NEW YORK, 19 April 2006â€”Under the banner "Africa in Transition â€“ Today!" the 2006 African Film Festival opens
tomorrow in New York. With screenings at venues in Manhattan
and Brooklyn through 29 May, the festival
will spotlight a wide array of U.S. premieres of internationally-acclaimed
films, including Drum from director Zola Maseko, starring Taye
Diggs, based on the legendary lives of South Africaâ€™s Drum
Magazine journalists, and the U.S. premiere of U-Carmen eKhayelitsha,
an exquisite adaptation of Bizetâ€™s opera Carmen
that won the
Berlin Film Festivalâ€™s Golden Bear Award, the opening night feature.
The month-long event, co-presented by the African Film Festival, Inc.
(AFF) and the Film Society of Lincoln Center, will highlight films about
Africans facing rapid transition, their lives shaped by the effects of
war, migration, HIV/AIDS, and subsequent xenophobia, reconciliation and
displacement such as Khalo Matabaneâ€™s Conversations on a Sunday
Afternoon, Taghreed Elsanhouri's All About Darfur,
Jacqueline Kalimundaâ€™s Homeland as well as Phybia Dlaminiâ€™s
For the first time, the Festival also includes two short programs
devoted to films by filmmakers from North Africa; "Emerging Voices from
the Maghreb" will feature award-winning short films addressing the
tensions between tradition and modernity, womenâ€™s struggle for equal
opportunity and the integration of North African families into European
cities and suburbs.
A mid-career retrospective on maverick Cameroonian filmmaker
Jean-Pierre Bekolo, whose experimental films have earned him an
international reputation as an innovator in African film, will also be
presented. His most recent film, Les Saignantes (The Bloodettes),
hailed as one of the first science fiction films to emerge from Africa, is
one of three of his films that will be screened at the Walter Reade
Theater at Lincoln Center.
The Festival kicks off with a panel discussion of prominent filmmakers
and intellectuals from the African diaspora, with Dr. Marta Vega, director
of New Yorkâ€™s Caribbean Cultural Center, and Jihan El-Tahri, director of
House of Saud, among others, at the historic Apollo Theater in Harlem at
6:30 p.m. on Thursday, 20 April.
Film Festival Web Site