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16th African Film Festival New York

The 2009 New York African Film Festival, presented under the banner “Africa in Transition,” takes an introspective journey across the African continent with films that create a vision of Africa’s future through a deconstruction of its past.



The festival is being held April 8 – 14th, 15th, 22nd – 25th.

A centerpiece of the festival is Jihan El-Tahri’s Behind The Rainbow, which probes the history of the governing African National Congress party. Director Ralph Ziman presents a new South African Scarface with his irreverent gangster movie, Jerusalema; meanwhile Triomf, by veteran director Michael Raeburn, focuses on South Africa’s white poor. Rounding out the focus on South Africa is the artists collective, Filmmakers Against Racism, which produced a series of short films in response to the xenophobic incidents that rocked South Africa in 2008.

The festival also offers an introspective look at Africa through new contemporary works. It spotlights three up-and-coming female Kenyan filmmakers: Lupita Nyong’o (In My Genes), Judy Kibinge (Killer Necklace), and Wanuri Kahiu (From A Whisper). Meanwhile, the 21st century reality of young African asylum seekers within Europe and Africa is explored in Area Boys and Paris à tout Prix. This year’s new directors join veterans across the continent in configuring a new vision of Africa’s future.

Veteran filmmakers Jean-Marie Teno and Mahamat Saleh Haroun are back with films that, like those of the new generation, question the purpose and direction of African filmmaking. With Sacred Places, Teno asks African filmmakers who their audience is – and who it should be. Haroun surprises us with a comedy about the Diaspora (Sex, Okra and Salted Butter), which highlights the importance of his own African audience.

This year’s festival recognizes the journey into Africa’s future with coming-of-age tales L’Appel des Arènes, Bronx Princess and Nora, which follow young people who reclaim their cultural legacies to create new opportunities. Fighting Spirit and Yandé Codou expand on this idea by exploring the lives of well-known historical figures who have influenced generations.

The full listing of films being shown at the festival are:

African Booty Scratcher – USA/Sierra Leone

Area Boys – Nigeria

Awaiting for Men – Senegal/Mauritania/Belgium

Azur and Asmar – France

Baraka – South Africa

Behind the Rainbow – South Africa/Egypt

Bronx Princess – USA/Ghana

The Burning Man – South Africa/Nigeria

Le Clandestin – Zaire

Come Back to Sudan – USA/Sudan

Coming of Age – Kenya

Congo My Foot – South Africa/Cameroon

The Fighting Spirit – UK/USA/Ghana

From a Whisper – Kenya

Heartlines – South Africa

The Importance of Being Elegant – UK/USA/Ghana

In My Genes – Kenya

Jerusalema – South Africa

Killer Necklace – Kenya

Kinshasa Palace – Democratic Republic of the Congo

Martine and Thandeke – South Africa

Meteni: The Lost One – Ethiopia

Munyurangabo – Rwanda

Nora – USA/UK/Mozambique

Paris Selon Moussa – Guinea/France

Paris or Nothing – Cameroon

The Prodigal Son – South Africa

Sacread Places – Cameroon/France

Sex, Okra & Salted Butter – Chad/France

Shoot the Messenger – Nigeria/UK

Siki, Ring Wrestler – USA/Senegal

This is My Africa – Nigeria/UK

Triomf – South Africa

Wrestling Grounds – Senegal/Burkina Faso/France

Yande Codou, The Griot of Senghor – Senegal



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