigeria, and Jakob Boeskov of Denmark. “Dr. Cruel” unveils a Scandinavian terrorist, also played by Boeskov, and a group […]

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After African Independence A Review of the New York African Film Festival: “Independent Africa.”

Malian-French director Daouda Coulibaly begins his short film, Il Était une fois l’indépendance (A History of Independence, 2009), with a wedding celebration. A newlywed couple dances, guests clap, and a tethered goat awaits slaughter. Instead of the boisterous sounds of revelry, however, we hear the declarations of several independence era African political leaders. As the […]

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Akiedah Mohamed Reviews White Wedding

The preview of White Wedding at Atlas studios in Johannesburg was packed, yet people squeezed into any and every available space. Within minutes of watching the film, I understood why there’s such a buzz ahead of its cinematic release; it’s an exceptionally funny comedy about two best friends traveling to Cape Town to get to […]

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Be Kunko

Shot in video, in the style of a news report, Be Kunko begins with the arrival of refugees in a UN camp. But very quickly, the narrative becomes more fictional as it focuses on the life of a small clan, a brotherhood. The fact is that if Little John has this news report value, its […]

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Denying Brazil

The documentary, Denying Brazil, is a plain-speaking and fascinating unmasking of the white racism endemic in Brazilian television’s most popular genre, which in the USA we would call the soap opera, but which throughout Latin America is known as the telenovela. The telenovela is more than a soap opera. It has a centrality in everyday […]

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FESPACO 17: Cinema and New Technology

The cinema sector and, more generally, the audiovisual must almost permanently be reorganizing its modes and means of production because of the fast and outstanding progress in information, image and sound technologies. In Africa, because the industry is weakened by an unfavorable economic situation, judicious choices should be made to adapt cinema to the large […]

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Hello Nigeria!

Hello Nigeria! is a film that aims to unravel and understand Nigerian society by examining the contents of their very own celebrity/society magazine Ovation. The film is actually the first in a series of programmes that I am doing where I attempt to dissect a non-Western culture by examining their celebrity magazines. The series is […]

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HELLO NIGERIA!

Hello Nigeria! is actually the first in a series of programmes that I am doing where I attempt to dissect another culture through examining their celebrity magazines. The series is called Hello World!, but it was seeing the Nigerian society magazine Ovation that gave me the idea for the series in the first place. Launched […]

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Immediate Experience: About The Panelists of The African Film Festival

The broad issues of production, marketing, international distribution, and the urgency and objectives of Black representation in the media find definition in the professional and personal experiences of the panelists. Special guests Miriam Makeba, Angelique Kidjo, and Pras highlight the challenges faced by the film directors and performance artists of the Diaspora. In addition, Malian […]

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KVTV Access: 2014 New York African Film Festival

Yes its true, KVTV Access is back! We invaded the 2014 New York African Film Festival and caught up with Kenyan directors Ekwa Msangi and Nick Reding, both of whom had films screening at the festival. We had a few drops from some very special guests, so check it out and drop us a note about […]

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Lumumba: Death of a Prophet, Life of the Image

Through the starkness of Peck’s iconic choices and the poetic character of the voiceover, we are moved to a certain comprehension of the incommensurable. Raoul Peck occupies a liminal space in filmmaking, blurring the boundaries between documentary and fiction, between the personal and the political, as well as the boundaries of national affiliation. In the […]

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Madame Brouette: A Film by Moussa Sene Absa

I’ve always been very attracted to films made in Senegal probably I have been there, exploring Dakar’s neighborhoods. I have sat with women around the dancing circle in Medina. I have strolled in the sandy streets of Niarri Tally, watched women in the shades of mango trees in Malika. And everywhere I went, I have […]

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Max and Mona

Max and Mona is a post-apartheid South African comedy. Set in and around the country’s industrial capital Johannesburg, it revolves around young Max Bua (Mpho Lovingo) the village mourner of a small provincial town who, despite inheriting his grandfather’s unique talent for making people cry at funerals, wants to pursue a medical degree in the […]

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MAX and MONA Review

 Max and Mona is a post-apartheid South African comedy. Set in and around the country’s industrial capital Johannesburg, it revolves around young Max Bua (Mpho Lovingo), the village mourner of a small, provincial town who, despite inheriting his grandfather’s unique talent for making people cry at funerals, wants to pursue a medical degree in the […]

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Mixing Impossible Genres: David Achkar and African Autobiographical Documentary

David Achkar’s 1991 film Allah Tantou [God’s Will] contains autobiographical, biographical and historical (both national and international) layers and first, second and third-person narratives. Documentary material, including photographs, newspapers, newsreels, and home movies, are combined with fictional reenactments as Achkar slips back and forth between personal and historical narrative, telling a piece of a postcolonial […]

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Notes from the 23rd New York African Film Festival

Each year, attending the African Film Festival feels like embarking on a journey across the heart of Africa. I am a comfortable traveler though, and from my seat at Lincoln Center, it is the eternal magic of the moving image that I submit to. I dream, I am amazed, I am angry, I am moved […]

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Pan African Film Festival II

SCREENINGS Ten films, including features and documentaries and eleven videos were screened during the course of the festival. This year’s festival selection highlighted works from Portuguese-speaking African countries and works of established and emerging directors from Brazil. Several of the films were premieres, including Penalti (Penalty), a film made by Bahian director, Adler Kibe Paz. […]

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Ramadan Suleman: Fools

In the last decade, anti-apartheid films with South Africa as a backdrop, have generally been English language, Hollywood productions, with white protagonists, often played by big-name Hollywood actors. The narrative of the films usually focuses on the exteriority of the struggle against apartheid. Fools, a new film by Ramadan Suleiman, based on Njabulo Ndebele’s Noma-award […]

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Reflections on FESPACO 2001

The monument, a rather curious construction representing stacked film cans, reflects an element of the humble yet ambitious nature of the African film industry. It is indeed a great achievement that one of the poorest countries in Africa, despite political instability, revolutions, and counter-revolutions has been able to organize FESPACO on a regular and continuing […]

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Review: Faat Kine

Like Borom Sarret, Black Girl, The Money Order, and Xala, Ousmane Sembene’s latest release is another chapter in the writer-director’s laser-sharp commentary of post-independence in Senegal. Faat Kine brings the viewer face to face with politically, economically, and morally corrupt social fabric. Against this backdrop, Faat Kine stands out as the most hopeful, the most […]

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Rumbi’s 2006 Outdoor Series

Hello, it’s me again – the African Film Addict – and I am still addicted.  However, this year, I gave up the summer to work on improving myself professionally (whatever that means).  When I received the emails and postcards about the New York African Film Festival’s outdoor series in Harlem, I steeled myself and pledged […]

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Seventeenth edition of the New York African Film Festival

The seventeenth edition of the New York African Film Festival is almost over.  Opening on April 7 at the Walter Reade Theatre in Lincoln Center, the festival concludes at BAM Cinematek on Memorial Day weekend.  In between, organizers Richard Pena and Mahen Bonetti preside over a mix of films, q and a’s, receptions, panel discussions, […]

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Sithengi’s fight for supremacy in Africa could cost it its identity

Southern African International Film and Television Market, Sithengi, could lose its identity as it re-brands itself as Cape Town World Cinema Festival. Pundits argue that Sithengi is trying to do too many things at the same time and that its vision could get blurred—if not lost—in the clutter. It is good that South Africa has […]

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Soldiers of the Rock Review

Norman Maake’s directorial debut is cinematic/karmic  kaleidoscope encompasses a boiling and poignant saga of the fraternity of determination and Shaka Zulu like strength that is the bedrock of a cadre of South African gold miners. Depending on the view on takes, these gallant men are centurions who ritualistic surgeons who daily descend into the bowels […]

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The 17th Annual New York African Film Festival

The seventeenth edition of the New York African Film Festival is almost over. Opening on April 7 at the Walter Reade Theatre in Lincoln Center, the festival concludes at BAM Cinematek on Memorial Day weekend. In between, organizers Richard Pena and Mahen Bonetti preside over a mix of films, q and a’s, receptions, panel discussions, […]

Read More…

The Light at the End of the Dark Continent

Man may work from sun to sun But woman’s work is never done.          -Traditional (origin unknown) Little gems from the Third World float westward once in a while, under- or non-promoted/distributed, for limited runs, or remora-like hitch a ride on bigger fish, like Irani Makhmalbaf’s and Burkinabè (i.e., native of Burkina Faso) Ouédraogo’s contributions […]

Read More…

The Orbit of “Planet Africa”: The Best from Africa and the African Diaspora

This year’s program is an electric mix of twelve features and seven short films from seventeen different countries, with eight features making their world or North American premieres. “Planet Africa” opens with Hijack Stories, an entertaining critique of North America’s depiction of violence. Co-curators Gaylene Gould and June Givanni offer an authoritative survey of current […]

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Thoughts on The Daily Nation, A Film

I thought the film directors of The Daily Nation did a commendable job in capturing the mood and character of not only life within the Nation Media Group and newspaper industry in Kenya, but also of the country as a whole. The excellent shots of the hustle and bustle of Nairobi, the chaotic traffic, the […]

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U-Carmen eKhayelitsha Review

When I first saw U-Carmen eKhayelitsha at the 13th New York African Film Festival in April 2006, I was mesmerized.  Because the film made such a strong social statement with its casting of Carmen, I was forced to examine my socialization of the standards of beauty.  As a result, my self-esteem has been raised and […]

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Video Awudjo! Featured Artist, Tunde Kelani, has New Developments after AFF

On Saturday, April 21, 2001, African Film Festival (AFFNY) took on the groundbreaking task of presenting movies from Nigeria and Ghana as part of its Festival schedule. This was the first time that an organized film institution recognized the mass-produced, consumer-driven aspect of Nigerian and Ghanaian movies.  In these countries, artists have adopted video to […]

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We the Living

South African theater, jazz, video and commercial film director Ian Gabriel’s first feature, Forgiveness, offers a sensitive probing of the realities of Apartheid and its human toll and legacy. One of twenty-four films from twelve countries at the multi-media twelfth annual New York African Film Festival shown by the Film Society of Lincoln Center, and a month […]

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White Wedding Review

The preview of White Wedding at Atlas studios in Johannesburg was packed yet people squeezed into any and every available space.  Within minutes of watching the film, I understood why there’s such a buzz ahead of its cinematic release; it’s an exceptionally funny comedy about two best friends traveling to Cape Town to get to […]

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Interviews

“Filmmaking can show the way”

Interview with Souleymane Cissé Ten years have gone since Waati, your last big movie. What are your perspectives for filmmaking today in 2005? Filmmaking with a big F is taking a break, not because of the filmmakers, but because of those who are around them, around us. Those we are trying hard to understand. Are […]

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“I, myself, will never finish learning.”

…I think that what I have done is that I have carried on this way of telling stories around the fire, with the soundtrack of the crackling fire and the crickets—this notion of how memory is transmitted from one generation to another in our culture. If you really knew my childhood, you would think that […]

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“Why shouldn’t everyone hear?”

…In your documentaries, you have this ability to extract truth from all these personalities and personages, that’s what’s so emblematic of your work. You’re getting these people to open up—how is that? Is it just because you come from a family of diplomats? Why is it that you can get to these people? House of […]

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"We are doing worse than Hollywood": Interview with Kwaw Ansah

Steve Ayorinde: Thank you for the opportunity to speak with you. The name of Kwaw Ansah is to a large extent one of the most significant of African cinema. As far as cinema is concerned, we did not hear much from you in Nigeria since Heritage Africa. Has there been a break or change in […]

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Camera Q&A: Deborah Perkin on Bastards and Morocco

Deborah Perkin is a British documentary filmmaker based in Wales, and a former-producer for the BBC. It was while working there that Perkin first pitched a story about Morocco’s family court system, and the unique charity that helps single mothers resolve their marriage status with their child’s father — thus helping those children to be […]

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Camera Q&A: Kenneth Gyang on Confusion Na Wa

Kenneth Gyang is a Nigerian filmmaker from the city of Jos, where he attended the National Film Institute. In 2012, he made his directorial debut with Blood and Henna, and followed it with 2013′s Confusion Na Wa — a title drawn from a line in a song by African musician Fela Kuti, and meaning “Confusion […]

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Interview with Branwen Okpako

AD: What do you want people to take out of your themes? And what experience do you want people to get? BO: Okay, let me not be vain about it. I want people to leave Dirt for Dinner having learned something about the way German society functions and a little bit about the history of […]

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Interview with Branwen Okpako by Andrew Dosunmu

A.D.: What do you want people to take out of your themes? And what experience do you want people to get? B.O.:  Okay, let me not be vain about it: I want people to leave Dirt for Dinner having learned something about the way German society functions and a little bit about the history of […]

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Interview with Jean-Marie Teno

Directing both documentary and fiction, Jean-Marie Teno frequently shoots his films himself, often in the reflexive and provocative style of the first person narrative. Born in 1954, in Famleng, Cameroon, Teno studied communication at the University of Valenciennes and graduated in 1984 with a degree in filmmaking. Rooted in post-colonial experience, Teno’s cinematic essays interrogate […]

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Interview with Jean-Marie Teno

Born in 1954, in Famleng, Cameroon, Jean-Marie Teno studied communication at the University of Valenciennes.  Since graduating in 1984 with a degree in filmmaking, he has been living and working in France.  Directing both documentary and fiction, Teno frequently shoots his films himself, often in the reflexive and provocative style of the first-person narrative.  Rooted […]

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Interview with Jean-Marie Teno

Born in 1954 in Famleng, Cameroon, Jean-Marie Teno studied communication at the University of Valenciennes.  Since graduating in 1984 with a degree in filmmaking, he has been living and working in France.  Directing both documentary and fiction, Teno frequently shoots his films himself, often in the reflexive and provocative style of the first-person narrative.  Rooted […]

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Not Nollywood: An Interview with Nigerian Filmmaker Tunde Kelani

Tunde Kelani is a seasoned Nigerian filmmaker wrapping up his sixteenth film, Dazzling Mirage.On the film’s website Mainframe Movies, his production company founded in 1991, promotes this as a “movie and a movement.” This is not Nollywood. Observers, scholars, and critics usually describe Nollywood as everything but “cinema.” For some critics, it’s all absence except for its […]

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Ousmane Sembene’s London Season

Offerring its highest honour on Ousmane Sembene last month, the British Film Institute (bfi) said the 82-year-old is “the Patron Saint of Black Cinema – to call him a director is a misnomer.” Sembene became the 58th recipient of the bfi fellowship; past honourees include Orson Welles and Akira Kurosawa. Naming some with whom Sembene […]

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Sembène the Ceddo*

Young Ousmane was not predisposed to become the master of African cinema. His family, fishermen from Zinguidor, wasn’t wealthy or from a noble background. But when he was born in 1923, Casamance had just been “pacified”, after three centuries of active resistance. He grew up in a dominated world, then, but one that kept on […]

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Still, The Fire in the Belly: The Confessions of Ousmane Sembene

The meeting has been under way for well over two hours, and the seven participants do not seem exhausted after strings of passionate exchanges. The scene could have been ripped from a chapter of Ousmane Sembène’s fifth novel, God’s Bits of Wood, in which the women deliberate their plan of attack against the oppressive and […]

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The Trees of Specificity: Gaston Kaboré

Jude G. Akudinobi: How would you define African cinema? Gaston Kaboré: When I speak about African cinema, I am addressing the historical context of the birth of a cinema in Africa, the conditions in which filmmakers across the continent are trying to portray their realities, and how they are speaking about their histories and their […]

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Universal Refugees: Interview with Cheick Fantamady Camara

Shot in video, in the style of a news report, the film Be Kunko (the original working title was Little John) begins with the arrival of refugees in a UN camp. But very quickly, the camera becomes more fictional as it focuses on the life of a small clan, a brotherhood. The fact is that […]

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Universal Refugees: Interview with Cheick Fantamady Camara

Interview with Cheick Fantamady Camara about Little John (working title) Amiens, November 2003 Q: The film is insisting on the fact that the UN-managed refugee camp remains a no-go area, inaccessible to the police where juvenile delinquents cannot be caught. A: These teenagers find themselves in this no-go area because war has turned them into […]

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