Sunday, December 5, 2021

‘Hero’ Opens Thrilling 2019 New York African Film Festival

Joseph Marcell and Nickolai Salcedo in “Hero” at NYAFF.

*Be inspired and entertained at the thrilling citywide 2019  New York African Film Festival (NYAFF).

The Opener at Lincoln Center is on Thursday, May 30 is the U.S. premiere of Frances-Anne Solomon’s feature “Hero,” that is “Inspired by the Extraordinary Life and Times of Mr. Ulric Cross.”

The film, which won the Trinidad and Tobago Film Festival People’s Choice Award in the narrative feature category, tells the story of Cross, the Royal Air Force’s most decorated West Indian of World War II, and his and his fellow West Indians’ lasting impact on world history, including several liberation struggles across Africa.

“Hero” was selected as part of NYAFF’s celebration of the 100th anniversary of the first Pan-African Congress, organized in Paris by W.E.B. Du Bois and Ida Gibbs Hunt in February 1919, when delegates from Africa and the diaspora convened to champion Africa’s self-determination.

“These films help us to celebrate our vibrant cultures, as well as confront the issues that affect our societies, said African Film Festival (AFF) Executive Director and NYAFF Founder Mahen Bonetti. “The stories challenge us to continue thinking about ways to improve our situation and build for the future and that is the magic and power of the cinema.” Genres run the gamut, from dramas to comedy and even horror.

The citywide NYAFF reaches backward into time and forward into the unknown for its 26th edition to center audiences in the present, with cutting-edge films from throughout the ages, films that regale with resplendent tales of all things African. Under the theme “Beyond Borders: Storytelling Across Time,” this year the event launches at the Brooklyn Academy of Music’s BAMcinématek, May 23-27 as part of Dance Africa/Film Africa, then heads to Film at Lincoln Center (FLC), May 30 through June 4, then closes at Maysles Cinema June 6 through 9. The festival includes 68 films of multiple genres from 31 countries, with some films followed by Q&As.

A scene from “The Mercy of the Jungle” at the NYAFF.

Marking the 25th anniversary of the tragic Rwandan genocide of 1994, when between 800,000 and one million lives were lost, is the gripping June 1st Centerpiece film of Rwandan director Joël Karekezi, “The Mercy of the Jungle.”

African Americans here in the U.S. tales are also part of the schedule. Preceding “The Mercy of the Jungle” will be the short “The Letter Carrier,” a haunting, folkloric fairy tale told through original a capella song. The directorial debut of actor-directors Jesse L. Martin (CW‘s “The Flash“)  and Rick Cosnett imagines a black family from Virginia’s Blue Ridge Mountains and the lengths they will go to save themselves from slavery. The Closer on June 4, is the sweeping epic “Sarraounia,” by Med Hondo, who passed away on March 2.

Tickets for Opening Night post-screening reception are available online at africanfilmny.org. For more info and regular tickets, go to filmlinc.org.

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Marie Moorehttp://eurweb.com
Veteran syndicated journalist who covers film and television.

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