New York African Film Festival Opens May 16th

Mahen Bonette credit: Francoise Bouffault

The 25th New York African Film Festival will run May 16-22 at the Film Society Of Lincoln Center. The theme this year is “25 Years Of The New York African Film Festival” which will pay tribute to pioneers of African cinema and the new generation. The event will also commemorate South African Freedom Fighter and national leader Nelson Mandela with a litany of films from his homeland. The month-long festival will showcase 66 films from 25 countries at FSLC, the Brooklyn Academy of Music’s Bamcinématek and Maysles Cinema in Harlem. 

NYAFF founder and executive director Mahen Bonetti spoke about the new era in African cinema in a press release: 

“Since the founding of the New York African Film Festival, African cinema has moved beyond the art house and become the lingua franca of Africa and its diaspora. From Nigeria to South Africa and Brazil, regional film industries are breaking down the artificial demarcations of the colonial era. For this 25th milestone, the festival is proud to showcase this new wave of a borderless cinema, which uses the tactility and immediacy of storytelling to offer audiences opportunities to imagine other futures for Africa and its diaspora.”

The opening night will put Appolline Traoré’s film Borders in the spotlight. The feature speaks to the issue of migration, African women’s struggles and an echo of the #MeToo Movement. Four women in the movie travel from Mali to Nigeria and support each other while battling sexism and corruption. The film won three prizes at FESPACO including the Paul Robeson prize for best film by a director from the diaspora. Borders will screen with a short film dedicated to the memory of Burkinabé director Idrissa Ouedraogo, who passed away in February and was a mentor to Traoré. A fundraising gala will follow the screening. Tickets for the film and Opening Night Gala are $200 and are available online at and