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2009 New African Films Festival

March 19, 2009 @ 2:00 pm - March 25, 2009 @ 2:59 pm

About This Event:

2009 New African Films Festival presented by TransAfrica Forum, afrikafé and AFI Silver are proud to present the fifth annual New African Films Festival. The vibrancy of African filmmaking from all corners of the continent will be on display. This year also includes a selection of classic African films recently restored by the World Cinema Foundation.

AFI Member passes will be accepted at all films in the 2009 New African Films Festival, except the opening night film.


AFI Silver Theatre and Cultural Center

8633 Colesville Road

Silver Spring, MD 20910


Featured Films:


13 MONTHS OF SUNSHINE Thu, Mar 19, 7:30 PM

First-time director Yehdego Abeselom demonstrates a light touch in this drama that explores the tensions between traditional values, cultural identity and the pursuit of one’s dreams. In Los Angeles, Soloman and Hanna enter a marriage of convenience that becomes complicated with intimacy, love, jealousy and a clash of cultural values. A uniquely Ethiopian experience of the American dream. (Note courtesy of British Film Institute) DIR/SCR/PROD Yehdego Abeselom; PROD Jeremiah Lewis. US, 2007, color, 98 min. In Amharic, English and French with English subtitles. NOT RATED

Reception at 6:30, screening at 7:30. Tickets $15 General Admission / $12 AFI Members. No passes accepted.

DIVIZIONZ Fri, Mar 20, 7:00 PM

Four youths from the Kampala slums with dreams of hip-hop stardom band together to form a crew or an open mic night, but must first overcome their prejudices and suspicions of each other based on their different ethnic backgrounds, then a run-in with some government hugs on the way to the big show. Exuberant and energetic lensing and direction from the Yes! That’s Us artist collective make for a fresh and lively viewing, in a film that has traveled far and wide on the festival circuit. DIR Yes! That’s Us; SCR/PROD Donald Mugisha, James Tayler; SCR Baguma Eunice, Kyagulanyi ‘Bobi Wine’ Ssentamu. Uganda/South Africa, 2007, color, 91 min. In Luganda with English subtitles. NOT RATED

TRANSES Fri, Mar 20, 9:00 PM

Ahmed El Maanouni’s 1981 documentary records concerts, interviews and behind-the-scenes glimpses of the pioneering group Nass El Ghiwane, who have been famously described by Martin Scorsese as “the Rolling Stones of North Africa.” Nass El Ghiwane emerged from the impoverished city limits of Casablanca, combining elements of traditional Moroccan music—Sufi chants, Berber rhythms and the mystical dances of the Gnawa—to create a sound all their own, introducing a new generation of North Africans to their roots, and the rest of the world to a musical revolution. (Note courtesy of World Cinema Foundation) DIR/SCR Ahmed El Maanouni; PROD Izza Gennini. Morocco/France, 1981, color, 90 min. In Arabic with English subtitles. NOT RATED

Sat, Mar 21, 5:45 PM

Senegalese director Djibril Diop Mambéty’s 1973 feature debut has been described as a phantasmagoric mash-up of African oral tradition and European New Wave style, as well as one of the greatest African films of all time. A young cowherd, Mory, leaves the countryside for the city of Dakar, where he rides around town on a motorcycle adorned with a cow’s skull. Along with his girlfriend, Anta, he dreams of leaving Dakar for Paris, and the two fall into a series of petty crimes and cons to raise the money. Full of flashbacks, flashforwards, dream sequences and comedic daring, TOUKI BOUKI is a landmark film, and the sparkling new 35mm print was restored by the World Cinema Foundation. DIR/SCR/PROD Djibril Diop Mambéty. Senegal, 1973, color, 85 min. In Wolof, Arabic, and French with English subtitles. NOT RATED


A bold, funny and controversial film directed by the politically explosive Nigerian-Brit filmmaker Ngozi Onwurah. The film’s opening line, “…everything bad that has ever happened to me has involved a black person,” rouses and prepares us for a critically insightful and intellectually charged confrontation of ideological and cultural perspectives that is candidly rendered in this remarkably thought-provoking film. (Note courtesy of AFI 20/20) DIR Ngozi Onwurah; SCR Sharon Foster; PROD Anne Pivcevic. UK, 2006, color, 90 min. NOT RATED

[L’Appel des Arènes] Sat, Mar 21, 10:00 PM

Shamans and punching bags are the cornerstones of 17-year-old Nalla’s training in this colorful foray into the world of Senegalese wrestling, a traditional art that has become a national phenomenon. When Nalla joins a champion team, he learns there’s a spiritual aspect to the sport, one that goes beyond the muscles, money and the ladies. Cheikh Ndiaye’s engaging film twists the familiar images of Africa, cutting from nightclubs to ancestral ceremonies to streets where boom- boxes play and athletes in traditional dress and sneakers dance their way to victory. (Note courtesy of Los Angeles Film Festival) DIR/SCR/PROD Cheikh Ndiaye.

Senegal, 2006, color, 105 min. In Wolof and French with English subtitles. NOT RATED

HARVEST 3000 YEARS [Mirt Sost Shi Amit] Sun, Mar 22, 5:45 PM
Shot under extremely difficult circumstances in Ethiopia during the early 1970s right after the overthrow of Haile Selasse, Haile Gerima’s HARVEST 3000 YEARS gives epic treatment to the lives of Ethiopia’s rural peasantry, their struggles against oppression and quest for justice. A wealthy landowner treats his tenant farmers cruelly, but they are afraid to confront him for fear of losing their livelihood. Only the village “madman” is willing to speak truth to power. DIR/SCR/PROD Haile Gerima. Ethiopia, 1975, b&w, 150 min. In English and Amharic with English subtitles. NOT RATED

KINSHASA PALACE Sun, Mar 22, 8:30 PM

Somewhere between documentary and fiction, helmer Zeka Laplaine’s affecting treatment of his brother’s disappearance, and the family dynamics that may have contributed to his departure, speak volumes about the legacy of an unstable Africa on the micro level. (Note courtesy of Museum of Fine Arts, Boston) DIR/SCR Zeka Laplaine; PROD Michael Krumpe, Kapinga Wa Mbombo. Democratic Republic of Congo/France, 2006, color, 70 min. In French, Khmer, English and Portuguese with English subtitles. NOT RATED

[Paris à Tout Prix] Mon, Mar 23, 7:00 PM

Suzy’s dream is to eave her native Cameroon and settle in Paris. After several dangerous attempts, she manages to reach Paris and begin a new life. However, her lifethere is a long road plagued with obstacles. A realistic film with an inquisitive presentation of immigration, jealousy and sacrifice. (Note courtesy of African Diaspora Film Festival) Cameroon, 2007, color, 118 min. In French with English subtitles. NOT RATED DIR/SCR/PROD Joséphine Ndagnou.

THE CATHEDRAL [La Cathédrale]Mon, Mar 23, 9:30 PM
The Cathedral is a lyrical narration set in the beautiful and unusual setting of Port Louis, capital of Mauritius. Lina, a young woman in search of her identity, interacts daily with friends and family in a carefree, happy manner that will be challenged when one day her dancing catches the eye of a photographer. DIR Harikrishna Anendan; SCR Ananda Devi. Mauritius, 2006, color, 78 min. In Morisyen with English subtitles. NOT RATED

CAPE VERDE, MY LOVE [Cabo Verde nha cretcheu] Tue, Mar 24, 7:00 PM

In Praïa, Cape Verde, Laura, Flavia and Bela have been friends since childhood. Each leads her own life and they sometimes meet to dance, dine and have fun. But one day the calm rivers of their lives break their banks and become wild torrents; Ricardo, Flavia’s husband, rapes his pupil Indira, Laura’s 13-year old eldest daughter. A film that takes a critical look at the lives of women in Cape Verde. DIR/SCR Ana Ramos Lisboa; PROD Elisabeth Mergui-Rampazzo, Henrique Espírito Santo. Portugal/France/Cape Verde, 2007, color, 77 min. In Portuguese with English subtitles. NOT RATED

AWAITING FOR MEN [En attendant les hommes] Tue, Mar 24, 8:45 PM

In the haven of Oualata, a red city on the far edge of the Sahara
desert, three women practice traditional painting by decorating the
walls of the city. In a society apparently dominated by tradition,
religion and men, these women unabashedly express themselves freely,
discussing the relationship between men and women. (Note courtesy of
Film Society of Lincoln Center) DIR/SCR Katy Léna N’Diaye. Belgium, 2007, color, 56 min. In Hassania with English subtitles. NOT RATED

Mansour Sora Wade takes the audience on a fascinating journey
through the world of perfumes, jewels and stratagems that Senegalese women use to captivate their lovers. DIR Mansour Sora Wade. Senegal, 1993, color, 16 min. In French with English subtitles. NOT RATED

HYENAS Wed, Mar 25, 9:15 PM
Mambéty’s second and last feature, HYENAS, adapts a timeless parable of human greed into a biting satire of today’s Africa, where the hopes of independence are betrayed for the empty promises of Western materialism. Linguère Ramatou, a woman “rich as the World Bank” returns to the decaying backwaters of Colobane where she bribes the villagers to kill her former lover, Dramaan. Dramaan had betrayed Ramatou and then cast her out of the village when she became pregnant with his child. Her revenge reveals the hunger for wealth that controls the hearts of the villagers—like hyenas, they ruthlessly feed off the weakness of others. (Note courtesy of Film Society of Lincoln Center)
DIR/SCR Djibril Diop Mambéty, based on the play The Visit by Friedrich

Dürrenmatt; PROD Pierre-Alain Meier, Alain Rozanès. Senegal, 1992, color, 110 min. In Wolof with English subtitles. NOT RATED

For more information call:

202.223.1960 ext. 137                                                       

Or visit the website:      



March 19, 2009 @ 2:00 pm
March 25, 2009 @ 2:59 pm