Chuck Davis’ DanceAfrica returns to the Brooklyn Academy of Music during the Memorial Day weekend with live dance presentations, a bazaar of African trinkets, cultural marketplace and an expanded lineup featuring relevant films.
The annual celebration of African and African-American dance, music, and culture — the nation’s first festival devoted to African dance is celebrating 35 years and will feature FilmAfrica, the cinema component to what has become one of the largest celebrations of its kind.
The holiday fest is revered for uniting dancers from various regions throughout the world to celebrate the cultural vitality of Africa and its diaspora.
From May 25 through May 28, BAMcinématek will present this year’s edition of the cinema component of BAM’s longest-running performance series.
This year’s program highlights eight new and classic features from locations worldwide including Algeria, Nigeria, South Africa, Ethiopia and the Democratic Republic of the Congo.
Among the highlights is Akin Omotoso’s “Man on Ground” (2011), screening on May 26.
This stylized crime drama, an official selection in Toronto’s world cinema category in 2011, follows Ade (Hotel Rwanda’s Hakeem Kae-Kazim), a successful banker in London who arrives in Johannesburg to search for his half-brother, Femi, among the refugee camps.
When he discovers Femi is missing, Ade sets out to uncover the truth about his brother’s mysterious disappearance.
Omotoso will appear in person for a Q&A following the 6:50 p.m. screening.
Screening May 28 is a standout selection from the 2012 African Film Festival, Andy Amadi Okoroafor’s directorial debut, “Relentless” (2010—May 28). After years of working in creative advertising, Okoroafor makes his first foray into filmmaking with this urban tale set in Lagos, Nigeria.
Obi, a peacekeeping soldier in Sierra Leone, meets a beautiful woman (renowned Nigerian-German hip-hop and soul singer Nneka) and becomes entranced by her, but an unthinkable tragedy forces him to return home to Lagos, where his midnight wanderings help him reconcile with what has happened. Okoroafor, who also wrote and produced the film, will appear for a Q&A following the 6:50 p.m. screening.
Closing the series on May 28 is a special family screening of animation auteur Michael Ocelot’s “Kirikou and the Sorceress” a 3-D adventure “Tales of the Night” (2011).
This collection of six exotic fairytales travels through faraway lands and times to tell stories of Aztec monsters, talking horses, love-struck werewolves and more.
The 2:00 p.m. and 4:30 p.m. showings of the film will be accompanied by live readings of the subtitles especially for family audiences.
Also screening is the recently re-released apartheid-era classic “Come Back Africa” (1959) May 26 and “Kongo:50 Years of Independence of Congo” (2010) May 27 a three-part series documenting the nation’s colonization through an interesting mix of technique, animation, and archival footage.
Daniel Cattier, who directed the second episode of the series, will appear in person for a Q&A following the 5:00 p.m. screening.
First Lady Of Jamaican Films Hailed
The Caribbean Cultural Theater promised and delivered a day-long feast of films starring Jamaican Leonie Forbes when they hosted a May tribute to the actress.
With Jamaican culinary delights, luminaries and presentations from the offices of the Brooklyn Borough President, the Jamaica Consulate and the NYS Senate and surprise testimonies from guests, the presentation proved a treat for patrons.
According to E. Wayne McDonald, artistic director, the series of films presented not only hailed the actress dubbed Jamaica’s first lady of films but also paid homage to the island’s milestone golden jubilee.
State Senator Nick Perry presented a proclamation to the actress and heaped praises on her for contributing to the film industry.
A collation of Caribbean diaspora cultural organizations — the Caribbean Cultural Theatre, Caribbean Research Center, and Caribbean Tales Worldwide Distribution hosted the event, which offered a conversation with Pat Mckay, program director of The Joint, a reggae channel at Sirius XM Satellite Radio.
Held at the campus of Medgar Evers College, the program celebrated the talent of one of the region’s most acclaimed thespians and also showcased the challenges and opportunities of an emerging Caribbean cinema.
Catch You On The Inside!