New York’s African Film Festival: Letting Africa tell its own stories

South African film Vaya opened the 24th New York African Film Festival. You just missed that but you can still make it to New York to watch the open air community showings of the best African films. This year there are 25 features and 36 short films all celebrating Africa and the diaspora.

AFF director Mahen Bonetti, NYC mayor Bill de Blasio and First Lady Chirlane McCray.

AFF director Mahen Bonetti, NYC mayor Bill de Blasio and First Lady Chirlane McCray. (Image: AFF)

Pearl Thusi bringing grace and style to the AFF opening night. (Image: AFF)

Pearl Thusi bringing grace and style to the AFF opening night. (Image: AFF)

For 24 years the AFF has given African film makers a place to tell and star in their own stories.  South African film Kalushi fitting nicely into this years theme, “The People’s Revolution”. As festival diretor Mahen Bonetti says, the festival the festival “taps into the pulse of protest and the calls for change bubbling up throughout the peoples of the world, a reform charge championed by a new wave of artists throughout Africa and its diaspora.”

Vaya director Akin Omotoso at the opening night directors interview. (Image: AFF)

Vaya director Akin Omotoso at the opening night directors interview. (Image: AFF)

Artist Lindsey Seide presenting the interactive Digital Diaspora Family Reunion. (Image: AFF)

Artist Lindsey Seide presenting the interactive Digital Diaspora Family Reunion. (Image: AFF)

Entertainment accountant Rumbi Bwerinofa-Petrozzello runs her finance workshop. (Image: AFF)

Entertainment accountant Rumbi Bwerinofa-Petrozzello runs her finance workshop. (Image: AFF)

Getting ready for the curtain to go up. (Image: AFF)

Getting ready for the curtain to go up. (Image: AFF)

From small theatres - Maysles on Malcolm X Boulevard in Harlem- the AFF has spread across the city. (Image: AFF)

From small theatres – Maysles on Malcolm X Boulevard in Harlem- the AFF has spread across the city. (Image: AFF)

“If culture feed the soul then Africa feeds the world” – Mahen Bonetti

Watching Planet Negro at Jackie Robinson Park in Sugar Hill. (Image: AFF)

Watching Destination Planet Negro at Jackie Robinson Park in Sugar Hill. (Image: AFF)

The AFF Summer Series is about beautiful nights under the stars. (Image: AFF)

The AFF Summer Series is about beautiful nights under the stars. (Image: AFF)

Waiting for the sun to go down in Bed-Stuy. (Image: AFF)

Waiting for the sun to go down in Bed-Stuy. (Image: AFF)

The show will start soon at Joyce Kilmer Park in the Bronx. (Image: AFF)

The show will start soon at Joyce Kilmer Park in the Bronx. (Image: AFF)

A seven minute ferry ride gets you to Governors Island for the AFF’s daylong Family Day Celebration. A day of dance classes with world renowned choreographers, storytelling, double-dutch and quilting demonstrations. And through the day African films.

Waiting for the show on Governors Island. (Image: AFF)

Waiting for the show on Governors Island. (Image: AFF)

Governors Island dancers. (Image: AFF)

Governors Island dancers. (Image: AFF)

Getting your groove on with an African beat. (Image: AFF)

Getting your groove on with an African beat. (Image: AFF)

The joy of double-dutch (Image: AFF)

The joy of double-dutch (Image: AFF)

DJ ReBorn looking stunning behind the 1's and 2's. (Image: AFF)

DJ ReBorn looking stunning behind the 1’s and 2’s. (Image: AFF)

AFF film reels