New York African Film Festival Lineup (April 11-17)

Posted on April 12, 2012 /Film

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Presented under the banner theme 21st Century: The Homecoming, this year’s New York African Film Festival will screen contemporary and classic African films that explore the notion of home and homeland, from the legacy of music legend Miriam Makeba (subject of our Opening Night film, Mama Africa) to disaporic visions like the New York-set Restless City, which comes direct from its acclaimed premiere at the 2011 Sundance Film Festival. In addition, to mark the 100th anniversary of the African National Congress (ANC), NYAFF will pay homage through performances by artists working in music, dance and film. Don’t miss this eclectic sampling of some of the most popular dramas, documentaries and experimental works currently unfolding on screens across the African continent. Screenings held at the Walter Reade Theater. Buy tickets online here.

The Lineup

ELZA
MARIETTE MONPIERRE, 2011
GUADELOUPE/USA | 80 MINUTES

April 12, April 15

Bernadette, a single mother in Paris, tries to provide her daughters with everything.  She is thrilled when her eldest daughter, Elza, is the first in the family to graduate from college earning a master’s degree summa cum laude. But Elza breaks her mother’s heart by running away to their native Guadeloupe in search of a distant childhood memory: the father she barely remembers.


 

HOW TO STEAL 2 MILLION
CHARLIE VUNDLA, 2011
SOUTH AFRICA | FORMAT: DIGITAL | 90 MINUTES

April 12, 8:15pm

Five long years…that’s how long Jack spent in prison after getting pinched for robbery. His partner in crime and best friend, Twala, never got caught and Jack never talked. But Twala proved as treacherous as Jack is honourable by marrying Jack’s former fiancée during his prison term. Upon being released, Jack decides to go straight. He wants to start a construction business, but after being rejected for a loan he must find a new source of capital. An opportunity presents itself when Twala suggests they do a home invasion with a take worth two million South African Rand. The intended victim: Twala’s father, Julius. In his search for a third partner Jack comes across the tough, but sexy Olive. When the robbery goes wrong, secret double crosses are revealed and the tension builds towards an explosive, surprising finale in this dark and stylish modern-day film noir.


 

IN DARKEST HOLLYWOOD: CINEMA & APARTHEID, PT I & II
PETER DAVIS, DANIEL RIESENFELD, 1994
USA/SOUTH AFRICA/CANADA | 112 MINUTES

April 16, 6:00pm.

Using a wealth of archival footage and commentary by filmmakers and actors, including a young John Kani and Miriam Makeba, this two-part film examines the role of cinema in both supporting and attacking Apartheid, focusing on the impact of Hollywood films in South Africa, the depiction of South Africa in Hollywood films, and finally, the emergence of an indigenous film industry in South Africa. It also questions Hollywood’s commitment to racial stereotypes and reluctance to depict black heroes.

 

MAAMI
TUNDE KELANI, 2010
NIGERIA | 78 MINUTES

April 16, 8:45p.m

Maami, and her young son Kashimawo are desperately poor. Gifted with a loving heart, enterprising spirit and brave soul, she is the center of her son’s world. Yet he longs for the father he has never known, a man with a terrible secret. Adapted by Tunde Babalola, from Femi Osofisan’s novel of the same name, this Nollywood film about love, perseverance and fate unfolds through Kashimawo’s reminiscences of his hardscrabble childhood in the southern Nigerian town, Abeokuta, and his ascent to international football fame during the 2010 World Cup.


 

PLAYING WARRIORS
RUMBI KATEDZA, 2011
ZIMBABWE | 78 MINUTES

April 15, 4:00pm

Actresses Tendai Musoniu and Kudzai Sevenzo

When twenty-something advertising executive Nyarai finds out that her best friend Nonto is getting married, she and her lawyer friend Maxi are sent into a frenzy thinking that their time to find “Mr. Right” may be running out. Determined to marry for love–despite the insistence of her meddlesome mother that she hurry up and settle down–Nyarai sets out to find a modern man as strong and dependable as the mythical traditional warrior. Reminiscent of a Zimbabwean Sex and the City, director Rumbi Katedza’s delightful debut feature is a smart and insightful comedy about the struggle of young African women to balance modern lifestyles with the pressures of family and tradition.


 

RELENTLESS
ANDY AMADI OKOROAFOR, 2011
NIGERIA/FRANCE/ SPAIN/GERMANY | FORMAT: 35MM | 92 MINUTES

April 13, 8:oopm

Centerpiece Selection! Filmmaker in person! Plus a live dance performance by Khaleah London.

Obi is a peace-keeping soldier in worn torn Sierra Leone, where he meets Blessing a Sierra Leonean woman. His life is devastated when he finds Blessing mutilated by rebels. His only option is to end her misery. On his return to Lagos, Obi is a man battling with the scars of war. By day he runs a small security company with Ola, his best friend and fellow war veteran; at night he walks the lonely streets of Lagos. A haunting story about loneliness, love and self-discovery set in Africa’s throbbing megacity Lagos, Relentless delicately explores the effects of war and loss.


 

RESTLESS CITY
ANDREW DOSUNMU, 2011
USA/NIGERIA | FORMAT: HDCAM | 80 MINUTES

April 14, 9:30pm

Direct from its acclaimed premiere at this year’s Sundance Film Festival, director Andrew Dosunmu’s kinetic, gorgeously photographed debut feature tells the story of an Africa immigrant surviving on the fringes of New York City where music is his passion, life is a hustle, and falling in love is his greatest risk. Djibril is a young African immigrant who’s life can only go upward. He wants to be a pop star and one day return to Africa where his mother and father toil for a meager living. By day he sells merchandise on Canal Street for a small income, but he continuously seeks a way to succeed as a singer. When Djibril meets Trini, a prostitute under the control of Bekay, the local loan shark, his life assumes new purpose and momentum; however, whether Djibril and Trini can outrun Bekay’s nefarious influence is another story. Co-presented by Okayafrica.