31st New York African Film Festival to open with Tolu Ajayi’s ‘Over the Bridge’

Film at Lincoln Center and African Film Festival Inc. have unveiled the lineup for the eagerly awaited 31st New York African Film Festival, according to deadline.com. With more than 50 films representing over 25 countries, the festival promises to be a celebration of African and diaspora filmmakers’ unique storytelling.

Scheduled to run from May 8 to May 14, the festival kicks off with the North American premiere of Over the Bridge, directed by Tolu Ajayi. Set in Lagos, Nigeria, the narrative feature follows Folarin, an investment banker who finds himself questioning his reality after a government project goes awry, leading him to a remote fishing village.

Closing the festival is Dilli Dark, directed by Dibakar Das Roy. This narrative feature explores the multicultural landscape of New Delhi, India, through the eyes of Michael Okeke, a Nigerian MBA student navigating societal prejudices and personal struggles in the bustling city.

From left: ‘Mirah,’ ‘After the Long Rains,’ ‘Fight Like a Girl,’ ‘Dynamite’ and ‘Teacher Don’t Teach Me Nonsense’

According to Roy, Dilli Dark aims to shed light on the universal experience of feeling like an outsider in society, regardless of one’s nationality or background. The film’s protagonist, Michael Okeke, serves as a metaphor for individuals grappling with their identity in a world that often marginalises them.

The festival’s theme, “Convergence of Time,” delves into the intersection of historical and contemporary roles played by individuals from Africa and its diaspora in the realm of art. This theme is exemplified in films such as Fight Like a Girl, a true story depicting a Congolese woman finding empowerment through boxing, and DELA: The Making of El Anatsui, a documentary celebrating the artistic legacy of Ghanaian sculptor El Anatsui.

In addition to film screenings, the festival offers a diverse array of programming, including documentaries, short films and a master class led by veteran independent filmmaker Ngozi Onwurah. The festival aims to honour the rich heritage of African cinema while exploring its relevance in today’s global landscape.

With screenings taking place at the Walter Reade Theater and Elinor Bunin Munroe Film Center at Lincoln Center, the New York African Film Festival continues to be a cornerstone event for cinephiles and cultural enthusiasts alike. As Lesli Klainberg, president of Film at Lincoln Center, emphasises, the festival’s diverse lineup reflects the richness and diversity of filmmaking worldwide, making it a vital platform for showcasing global perspectives.

The 31st New York African Film Festival promises to be an immersive and thought-provoking experience, offering audiences a glimpse into the vibrant tapestry of African cinema and its enduring impact on the world stage.

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