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NY African Film Festival opens, celebrates World Cup and independent Africa


The 17th annual New York African Film Festival (NYAFF) has opened on April 7th celebrating the 50th anniversary of 17 African nations’ independence from colonial rule as well as the freedom that the rise in technology has given African filmmakers to tell their own stories. Among the 13 features and 25 short films from emerging and veteran filmmakers from 18 countries are four soccer films in honor of the World Cup’s first games in Africa opening in June 2010, an animated short program, Focus Features’ Africa First short program and an environmental film.

The festival runs from April 7 through the 13th at The Film Society of Lincoln Center and continues at Columbia University’s Institute for African Studies, 3ten Lounge, New Museum and the Brooklyn Academy of Music BAMcinématek with dates in April and May. Some films showing during the festival include The Absence, directed by Mama Keïta (Senegal/France), Eliane de Latour’s narrative film Beyond the Ocean, winner of the Jury Prize at the Festival des Cinéma du Monde 2009, and Wanuri Kahiu’s Pumzi, which I highlighted here before.

Take a look at the full film schedule.

On Saturday, April 10, a panel discussion will also be held where established and aspiring directors and producers will learn how to craft an attention-getting pitch and utilize social networking tools at “Getting Exposure: Securing the Buzz You Need for Your Film.” The panel takes place at The Film Society of Lincoln Center at 1:30 pm, and is part of  the film festivals “Independent Africa”.

Panelists will include Jennifer Merin, film journalist with and founder of the Alliance of Women Film Journalists; Misani, culture writer for the Amsterdam News; Paul Burani, social media strategist; and Pam Pickens, digital marketing expert. The event, which is open to the public, will be moderated by veteran entertainment publicist and NYAFF’s public relations consultant Cheryl L. Duncan of Cheryl Duncan & Company Inc.

For panel or film tickets, go to

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Liya Kebede stars in Somali supermodel Waris Dirie’s biopic

Supermodel Waris Dirie’s book Desert Flower: The Extraordinary Journey Of A Desert Nomad, published in 1999, helped fuel the open discussion of female genital mutilation in her native Somalia. After spawning two follow-up books, Desert Dawn and Desert Children, the original book is now premiering as a feature film starring another supermodel, Ethiopian Liya Kebede. Watch the trailer for the new movie “Desert Flower (“Wüstenblume” )” below. More about the movie here.

If the video is not visible below click here.

(via Africa_Visual_Media)

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Vanity Fair’s Africa issue debuts

Iman Alicia Keys Vanity FairJune07coverJayZ George Clooney Vanity FairJune07cover

The Bono-edited July 2007 issue of Vanity Fair, dubbed the “Africa issue”, has hit stands. What an issue this is. With 20 covers photographed by Vanity Fair’s go-to photographer, Annie Leibovitz , and insight on Africa from EVERYONE from Jay-Z, Iman, Djimon Hounsou, Desmond Tutu, Chris Rock, Madonna, Barack Obama, and Queen Rania of Jordan among others, this issue is a great effort on the part of Vanity Fair. Get a copy, read the articles, and let me know your views. Props to YG for the heads up and images.

As you read this—historic—issue of Vanity Fair, the Global Fund is benefiting, but that’s not the main reason we kidnapped this publication’s extraordinary photographers and storytellers. We needed help in describing the continent of Africa as an opportunity, as an adventure, not a burden. Our habit—and we have to kick it—is to reduce this mesmerizing, entrepreneurial, dynamic continent of 53 diverse countries to a hopeless deathbed of war, disease, and corruption. Binyavanga Wainaina’s piece on Kenya is an eye- and mind-opener. From here, what’s needed is a leg up, not a handout. Targeted debt cancellation and aid mean 20 million more African kids are in school, 1.3 million Africans are on lifesaving drugs. Amazing. -from Bono’s guest editor’s letter

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Africa’s next chapter convenes at TEDGlobal 2007

Chris Anderson and Emeka Okafor at TEDGlobalOne of the most important events for Africa’s technology, entertainment, and design industry development, TEDGlobal 2007, is in full swing in Arusha, Tanzania. Coming from vacation I have been reinvigorated by all the developments coming out of this seminal event. Now in it’s 3rd day, the conference has already given me more than enough insight into innovative ideas behind Africa’s next chapter. With all the information and idea sharing at this event, the African blogosphere is sure to be fueled for a long time to come. Below are some important resources for keeping up to date with the happenings in Tanzania. I’ll be watching and listening closely as I hope you all are.

Live updates:
Soyapi Mumba is Twittering TEDGlobal
Ethan Zuckerman of My Heart’s in Accra is live-blogging

Other bloggers at TEDGlobal 2007:
TEDFellow Erik Hersman, of White African
TEDFellow Rafiq Phillips at WebAddiCT
David McQueen
Africa Beat, by Jennifer Brea
Mental Acrobatics
TEDFellow Mweshi
TEDFellow Fran Osseo-Asare, of Betumi: The African Food Network
TEDFellow Soyapi Mumba
TEDFellow Ramon Thomas, of NETucation
Ndesanjo Macha, who writes Digital Africa, in English, and Jikomboe, in Swahili
Ellen Horne at Radio Lab in Tanzania
Sam Ritchie
Harinjaka (in French)
Kenyan Pundit, by TED Conference speaker and blogger Ory Okolloh
Timbuktu Chronicles, by TEDGlobal conference director Emeka Okafor
and of course you can get official updates at the TED blog site

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Africans on TIME’s 100 most influential people list

May 3rd, 2007 | 2 Comments | Posted in Business, Charity, General, Music, Politics, Religion, Technology

Youssou Ndour TIME influentials 2007TIME magazine has released it’s annual picks of the 100 most influential men and women whose power, talent or moral example is transforming the world. The list is broken up into groups of Artists & Entertainers, Scientists & Thinkers, Leaders & Revolutionaries, Builders & Titans, Heroes & Pioneers. Here are the Africans who made TIME 100 most influential people list. The African country represented and the categories they appear in are in parentheses.

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