Viva Riva! Djo Tunda Wa Munga’s fictional feature about the seductive, vibrant, and lawless underbelly of Kinshasa, DRC will be screened as the Centerpiece film of the 18th New York African Film Festival (NYAFF) on 8 April.
The film is a co-production between DRC, France, Belgium and South Africa. Steven Markovitz is the South African co-producer.
The NYAFF is presented by the Film Society of Lincoln Center (FSLC) and African Film Festival, Inc. in celebration of the United Nations International Year of Peoples of African Descent, which serves as the festival’s guiding theme. It runs from 6 to 12 April at The Film Society of Lincoln Center, and throughout April and May at the Museum of Arts and Design, Columbia University’s Institute of African Studies, The Big Screen Project, and the Brooklyn Academy of Music’s BAMcinematek.
Also to be screened is Kinshasa Symphony, the story of the DRC’s only symphony orchestra. Directed by Claus Wischmann and Martin Baer, the film follows the determined members of L’Orchestre Symphonique Kimbanguiste (The Kinshasa Symphony Orchestra) as they overcome coups, chaos and war to celebrate life through the power of music—even creating their own instruments. Armand Diangienda, founder and conductor of the orchestra, will be in attendance to introduce the film.
The festival, which will include 15 features and 16 short films by emerging and veteran filmmakers from 24 countries, will commence with a screening of rare archival footage from the Russian State Archives of both Sierra Leone and Tanzania’s 1961 liberation from the United Kingdom. The NYAFF will include classic and contemporary films, as well as presentations by visual and performing artists paying tribute to historic moments and luminary figures who have been influential in the arts and culture of the Diaspora. On Friday, April 8, director Daniel Cattier’s Kongo – Grand Illusions wil examine the Heart of Africa, which the Democratic Republic of the Congo, situated in the center of the African continent, has long been considered. At the crossroads of Northern, Southern, Eastern, and Western Africa, its cultures seem to pulse in time with the heart of the continent.
“The Camera – a Filmmaker’s Weapon’ featuring those who use the camera to shine light on issues of critical importance to people from across the African Diaspora. Films in this category include One Way, a Tuareg Journey, a child who documents his family’s transition from being nomads of the Sahara to urban Italian residents directed by Fabio Caramaschi and Stolen, unwitting outsiders whose cameras lead them toward a terrible secret about modern-day slavery by directors Violeta Ayala & Daniel Fallshaw.
“Africa – The Next Generation’ depicts the resilience of Africa’s youth in the face of adversities—personal and global, large and small. From the simple act of writing a letter to Santa Claus to bravely facing life with AIDS. These films include: Soul Boy, directed by Hawa Essuman; Africa United, directed by Debs Gardner-Paterson; Ousmane (Deweneti), directed by Dyana Gaye; and Thembi, directed by Jo Menell.