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African Film Festival, Inc. Launches AFF Digital Streaming Service and Film Archives

A scene from The African Who Wanted to Fly 
by Samantha Biffot, now available on AFF Digital

African Film Festival, Inc. (AFF), the premier U.S. presenter of African cinema, has unveiled its new streaming platform and digital archives at its online home, The portal to the Continent includes more than 800 profiles of directors from across the diaspora, from veterans like Ousmane Sembène, Safi Faye, Souleymane Cissé and Tunde Kelani to emerging talents like Mamadou Dia, Nuotama Bodomo, Abba Makama and Mariama Diallo as well as more than 1,000 film profiles, and interviews, articles, reviews, photographs and more. The New York City-based organization — currently celebrating its 30th anniversary — has also launched AFF Digital, the organization’s new streaming service offering a curated selection of films.

“This challenging, paradoxical moment we find ourselves in forces us to be apart, while we find ourselves more connected and plugged in to the incredible talent in the diaspora more than ever,” said AFF Founder Mahen Bonetti, a long-time champion of African cinema. “The pause in our programming has allowed us to realize a long-held desire to bring online our treasure trove of never-before-seen content as a resource for creatives, scholars and laypersons yearning for African culture, and to add something significant to the virtual conversation.

The site’s archives include highlights of 26 years of AFF’s signature program, the New York African Film Festival (NYAFF), with star-studded opening nights, panel discussions, filmmaker interviews and more, featuring the likes of entertainer Harry Belafonte; writer Wole Soyinka; actors Danny Glover, Lauren Hutton and Iman and the late Ossie Davis and Ruby Dee; and musicians Salif Keita and the late Hugh Masekela.

The new streaming platform AFF Digital kicks off with Alexander the Great Stole My Nose (Channel Surfing) by Lion Ayodele and Mbas mi by Joseph Gaï Ramaka (which depicts an episode in Albert Camus’ The Plague, refashioned as an expression of the universal) in a program titled Two Artists Respond to the Times. In addition, audience favorites such as the feature documentary The African Who Wanted to Fly by Samantha Biffot, and the short films Meokgo and the Stick Fighter by Teboho Mahlatsi, Hello, Rain by C.J. Obasi and dancedance/RE♦VOLUTION by Mark Freeman will also be a part of the inaugural slate. The service is free until September 30, after which a nominal fee will be charged. Films featured will be changed frequently.

The new site’s store offers a collection of a popular feature from its former site, DVDs of African and diasporic film classics such as Paulin Vieyra and Mamadou Sarr’s Afrique Sur Siene, Euzhan Palcy’s Sugar Cane Alley, Sembène’s Black Girl, Charles Burnett’s Killer of Sheep and Oliver Schmitz’s Mapantsula. More than 50 films are available for purchase for one’s home collection.

Bonetti created the reimagined site along with AFF Program Manager Dara Ojugbele, AFF Office Manager Colleen Ndemeh Fitzgerald, Marketing Consultant Tafadzwa Chiriga and Web Designer Zainab Aliyu. The organization will continue to release footage of interviews, articles, reviews and feature and short films as it digitizes additional materials throughout the year and beyond.

The new site is made possible with the generous support of Communities of Color Nonprofit Stabilization Fund and the New York Community Trust. AFF programs are supported by the National Endowment for the Arts, New York State Council on the Arts, New York City Department of Cultural Affairs, Mayor’s Office of Media and Entertainment, Bradley Family Foundation, the Andy Warhol Foundation for the Visual Arts, the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences, Domenico Paulon Foundation, the Organisation Internationale de la Francophonie, NYC & Company, Cultural Services of the French Embassy, Manhattan Portage, City Bakery, Black Hawk Imports, Essentia Water, South African Consulate General, National Film and Video Foundation, Motion Picture Enterprises, Inc., Paso Almonds, Isokan Collective, Hudson Hotel and Royal Air Maroc.

For more information, visit or follow is on social media on Facebook (@africanfilmny), Twitter (@AfricanFilmFest) or Instagram (@AfricanFilmFest).

About the Author

New York Trend is a weekly news publication that focuses on issues and lifestyles of the African & Caribbean American communities throughout the New York metropolitan area and Nassau and Suffolk Counties of Long Island. It is a respected and well recognized news publication that has been in existence since 1989. Owner, Publisher and Executive Director, Dr. Teresa Taylor Williams has been at the helm of this award-winning publication since its inception. New York Trend continues to be the only black woman-owned, metropolitan newspaper in New York and Long island. New York Trend is the largest black-owned newspaper throughout Nassau and Suffolk counties.

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