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4 African Diaspora-Interest Films To See At The New Directors/New Films Fest (Starts 3/20)

4 African Diaspora-Interest Films To See At The New Directors/New Films Fest (Starts 3/20)

Starting tomorrow, March 20, 2013, in New York City, the Museum of Modern Art and the Film Society of Lincoln Center presents the 42nd edition of New Directors/New Films festival (March 20 – 31), which is dedicated to the discovery of new works by emerging filmmaking talent.

The festival will screen 25 features (19 narrative, 6 documentary) and 17 short films representing 24 countries – all having their New York City premieres!
Ahead of tomorrow night’s opening, I thought I’d highlight the 4 African Diaspora-interest films that are part of the 25-feature line-up.

1 – First, the Opening Night feature selection is Alexandre Moors’s Blue Caprice, which screens on Wednesday, March 20 at MoMA.

Moors’s debut feature film, which was produced by SimonSays Entertainment, explores gun violence, following two snipers, the elder John and 17-year old Lee, who set out on a shooting spree that is seemingly torn from the front pages. Isaiah Washington and newcomer Tequan Richmond, star in the character-driven drama that’s based on the story of the real-life Beltway (Washington D.C. area) sniper attacks of 2002, perpetrated by John Allen Muhammad, and Lee Boyd Malvo.
2 – From France-based Algerian/Sudanese filmmaker Rachid Djaidani, comes Rengaine (Hold Back), a feature length drama that premiered in the Directors Fortnight and the International Critics Week sections, at last year’s Cannes Film Festival.

Described as a “Paris-set twist on Romeo and Juliet,” Hold Back stars Slimane Dazi as Slimane, the eldest of 40 Arab Muslim brothers to Sabrina (Sabrina Hamida),
a young North African woman. Slimane is disgusted by the rumors of his
sister’s engagement to a Black Christian French man named Dorcy – played
by French actor Stephane Soo Mongo. Naturally, conflict ensues as Slimane begins a frantic search for his sister in Paris. Shot in the streets, this film is part love letter to Paris, part call for interracial tolerance.

3 – From Ivorian filmmaker Lonesome Solo (aka Bamba Souleymane) comes what is being described as “a raw, noir-tinged urban legend set to the cadence of slam poetry and the beat of street dance.

Titled Burn It Up Djassa, the film has been proclaimed a signal of a new artistic film movement in Ivory Coast, one that will “bring back cinema to the street, to the real speak of folk… in the spirit of Italian neorealism or the French New Wave,” as stated by the film’s director. Shot cinema-vérité-style,
the noir-tinged drama was shot in 11 days, and is narrated by a storyteller slam poetry-style. Abdoul Karim Konate stars.

4 – And finally, Danish filmmaker Tobias Lindholm’s feature film, A Hijacking, described as a fascinating window onto the phenomenon of modern piracy
as yet another by-product of the catastrophic economic disparity between
impoverished countries and the “First World.”

Tensions are high
after a Danish freighter is captured and held for ransom by Somali
pirates, leading to weeks of high-stakes negotiations, and an
escalating potential for explosive violence, in this
gritty suspenseful thriller that stars Johan Philip Asbæk, Soren Malling, Dar Salim, and others.

Commenting on this year’s New Directors/New Films lineup, Film Society of Lincoln Center Director of Programming, Robert Koehler said, “This year’s New Directors/New Films filmmakers have demonstrated the kind of daring and innovative approaches to storytelling that exemplifies what ND/NF represents. It will be a great pleasure to introduce many of them to New York audiences for the very first time.

We’ve already reviewed Blue Caprice (Zeba Blay saw it at the Sundance Film Festival in January, and dug it), but I might review it again, as well as the other 3 films on the above list.
Tickets have been on sale to the general public since March 10, 2013. But if you haven’t picked up yours for any of the films that you’d like to see, tickets can be purchased online at, or in person at the box offices of the Film Society of Lincoln Center (Walter Reade Theater, 165 W. 65th Street, north side/upper level, and Elinor Bunin Munroe Film Center, 144 West 65th Street, south side, both between Broadway and Amsterdam) and The Museum of Modern Art (Film Desk and Information Desk, 11 W. 53rd Street, between Fifth & Sixth Avenues).

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