The New York African Film Festival 2023 celebrates its 30th Anniversary of “free forms” at Film at Lincoln Center and Maysles Center. The festival wraps up as Film Africa at Brooklyn Academy of Music: BAM.
We are at the beginning of a global renaissance of African and African Diaspora culture. This time it includes the voices and creative power of women, the very guardians of culture.
Though not in this festival, Sy a French Senegalese filmmaker, just got her first feature “Banel & Adama” selected for competition for the Cannes Palme d’Or. It’s a great time for African and Diaspora cinema.
Streaming is giving African filmmakers a broader audience than was reachable before. Senegal, the northernmost West African country, has one of Africa’s strongest film industries.
These films show a subtle cultural and storytelling complexity that has largely evaporated in Hollywood. So these are not just great stories, but some great filmmaking.
30th New York African Film Festival 2023
The 30th New York African Film Festival 2023 presents 30 African and Diaspora films from more than 15 countries; at Film at Lincoln Center, May 10-16, 2023. $17. $79 All Access. $39 Student All Access. filmlinc.org 🇦🇴 🇨🇩 🇪🇹 🇪🇷 🇰🇪 🇲🇱 🇳🇬 🇸🇳 🇿🇦
There is a free talk about women in African cinema in honor of the late Safi Faye, a conversation with Souleymane Cissé and Martin Scorsese, and a master class with acclaimed Senegalese filmmaker Moussa Sène Absa.
These stories are told in Arabic, Bambara, Chinese, English, French, Igbo, Kikuyu, Lingala, Portuguese, Réunion Creole, Swahili, Tigrinya, Wolof, Xhosa, Yoruba.
Opening Night Film is “Xalé”
Opening night brings the New York premiere of “Xalé,” Moussa Sène Absa’s Senegalese thriller, the final story in her trilogy focused on women. It was Senegal’s 2022 entry to the Academy Awards for “Best International Feature Film.” In Wolof with subtitles.
Awa and Adama are two 15-year old twins. She dreams of school and he dreams of Europe. When the grandmother who cares for them dies, their Uncle Atoumane takes charge of the twins and marries their cousin Fatou. But Fatou doesn’t want him. Atoumane takes out his frustration on Awa and lives are changed.
The Centerpiece Film is “Hyperlink”
The Centerpiece selection is the U.S. premiere of “Hyperlink” (2022), four shorts by South African filmmakers, Mzonke Maloney, Nolitha Mkulisi, Juli Nxadi, and Evan Wigdorowitz. These films build stories around the seductive pull and unexpected consequences of the many illusions we see and offer on the internet.
The New York African Film Festival’s synopsis:
“A Christian convert is preparing for his rebirth as a man of god—unaware that his teenage daughter, who hasn’t heard from him in three months, has declared him dead on social media.
A schoolgirl sees her private life made public when she invites a classmate, who is an online influencer, to her home.
A divorced man with financial troubles so wants to show his young daughter he can be a good father that he fails to see the precarious position he is maneuvering himself into.
And a poet and commentator risks losing herself and those she loves in her desire to use her fame to achieve social change.
In four short films, young South African filmmakers reflect on the seductive, and at times treacherous, illusory reality of the internet. Using humor, suspense, and social criticism, this collective production sketches a society dominated by idealized projections of the dreamt self.”