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Our Picks For The 2012 NY African Diaspora Film Festival

Our pick of five must-see films at the 2012 New York African Diaspora Film Festival (ADIFF).


The 20th annual NY African Diaspora Film Festival opens on Friday, 23rd November. Although the bulk of the selection deals with African-American and Caribbean experience, there are a number of intriguing offerings from the continent. Here's our list of five must-see films from this year's festival:

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Doctor Bello is the latest product of the much-feted marriage between Nollywood and Hollywood (the last offspring of this coupling was 2011’s Black Gold). From the looks of this trailer, director Tony Abulu weds a number of tropes from both industries. The film boasts the sort of improbable plot for which Nollywood is beloved (a cure for cancer in the Idanre Hills? who knew!) while the entire story set in motion by the need to save a blue-eyed child from death’s yawning maw: quintessential Hollywood.  Doctor Bello is being marketed as offering the Nigerian film industry ‘hope’ by helping its stars cross over, but don’t buy into the Hollywood-as-promised-land hype: Nollywood is the second largest employer in Nigeria, the third largest film industry in the world and has a subversive ‘indie’ scene all of its own. That said, I’m going to see it, if only to watch the inimitable Genevieve Nnaji on a big screen. Doctor Bello opens the festival this Friday 23rd November, and has its Nigerian premiere on Sunday 25th November at the Eko Convention Centre, VI, Lagos.

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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.

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If you haven’t seen Moussa Touré’s film Toubab Bi (1992), 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.”

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Strictly speaking, this film’s events take place in the Caribbean, but now that Haiti is officially part of the African Union it stands. Directed by Philippe Niang, Touissaint l'Ouverture is a two-part movie which dramatises the events of the Haitian revolution. The film has caused a sensation on the festival circuit winning a slew of awards at the 2012 Trinidad and Tobago Film Festival and the LA Pan African Film Festival. Starring Jimmy Jean-Louis alongside Aïssa Maïga (of Bamako fame) Touissaint is noteworthy not just for providing black actors starring roles in a costume drama (usually a remarkably white genre), but also for foregrounding the often-sidestepped Haitian Revolution, a carefully strategised revolt of enslaved people which established Haiti as the first independent black nation in the New World. Don’t miss this one: it plays on December 1st and 2nd.

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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.

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Artwork: Barthélémy Toguo Lockdown Selfportrait 10, 2020. Courtesy Galerie Lelong & Co

1-54 Contemporary African Art Fair Goes to Paris in 2021

The longstanding celebration of African art will be hosted by Parisian hot spot Christie's for the first time ever.

In admittedly unideal circumstances, 1-54 Contemporary African Art Fair will be touching French soil in 2021. The internationally celebrated art fair devoted to contemporary art from Africa and the African diaspora will be hosted in Paris, France from January 20 - 23. With COVID-19 still having its way around the globe, finding new ways to connect is what it's all about and 1-54 is certainly taking the innovative steps to keep African art alive and well.
In partnership with Christie's, the in-person exhibits will take place at the auction house's city HQ at Avenue Matignon, while 20 international exhibitors will be featured online at Christies.com. And the fun doesn't stop there as the collaboration has brought in new ways to admire the talent from participating galleries from across Africa and Europe. The fair's multi-disciplinary program of talks, screenings, performances, workshops, and readings are set to excite and entice revelers.

Artwork: Delphine Desane Deep Sorrow, 2020. Courtesy Luce Gallery


The tech dependant program, curated by Le 18, a multi-disciplinary art space in Marrakech medina, will see events take place during the Parisian run fair, followed by more throughout February.
This year's 1-54 online will be accessible to global visitors virtually, following the success of the 2019's fair in New York City and London in 2020. In the wake of COVID-19 related regulations and public guidelines, 1-54 in collaboration with Christie's Paris is in compliance with all national regulations, strict sanitary measures, and security.

Artwork: Cristiano Mongovo Murmurantes Acrilico Sobre Tela 190x200cm 2019


1-54 founding director Touria El Glaoui commented, "Whilst we're sad not to be able to go ahead with the fourth edition of 1-54 Marrakech in February as hoped, we are incredibly excited to have the opportunity to be in Paris this January with our first-ever fair on French soil thanks to our dedicated partners Christie's. 1-54's vision has always been to promote vibrant and dynamic contemporary art from a diverse set of African perspectives and bring it to new audiences, and what better way of doing so than to launch an edition somewhere completely new. Thanks to the special Season of African Culture in France, 2021 is already set to be a great year for African art in the country so we are excited to be playing our part and look forward, all being well, to welcoming our French friends to Christie's and many more from around the world to our online fair in January."

Julien Pradels, General Director of Christie's France, said, "Christie's is delighted to announce our second collaboration with 1-54, the Contemporary African Art Fair, following a successful edition in London this October. Paris, with its strong links to the continent, is a perfect place for such a project and the additional context of the delayed Saison Africa 2020 makes this partnership all the more special. We hope this collaboration will prove a meaningful platform for the vibrant African art scene and we are confident that collectors will be as enthusiastic to see the works presented, as we are."


Artwork: Kwesi Botchway Metamorphose in July, 2020. Courtesy of the artist and Gallery 1957


Here's a list of participating galleries to be on the lookout for:

Galleries

31 PROJECT (Paris, France)
50 Golborne (London, United Kingdom)
Dominique Fiat (Paris, France)
Galerie 127 (Marrakech, Morocco)
Galerie Anne de Villepoix (Paris, France)
Galerie Cécile Fakhoury (Abidjan, Côte d'Ivoire/ Dakar, Senegal)
Galerie Eric Dupont (Paris, France)
Galerie Lelong & Co. (Paris, France / New York, USA)
Galerie Nathalie Obadia (Paris, France / Brussels, Belgium)
Galleria Continua (Beijing, China / Havana, Cuba / Les Moulins, France / San Gimignano, Italy / Rome, Italy)
Gallery 1957 (Accra, Ghana / London, United Kingdom)
Loft Art Gallery (Casablanca, Morocco)

Luce Gallery (Turin, Italy)
MAGNIN-A (Paris, France)
Nil Gallery (Paris, France)
POLARTICS (Lagos, Nigeria)
SEPTIEME Gallery (Paris, France)
This is Not a White Cube (Luanda, Angola) THK Gallery (Cape Town, South Africa) Wilde (Geneva, Switzerland)

For more info visit 1-54

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