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Taye Diggs as Henry Nxumalo in Drum,
Dir. Zola Maseko, South Africa, 2004
Photo courtesy of The Film Society of Lincoln Center



Staff Report

NEW YORK, 19 April 2006—Under the banner "Africa in Transition – 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 Africa’s Drum Magazine journalists, and the U.S. premiere of U-Carmen eKhayelitsha, an exquisite adaptation of Bizet’s opera Carmen that won the Berlin Film Festival’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 Matabane’s Conversations on a Sunday Afternoon, Taghreed Elsanhouri's All About Darfur, Jacqueline Kalimunda’s Homeland as well as Phybia Dlamini’s Outlaw Culture.

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, women’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 York’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.

African Film Festival Web Site

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