The arts in the United States have been experiencing quite precarious times with the looming threat of reduced federal funding. However, this hasn’t stopped organizations from continuing to display ambitious and defiant work by courageous artists who are aptly reacting to the times. This year’s 24th New York African Film Festival (NYAFF) presented by the Film Society of Lincoln Center and African Film Festival is no different, with the theme “The Peoples’ Revolution.” The NYAFF says this theme “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.”
This year’s film festival gives space to young and talented filmmakers from Africa and the diaspora sharing both fictional stories and plots based on real events and people. Kicking off the festival on May 3 at the Walter Reade Theater is Vaya, directed by South African director Akin Omotoso, who won the Special Jury Prize for Outstanding Film at the 2016 Africa International Film Festival (AFRIFF) and the Best Screenplay prize at Africa Magic Viewer’s Choice Awards in 2017. Also in the mix is the first animated documentary from Libya. NYAFF lasts from May 3-9 but the screenings continue at other New York institutions including Lehman College in the Bronx, Maysles Cinema in Harlem and end at the Brooklyn Academy of Music (BAMcinématek) in conjunction with the popular dance and music festival DanceAfrica.