My Picks For The 2012 NY African Diaspora Film Festival

Here’s my list of three must-see  films from the  20th annual NY African Diaspora Film Festival

The United States of Africa has been on our radar for a while. Filmmaker Yanick Letourneau follows Senegalese hip hop artist and activist Didier Awadi as he travels through Burkina Faso, France, Senegal, South Africa and the United States completing a string of collaborations with artists including Zulu BoyM1 of Dead Prez, and Smokey for his conceptual album Présidents d’Afrique. Check out our preview of the film and interview with the filmmaker here

Promising ‘restoration’ and ‘redemption’, South African film Hopeville (dir. John Trengove) tells the story of recovering alcoholic Amos, who wants to repair his relationship with his son and society. The trailer suggests a quiet slow-burner, that is until the 20 second mark when any wishful comparison with father/son and pool-based film A Screaming Man dissipates (watch it on Netflix). One minute and 20 seconds in, and things are starting to turn around for Amos, although all the ‘One man’s courage’ stuff invites an unflattering comparison with The Pursuit of Happyness. But perhaps that’s just the trailer; let’s trust the good people at the Rose d’Or Festival who gave the television show on which the film is based awards for Best Drama and Mini Series.

If you haven’t seen Moussa Touré’s film Toubab Bi, a comedy of post-colonial estrangement and a Paris porn shop, then treat yourself and watch it on the African Film Library website. Since then, Touré has made fifteen documentary films but La Pirogue (2011) is the Senegalese filmmaker’s latest feature: a sea epic that tells the story of 30 people making the journey from Dakar to Spain by boat. Contemporary artists including Isaac Julien and Berni Searle have made thoughtful work about migration across the perilous Strait, but it’s the headlines that prevail in popular memory – Britain’s Nick Griffin telling the European Parliament to ‘sink several of those boats’, the 63 travellers left to die of hunger and thirst in 2011, and the anti-immigration prattle. Touré has said that his work addresses the dearth of realistic representations of migration to Europe, while the film was inspired by the question of why young people are leaving Dakar. The answers promise to be beautifully-shot and lyrical, if hard to swallow: ‘What’s there left to do here? We can’t even see the horizon anymore.”

info from okayafrica

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