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Lincoln Center
Lincoln Center, NYC

May 08 - 14 2024

Film at Lincoln Center and African Film Festival Announce the Complete Lineup for the 31st New York African Film Festival

May 8 – 14, 2024

Featuring the North American premiere of Tolu Ajayi’s Over the Bridge and the New York premiere of Dibakar Das Roy’s Dilli Dark Harold George’s short Making Men to be accompanied by the director’s dance troupe, a first-time event for NYAFF 

NEW YORK — Film at Lincoln Center (FLC) and African Film Festival, Inc. (AFF) will celebrate the 31st edition of the New York African Film Festival (NYAFF) from May 8 to May 14. Since its inception in 1993, the festival has been at the forefront of showcasing African and diaspora filmmakers’ unique storytelling through the moving image. This year’s theme, “Convergence of Time,” explores the intersection of historical and contemporary roles played by individuals representing Africa and its diaspora in art. With more than 50 films from more than 25 countries, the festival invites audiences to delve into the convergence of archival and modern experimentalism, transcending both space and time.

“The 31st New York African Film Festival has so much to offer in terms of honoring the origins of  homegrown, beloved African and diaspora film industry, as well as celebrating their references in modern masterpieces,” said Mahen Bonetti, NYAFF Founder and AFF Executive Director.

The Opening Night selection is the North American premiere of Over the Bridge, Tolu Ajayi’s feature about corruption in Lagos as Folarin, a successful investment banker whose company is contracted by the government to oversee a high-profile project, searches for answers when the project goes awry, which leads him to a remote fishing village to put the pieces of the mystery together.

The Closing Night selection features the New York premiere of Dibakar Das Roy’s riveting and uproarious Dilli Dark, which shows the boundaries Nigerian MBA candidate Michael Okeke will push to succeed as he lives a double life as a student and drug dealer amidst the backdrop of India’s history of colonialism, racism, and xenophobia.

The festival will also host the North American premieres of Matthew Leutwyler’s Fight Like a Girl, depicting the true story of a young Congolese woman (Ama Qamata from the hit Netflix series Blood and Water) who finds liberation after joining an all-women’s boxing club in Goma, led by an ex-child-soldier coach; and Oyiza Adaba’s biographical documentary DELA: The Making of El Anatsui, which delves into the life of El Anatsui, the world-renowned sculptor from Ghana, and triumphantly acknowledges the importance of Africa’s rich artistic and cultural heritage.

Three festival features are U.S. premieres: Yajaira De La Espada’s documentary Teacher Don’t Teach Me Nonsense, showcasing the life and empowering legacy of the founding father of Tanzania, Mwalimu Julius Nyerere, and the recent presidency of Dr. John Pombe Magufuli; Clive Will’s Time Spent with Cats Is Never Wasted, a stark piece of slow-burning cinema featuring a small-town worker who finds success after selling a helicopter he made out of scrap and found objects, while having to fight off the local townsfolk who insist on a cut of the profits; and Perivi Katjavivi’s Under the Hanging Tree, a hard-boiled crime thriller following police officer Christina, as she seeks to uncover details of a murder on a German-owned farm in present-day Namibia, set against echoes of the country’s history of genocide.

Five features making their New York debut are: Damien Hauser’s After the Long Rains, a touching account of 10-year-old Aisha, who longs to become a fisher so she can travel to Europe, and befriends an alcoholic fisherman who promises to teach her; Uche Aguh’s musical romance Dynamite, which finds musician Kiki in an unhappy marriage with her husband/manager and beginning a whirlwind romance with a replacement bassist in her band; Osvalde Lewat’s documentary MK: Mandela’s Secret Army, the little-known story of the military avant-garde founded by global icon Nelson Mandela, screening for the 30th anniversary of South African Freedom Day; This Is Lagos, Kenneth Gyang’s dark comedy featuring aspiring rapper Stevo navigating the dangers of his criminal past after an escape from a heist goes wrong; and The Rhythm and the Blues, the true-life story of legendary bluesman Eddie Taylor and his fight against obscurity, industry corruption, and cultural appropriation, starring actor and musician Leon.

An exciting addition to this year’s festival is La Chapelle, Jean-Michel Tchissoukou’s surreal take on the relationship between Africa, Christianity, and colonialism. A classic feature shot in 1980s Congo, this enchantingly bizarre and bitingly funny satire leaves one questioning the relevance of space and time. 

Among many shorts premiering at NYAFF, not to be missed is Harold George’s Making Men. In a first for NYAFF, the screening of George’s film will be accompanied by a live dance performance from George and members of his dance troupe, as well as a discussion afterwards. A brilliant question of masculinity, visually probed via imagery of traditional customs, the film supplies modern questions with ancestral answers. Another, Love Taps, directed by Derrick Woodyard and executive produced by Spike Lee, offers another comment on masculinity, secrets, and family ties.

NYAFF will present an “Art & Activism” Town Hall at The Africa Center on Thursday, May 2, at 6:00pm, featuring artists Christian Nyampeta, Adama Delphine Fawundu, and Taiwo Aloba, moderated by cultural anthropologist, curator, and scholar Paulette Young.

This year’s Master Class presented by AFF will feature veteran independent filmmaker Ngozi Onwurah, who will discuss the craft of utilizing cinema as a tool for unmasking the dynamics of the socioeconomic status quo. The event takes place in the Amphitheater at the Elinor Bunin Munroe Film Center with tickets available through africanfilmny.org.

“A litany for past suns labeled rituals / A star lit any and all possible futures,” a digital art exhibit of the work of Zainab Aliyu, will run in the Amphitheater at the Elinor Bunin Munroe Film Center May 9–14 beginning 30 minutes before the first NYAFF screening of the day. The exhibit is inspired by Nikki Giovanni’s “A Litany for Peppe” (1970) and Audre Lorde’s “A Litany for Survival” (1978), two poems written years apart, yet converging thematically through time. As the title suggests, the piece is structured as a litany, a repetitive and rhythmic form often used in ceremonial settings. In this context, Aliyu’s litany serves as a call to action for her communities to alchemize their shared histories toward shared futures.

Tickets go on sale Thursday, April 11 at noon ET. Ticket prices are $17 for the general public; $14 for students, seniors, and persons with disabilities; and $12 for FLC Members. See more and save with a 3+ Film Package ($15 for general public; $12 for students, seniors (62+), and persons with disabilities; and $10 for FLC Members), the $99 All-Access Pass, or the $79 Student All-Access Pass. Contact [email protected] for information about attending the Opening Night Party.

The festival continues at Maysles Documentary Center in Harlem from May 17 to 19 and culminates at Brooklyn Academy of Music under the name Film Africa from May 24 to May 30 during Dance Africa.

The programs of AFF are made possible by the generous support of the National Endowment for the Arts, New York State Council on the Arts, New York Community Trust, NYC Department of Cultural Affairs, Bradley Family Foundation, Domenico Paulon Foundation, NYC & Company, French Cultural Services, Manhattan Portage, Black Hawk Imports, Essentia Water, South African Consulate General, National Film and Video Foundation, and Motion Picture Enterprises.


Since 1990, African Film Festival, Inc. (AFF) has bridged the divide between postcolonial Africa and the American public through the powerful medium of film and video. AFF’s unique place in the international arts community is distinguished not only by leadership in festival management, but also by a comprehensive approach to the advocacy of African film and culture. AFF established the New York African Film Festival (NYAFF) in 1993 with Film at Lincoln Center. The New York African Film Festival is presented annually by the African Film Festival, Inc. and Film at Lincoln Center, in association with Brooklyn Academy of Music and Maysles Cinema. AFF also produces a series of local, national, and international programs throughout the year. More information about AFF can be found on the Web at www.africanfilmny.org. You can follow AFF at @africanfilmfest on X and Instagram.

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