With plenty of evidence of the decline of Western Civilization presenting itself on TV news daily, the New York African Film Festival (known as NYAFF, but not to be confused with the New York Asian Film Fest) gives filmgoers a chance to experience fresh perspectives on the world. Now in its 25th year, with more than 30 films on its slate, and criss-crossing three of New York's venerable film institutions (FSLC, BAM and Maysle's Cinema), this year's festival includes new films from emerging filmmakers, shorts programs, revivals, panel discussions and an art exhibition.
Opening Night will spotlight Apolline Traoré’s award-winning film, Borders, which speaks to migration as well as to African women’s struggles, in a timely echo of the #MeToo movement. French director Berni Goldblat’s Wallay will have its New York premiere as the festival’s Centerpiece film.
The festival tips a hat to key figures in the history of African film with the U.S. premieres of Abderrahmane Sissako: Beyond Territories, Valérie Osouf’s intimate portrait of the acclaimed director of Bamako and the Oscar-nominated Timbuktu; a 2017 version of the 1983 classic Selbe: One Among Many, by Safi Faye, the first sub-Saharan woman to direct a theatrically released film, now restored to its original Wolof language; and Mohamed Challouf’s Tahar Cheriaa: Under the Shadow of the Baobab, which documents the career of the founder of the Carthage Film Festival, Africa’s first film festival. The festival will include the 1989 documentary short Parlons Grand-mère by the late Senegalese director Djibril Diop Mambéty.
These are the dates for this year's New York African Film Festival:
FSLC: May 16-22, Brooklyn Academy of Music: May 24-28, and Maysle's Cinema: June 7-10
Make no mistake, below in the gallery you will find outstanding, touching, funny, powerful and hopeful films that were definitely not made in shithole countries.
Borders - Apolline Traoré *Opening Night Film
Adjara, a Senegalise woman with her savings in her waste bag, travels to Lagos, Nigeria in the hopes of becoming a trader. Along the way, she meets 3 other female travelers in various situations.
This six day journey from Senegal through Mali, Burkina Fasso, Benin to Nigeria is an arduous one as they face rampant border corruptions among the sub-Saharan countries, violence, rape and fighting with other passengers, shady transportation and breakdowns.
Borders highlights pan-West African sisterhood and imagines the better future for its female citizens.