From May 10th to June 1st, the Big Apple hosts the largest African film festival across the Atlantic, the New York African Film Festival. With some fifty films on the program, but also workshops to discover and raise awareness of the realities of cinema on the continent with the interventions of several actors from the sector, this event, which is celebrating its 30th anniversary, has become a must the years for filmmakers.
On May 10th, the red carpet shone brightly at Lincoln Center’s legendary Upper East Side cultural complex for the opening night of the 30th African Film Festival in New York (NYAFF). The festival, a central event in the continental cinema calendar in the United States, showcased essential directors like the Malian Souleymane Cissé, the Senegalese Moussa Absa Sène, as well as rising stars such as the Angolan Ery Claver, and the Kenyan Angela Wanjiku Wamai.
“We started from almost nothing, but the intentions have always been the same since 1993, to give a window of visibility to African cinema because it rarely gets the exposure and success it deserves in the American cinematographic panorama”, underlines Mahen Bonetti, the general director of the festival. With meager means during the inaugural years, the NYAFF was a pioneer. It was the first festival to program films by French-speaking African directors in the United States, dedicating its 1993 edition to a retrospective of the works of Senegalese Ousmane Sène, one of the fathers of African cinema.