The Maysles Cinema and HBO Documentary Films Present Summer of Music: Mavis!

Monday, July 25th, 6:00pm
The Maysles Cinema and HBO Documentary Films Present

Summer of Music: Mavis!
(Outdoor Free Live Music and Documentaries)

6:00pm-8:30pm
Live Music Tribute to Mavis Staples, The Staples Singers and Stax Records
with DJ Stormin’ Norman and the NYCHA Youth Choir

8:30-10:00pm
Mavis!

Jessica Edwards, 2016, 80 min.
The first feature-length documentary on gospel/soul music legend and civil rights icon Mavis Staples and her family group, the Staple Singers. From the delta-inflected gospel sound she helped pioneer in the 1950s, to the “message songs”of the civil rights era marching beside Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., to massive hits such as “I’ll Take You There” in the soul-filled Stax era, to collaborations with Prince in the ‘80s, and her recent Grammy-winning work with Wilco’s Jeff Tweedy, Mavis Staples is one of the most influential and enduring vocalists of our time and a true American icon. Director Jessica Edwards entwines archival material, newly filmed interviews and live performances to create a cinematic portrait quite capable of converting the uninitiated into acolytes, and elevating casual interest to flood-tide levels of respect and affection.

One of the best music documentaries of this decade. — Paste Magazine

Among a collection of stand-out biographies that premiered at South by Southwest, Mavis! was the feel-good star, a story of survival, family, change and adapting to it. — Billboard

A spirited and captivating bio-doc that richly deserves the exclamation point in its title.
— Variety

An expansive and inspiring portrait of singer and civil rights pioneer Mavis Staples.
— Washington Post

SXSW 2015 – Talk of the festival — New York Times

 

An Open Letter to NYC: La Tierria de Adioses

(Preceded by a quartet of short documentary films from three first-generation young women filmmakers from the Maysles Documentary Center.)

Missing Question Mark
Vicky Lee, 2015, 7 min

How To Be Bad
Vicky Lee, 2016, 7 min

En El Barrio
Kati Perez, 2015, 3 min

Union
Malaku Santiago and Savio Zigbi-Johnson, 2013, 7 min

 

La Tierra de Los Adioses
Stefani Saintonge, 2014, 28 min.
Zapotitlán Palmas, a small mountainous community in the south of Mexico, where 50% of the residents (80% of the men) have migrated to the United States. Engulfed in a culture of migration, the women and children left behind continue their lives missing their loved ones on the other side.

 
 

Seventh Grade
Stefani Saintonge, 2014, 11 min
Everyone is growing up except Patrice. But when a raunchy rumor threatens her best friend’s reputation, she’s forced to join the party and embrace adolescence.

 
 

Q&A with Director Stefani Saintonge, and emerging young filmmaker Vicky Lee, and reception with Haitian food to follow screening.

Stefani Saintonge is a Haitian-American filmmaker and educator. In 2014, she won the ESSENCE Black Women in Hollywood Discovery Award for her short film, Seventh Grade and her documentary, La Tierra de los Adioses, won Best Latin American Short Documentary at the Festival Internacional de Cine en el Desierto. Her work, which focuses on women, youth and immigration, has screened at several festivals in the US and abroad. She is a recipient of the Jerome Foundation Film and Video Grant, and she works as an educator and adjunct professor in New York. She holds an MFA in Documentary Film Studies and Production.



This program is part of An Open Letter to NYC:
Immigrant Documentary Filmmakers and Their Films

Starting with the periods before, during, between, and after the two world wars through to the present day, the American film industry would not exist without the immigrant filmmaker. In fact all contemporary American art and media, including the current documentary renaissance, is enlivened by and rooted in the modern immigrant experience. An Open Letter takes stock in immigrant, refugee and expatriate documentary filmmakers and/or documentary films about immigration and pays special attention to filmmakers from dominant and emerging NYC populations including those of Caribbean, Eastern European, Latin American, South and East Asian, Middle Eastern and West African descent. Programmed by Jessica Green and Edo Choi.

This series is supported by New York City’s Department of Cultural Affairs (DCLA) as part of the 2016 Immigrant Cultural Initiative.

 

An Open Letter to NYC: We Were So Beloved

Manfred Kirchheimer, 1986, 145 min

Between 1933 and 1941 thousands of Jews fled Nazi Germany and Austria for America. Leaving behind brothers, sisters and parents, more than 20,000 of them came together in Washington Heights in New York City. Here, for the first time, they lived among Jews. While horrific reports trickled in from the camps, the emigrants cooperated to build their new society.
Like Shoah and The Sorrow and the PityWe Were So Beloved uses gripping personal testimony to examine the complex emotional and philosophical implications of the survival of the Jews of Washington Heights.

Manfred Kirchheimer, born in 1931 in Germany, came to the US in 1936 when his family fled the Nazis. He studied film at Hans Richter’s Institute of Film Techniques of the City College and spent 24 years in the NY film industry as an editor, director, and cameraman, editing over 300 films for the documentary departments of American television networks, with subjects ranging from cultural programming such as Leonard Bernstein in Venice, for CBS to biography for Time-Life Films as in Krushchev RemembersStations of the Elevated (1980) and We Were So Beloved(1986) are Kirchheimer’s most celebrated films. Stations, featured at the New York Film Festival, is a lyrical documentary that follows elevated subway trains that are illicitly painted by early proto-graffiti artists. Other films include Colossus on the River (1963), Haiku (1965), Leroy Douglas (1967), Claw (1968), Short Circuit (1973), Bridge High (1975), Tall: The American Skyscraper andLouis Sullivan (2004), SprayMasters (2008), and Art is…The Permanent Revolution (2012). He was just awarded the prestigious 2016 Guggenheim Award in Film and Video.

Q&A with Manfred Kirchheimer and reception with foods from Washington Heights to follow screening.

This program is part of An Open Letter to NYC:
Immigrant Documentary Filmmakers and Their Films

Starting with the periods before, during, between, and after the two world wars through to the present day, the American film industry would not exist without the immigrant filmmaker. In fact all contemporary American art and media, including the current documentary renaissance, is enlivened by and rooted in the modern immigrant experience. An Open Letter takes stock in immigrant, refugee and expatriate documentary filmmakers and/or documentary films about immigration and pays special attention to filmmakers from dominant and emerging NYC populations including those of Caribbean, Eastern European, Latin American, South and East Asian, Middle Eastern and West African descent. Programmed by Jessica Green and Edo Choi.



This series is supported by New York City’s Department of Cultural Affairs (DCLA) as part of the 2016 Immigrant Cultural Initiative.

 

German Jewish refugees from Nazi Germany tell about their experiences under Hitler, fleeing to America, and building a new community here. They are asked about their attitudes towards recent immigrants.

An Open Letter to NYC: Tonita's

AA Prince from Outer Space: Zeki Muren
Beyza Boyacioglu, Teaser, 5 min
A Prince from Outer Space: Zeki Müren is a work-in-progress feature length documentary about Turkey’s beloved queer pop legend Zeki Müren. 20 years after his death, cross-dressing nightclub star Zeki Müren is still considered a national hero in Turkey and remembered fondly by people from all walks of life. The film follows the historical trajectory of Müren’s rise as ‘Turkey’s sun of art’ through interviews and archival footage. When the film turns its lens to contemporary Turkey, Müren’s ghosts reveal an ongoing story about Turkey’s modernization project and the LGBTQ movement.

 

Zeki Muren Hotline
Beyza Boyacioglu, work-in-progress, 15 min
Zeki Müren Hotline accompanies the feature length film as an oral history project and collects everyday people’s memories and ideas about Müren by using a telephone line and its accompanying website. After being launched in January, the line received more than 700 messages — most of them addressing Müren himself.

 

Juncos Brooklyn
Sebastian Diaz, work-in-progress, 12 min
Juncos Brooklyn is an experimental documentary looking at strong and loose connections between New York City and Puerto Rico, specifically between the neighborhood of Williamsburg, Brooklyn and the village of Juncos, Puerto Rico which have a direct connection via migration.

The film explores the idiosyncrasy of the Junqueños by observing two long-running social centers: Pabón mini market in Juncos, where regulars hang out to drink beer, making a defacto bar; and the Caribbean Sports Club in Brooklyn, where owner Maria Toñita maintains the only remaining social club in a rapidly gentrifying neighborhood that was once predominantly Puerto Rican.

The film swings freely between Juncos and Brooklyn by using people or things that serve as transitions (sounds, a pothole, the sky, people dancing), creating comparisons that reveal the strong bond between the two places. The juxtaposition of postcards from a calm and provincial village next to those of a hectic urban neighborhood, raise questions about migration, adaptation and identity.

The observational and poetic footage follows two characters that serve as the main threads to this amorphous narrative: Maria Toñita who travels to Juncos after over three years to reunite with her daughter and grandson; and Sylvia, the owner of Pabón market who once had a successful bodega in Williamsburg, Brooklyn but left back to her hometown after a traumatic robbery.

 

 

 

Toñita’s
Sebastian Diaz, Beyza Boyacioglu, 2014, 21 min
Toñita’s is a portrait of the last Puerto Rican social club in South Williamsburg, Brooklyn. The short documentary dives into the microcosm of Caribbean Club (also fondly labeled ‘Toñita’s’ after its owner Maria Toñita), in order to talk about urban space, displacement and identity. The film zigzags between nightlife and daytime activities at the club, and the testimonies of its regulars. Music and dance constitute a crucial part of the film as Toñita’s is a love letter to Nuyorican culture. When the club scenes are interrupted with interviews, each testimony touches upon a specific issue, such as the history of the neighborhood, gentrification, Nuyorican music and dance, and Puerto Rican identity. The interviews paint a complicated picture of the neighborhood and the local community. Caribbean Club regulars confront the new South Side with mixed feelings, as they also reveal a sweet-sour relationship with the past. A recurring subject in the interviews is the owner Toñita, the matriarch of the community, devoted to keep the club open “until she falls”.

Toñita’s is produced at 2013 UnionDocs Collaborative Studio and is a part of UnionDocs’ Living Los Sures project. This multi-faceted project restores Diego Echeverria’s 1984 film Los Sures, makes it accessible to audiences online, remixes local histories through a web documentary platform, and reinvestigates Southside of Williamsburg, Brooklyn today through a collection of short films.

Toñita’s is a documentary portrait of the Puerto Rican community and Nuyorican culture in Brooklyn, through the last remaining Puerto Rican social club in South Williamsburg, its owner Maria Toñita and its colorful regulars.

 

 

 


Q&A with Sebastian Diaz and Beyza Boyacioglu followed by reception with Puerto Rican, Mexican and Turkish culinary delights.

 

This program is part of An Open Letter to NYC:
Immigrant Documentary Filmmakers and Their Films

Starting with the periods before, during, between, and after the two world wars through to the present day, the American film industry would not exist without the immigrant filmmaker. In fact all contemporary American art and media, including the current documentary renaissance, is enlivened by and rooted in the modern immigrant experience. An Open Letter takes stock in immigrant, refugee and expatriate documentary filmmakers and/or documentary films about immigration and pays special attention to filmmakers from dominant and emerging NYC populations including those of Caribbean, Eastern European, Latin American, South and East Asian, Middle Eastern and West African descent. Programmed by Jessica Green and Edo Choi.

This series is supported by New York City’s Department of Cultural Affairs (DCLA) as part of the 2016 Immigrant Cultural Initiative.

 

An Open Letter to NYC: Documented

Jose Antonio Vargas, 2013, 90 min
In 2011, Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist Jose Antonio Vargas outed himself as an undocumented immigrant in the New York Times Magazine. Documented chronicles his journey to America from the Philippines as a child; his journey through America as an immigration reform activist/provocateur; and his journey inward as he re-connects with his mother, whom he hasn’t seen in 20 years.

Q&A with producer and editor of Documented, Sabrina Schmidt Gordon followed by reception with Haitian food.

Sabrina Schmidt Gordon is a Haitian-American documentary filmmaker with over 17 years experience in all aspects of production, from research and development, to producing, editing and directing. Her editing debut won an Emmy for WGBH’s Greater Boston Arts series, and she has continued to distinguish herself as a producer and editor on numerous award-winning films, TV programs and web series. She is the co-director of BaddDDD Sonia Sanchez,”Winner of Best Documentary Directed by a Woman of Color,” ADIFF.


This program is part of An Open Letter to NYC:
Immigrant Documentary Filmmakers and Their Films

Starting with the periods before, during, between, and after the two world wars through to the present day, the American film industry would not exist without the immigrant filmmaker. In fact all contemporary American art and media, including the current documentary renaissance, is enlivened by and rooted in the modern immigrant experience. An Open Letter takes stock in immigrant, refugee and expatriate documentary filmmakers and/or documentary films about immigration and pays special attention to filmmakers from dominant and emerging NYC populations including those of Caribbean, Eastern European, Latin American, South and East Asian, Middle Eastern and West African descent. Programmed by Jessica Green and Edo Choi.

This series is supported by New York City’s Department of Cultural Affairs (DCLA) as part of the 2016 Immigrant Cultural Initiative.

 

Maysles Cinema Mondays at Nowadays

 

                                         Maysles Cinema Mondays at Nowadays
                                         56-06 Cooper Ave, Ridgewood, Queens

Monday, June 20th, Sundown
Muhammad and Larry
Introduced by Producer Laura Coxson



Albert Maysles, David Maysles, Bradley Kaplan, 2009, 52 min
In October of 1980 Muhammad Ali was preparing to fight for an unprecedented fourth heavyweight title against his friend and former sparring partner Larry Holmes. To say that the great Ali was in the twilight of his career would be generous; most of his admiring fans, friends and fight scribes considered his bravado delusional. What was left for him to prove?

In the weeks of training before the fight, documentarians Albert and David Maysles took an intimate look at Ali trying to convince the world and perhaps himself, that he was still “The Greatest.” At the same time, they documented the mild-mannered and undervalued champion Holmes as he confidently prepared to put an end to the career of a man for whom he had an abiding and deep affection.

Here for the first time is the unseen build up to that fight, accompanied by freshly shot interviews by Albert Maysles with members from both the Ali and Holmes camps, as well as others who were prime witnesses to this poignant foolhardy attempt at courage.

 
 

Monday, June 27th, Sundown (**RESCHEDULED FOR MONDAY, SEPTEMBER 12TH AT SUNDOWN DUE TO RAIN**)
Hawaiian: The Legend of Eddie Aikau
Screening to be preceded by a traditional Hawaiian chant and dance performance.

Sam George, 2013, 100 min
Hawaiian: The Legend of Eddie Aikau examines the legacy of the fearless big wave surfer and first-ever North Shore lifeguard beyond inspiring one of surfing’s most famous catchphrases, “Eddie Would Go.” Through interviews, reenactments and dynamic historical footage, professional-surfer-turned-filmmaker Sam George uncovers Aikau’s little-known personal and family history and finds a compelling allegory for the reclaiming of Hawaiian culture. Narrated by Josh Brolin and produced by Stacy Peralta.


Monday, July 11th, Sundown
Stretch and Bobbito

Bobbito Garcia, 2015, 95 min
During the 1990s, Stretch and Bobbito introduced the world to an unsigned Nas, Biggie, Wu-Tang, and Big Pun as well as an unknown Jay-Z, Eminem, and the Fugees. The total record sales for all the artists that premiered on their radio show exceed 300 million. The late night program had a cult following in the art/fashion world and prison population as well. All would loyally tune in for the humor just as much for the exclusive tunes. Stretch and Bobbito brought a unique audience together, and created a platform that changed music forever.

 

 



Monday, July 18th, Sundown
Monterey Pop
Introduced by Director D.A. Pennebaker

D.A. Pennebaker, 1968, 78 min
On a beautiful June weekend in 1967, at the height of the Summer of Love, the first and only Monterey International Pop Festival roared forward, capturing a decade’s spirit and ushering in a new era of rock and roll. Monterey would launch the careers of Jimi Hendrix, Janis Joplin, and Otis Redding, but they were just a few among a wildly diverse cast that included Simon and Garfunkel, the Mamas and the Papas, the Who, the Byrds, Hugh Masekela, and the extraordinary Ravi Shankar (shot by Albert and David Maysles). With his characteristic vérité style, D. A. Pennebaker captured it all, immortalizing moments that have become legend: Pete Townshend destroying his guitar, Jimi Hendrix burning his. Seeing this film inspired Michael Lang to create the Woodstock festival in 1969, and the neo-hippy Coachella generation would not exist without Monterey Pop.

 

 




Monday, July 25th, Sundown
Herzog Eats His Shoes

Les Blank, 1980, 20 min
Yes, German film director Werner Herzog really does eat his shoe to fulfill a vow to fellow filmmaker Errol Morris — boldly exemplifying his belief that people must have the guts to attempt what they dream of. Inspiring. Werner Herzog forges ahead in his unique cinematic quest for truth and the late, great filmmaker Les Blank — and co-founder of the American direct cinema movement with Robert Drew, Ricky Leacock, D.A. Pennebaker and Albert and David Maysles — captures it all.

 

 

Burden of Dreams
Les Blank, 1982, 95 min
For nearly five years, acclaimed German filmmaker Werner Herzog desperately tried to complete one of the most ambitious and difficult films of his career, Fitzcarraldo, the story of one man’s attempt to build an opera house deep in the Amazon jungle. Documentary filmmaker Les Blank captured the unfolding of this production, made more perilous by Herzog’s determination to shoot the most daunting scenes without models or special effects, including a sequence requiring hundreds of native Indians to pull a full-size, 320-ton steamship over a small mountain. The result is an extraordinary document of the filmmaking process and a unique look into the single-minded mission of one of cinema’s most fearless directors. Also with Klaus Kinski and Claudia Cardinale.

 

 

 



Monday, August 1st, Sundown
Rubble Kings
Post Screening Q&A with director Shan Nicholson and film subjects (TBA).

Shan Nicholson, 2010, 68 min
From 1968 to 1975, gangs ruled New York City. Beyond the idealistic hopes of the civil rights movement lay a unfocused rage. Neither law enforcement nor social agency could end the escalating bloodshed. Peace came only through the most unlikely and courageous of events that would change the world for generations to come by giving birth to hip-hop culture. Rubble Kings chronicles life during this era of gang rule, tells the story of how a few extraordinary, forgotten people did the impossible, and how their actions impacted New York City and the world over. Rubble Kings covers the real life NYC history that inspired the cult classic The Warriors.

 

 



Monday, August 8th, Sundown
Midsummer’s Night’s Dream

Julie Taymor, 2014, 160 min
A film by Julie Taymor of Julie Taymor’s much heralded and sold-out production of A Midsummer Night’s Dream, filmed at Theatre For A New Audience, Polonsky Shakespeare Center in Brooklyn, New York in 2014. Taymor is the creative force behind such productions as The Magic Flute (Metropolitan Opera), Across the UniverseFrida, and of course the highest grossing Broadway musical of all time, The Lion King. Of all Shakespeare’s plays, A Midsummer Night’s Dream is the most phantasmagorical, featuring fairies, spells, and hallucinatory lovers. Julie Taymor turns out a production that’s visually breathtaking, funny, sexy and darkly poetic. With cinematography by Rodrigo Prieto (Argo, Frida) and music by Academy Award-winning composer Elliot Goldenthal, this is an immersive, inventive cinematic experience that was filmed during the show’s highly acclaimed inaugural run. The feats of visual imagination are ingenious and plentiful, but beating at the centre of the film is an emotionally moving take on the deeper human aspects of this beloved tale. In honor of mid-summer, the 62nd anniversary of Joseph Papp’s Shakespeare in the Park, and the 400th anniversary of Shakespeare’s death.

 

 

 



Monday, August 15th, Sundown
The Look of Silence

Joshua Oppenheimer, 2015, 103 min
Oscar®-nominated The Look of Silence is Joshua Oppenheimer’s powerful companion piece to the Oscar®-nominated The Act of Killing. Through Oppenheimer’s footage of perpetrators of the 1965 Indonesian genocide, a family of survivors discovers how their son was murdered, as well as the identities of the killers. The documentary focuses on the youngest son, an optometrist named Adi, who decides to break the suffocating spell of submission and terror by doing something unimaginable in a society where the murderers remain in power: he confronts the men who killed his brother and, while testing their eyesight, asks them to accept responsibility for their actions. This unprecedented film initiates and bears witness to the collapse of fifty years of silence.

 

 

Monday, August 22nd, Sundown
Symbiopsychotaxiplasm: Take One

William Greaves, 1968, 75 min
Symbiopsychotaxiplasm: Take One is a film that is as complex creatively as the pronunciation of its title. Director William Greaves created a seminal movie-within-a-movie by expanding on the cinema verite style of filmmaking and the using production techniques in both the filming and editing that reflect on the process of filmmaking itself. The film takes place in Central Park where an eccentric director, played by Greaves, has three separate film crews cover the proceedings of making a screen test. It was filmed in 1968 but didn’t premiere publicly until 1991 whereupon it rapidly gained a cult following and reinforced Greaves status as one of the great American documentary filmmakers.

Gaining a cult status from those individuals who were able to view it, the film eventually caught the attention of actor and filmmaker Steve Buscemi, who caught a screening of the docu-drama at the Sundance Film Festival in 1993. Seeing the film’s potential, Buscemi worked to secure financing for a sequel and the wide-release of the original film. Eventually, Buscemi and Greaves were joined by the adventurous Hollywood director Steven Soderbergh. Together, the three managed to secure both distribution channels for the film as well as financing for one of Greaves’s sequels.
 


Monday, August 29th, Sundown
This is Spinal Tap

Rob Reiner, 1984, 82 min
A mockumentary, a musical, a comedy, a film that made Tom Waits cry. This is Spinal Tap follows fictional (now only semi-fictional) British heavy metal band Spinal Tap on their US tour as they try to reclaim their place on the charts and maneuver the array of requisite groupies, promoters, hangers-on and historians, sessions, release events and those special behind-the-scenes moments that keep it all real. Rob Reiner directs and stars in this largely ad-libbed 1984 spoof that leaves everyone quoting that line “Turn it up to eleven”. It does for rock and roll what The Sound of Music did for hills. With Christopher Guest, Michael McKean, Harry Shearer, Rob Reiner, Ed Begley Jr., Dana Carvey, Billy Crystal, Paul Shaffer, Angelica Huston, Fred Willard and Fran Drescher.

 

 

Pride 2016: Pier Kids and the Work of Elegance Bratton

Friday, June 17th, 7:00pm
Co-Presented by Harlem Pride, Doc Watchers and Maysles Cinema
Supported by the Arts Council of the Southern Finger Lakes/NYSCA Presentation Fund.

 

 

 

Anthony + Christopher = Kim
Elegance Bratton, 2014, 5 min
Christopher helps his lover Anthony transform into their drag alter ego Kim Labeija.

 
 


Pier Kids: The Life
Elegance Bratton, 2011, 22 min
We experience the Christopher Street Pier with DeSean and Casper, two queer black homeless youth.

 
 

Walk For Me
Elegance Bratton, 2016, 1 min (excerpt)
Hassan Kendricks is set to make his Femme Queen debut in the shimmering lights of the Ballroom scene voguing as a girl named Hanna. His two worlds collide when his mom shows up and discovers her secret daughter.

Q&A with director Elegance Bratton followed by reception sponsored by Harlem Pride.

An Open Letter to NYC: Reminiscences of a Journey to Lithuania

 

Jonas Mekas, 1974, 88 min
Divided into three parts, this landmark diary film by the great Jonas Mekas documents a trip to his ancestral village of Semeniskiai, Lithuania after twenty-five years of exile in the United States. Preceded, in the first part, by impressions of the Williamsburg where Mekas first settled as a refugee, and succeeded, in the second, by a visit with friends and colleagues in Vienna, significantly the trip home itself occupies only the work’s middle part, comprised of “100 glimpses of Lithuania,” fleeting, literally numbered, and all the more indelible for it.

Q&A with Jonas Mekas and reception to follow with Eastern European food.

This program is part of An Open Letter to NYC:
Immigrant Documentary Filmmakers and Their Films
Starting with the periods before, during, between, and after the two world wars through to the present day, the American film industry would not exist without the immigrant filmmaker. In fact all contemporary American art and media, including the current documentary renaissance, is enlivened by and rooted in the modern immigrant experience. An Open Letter takes stock in immigrant, refugee and expatriate documentary filmmakers and/or documentary films about immigration and pays special attention to filmmakers from dominant and emerging NYC populations including those of Caribbean, Eastern European, Latin American, South and East Asian, Middle Eastern and West African descent. Programmed by Jessica Green and Edo Choi.

This series is supported by New York City’s Department of Cultural Affairs (DCLA) as part of the 2016 Immigrant Cultural Initiative.

NYAFF 2016: Egypts Modern Pharaohs

Friday, May 13th-Sunday, May 15th
The 2016 New York African Film Festival

Sunday, May 15th, 2:00pm
Les Pharaons de L’Egypte Moderne (Egypt’s Modern Pharaohs)

Jihan El-Tahri, Egypt, France, USA, Qatar, 2014, 168 min
On January 25, 1952, downtown Cairo was burnt down: angry mobs demanded the departure of British colonial military rule and called for ‘bread, freedom and social justice’. Fifty-nine years later to the day, the same anger was displayed, the same slogan brandished – but this time against Egypt’s elected president. For six decades, Egypt’s post-colonial leaders forged a system that harnessed military and religious powers, struck a delicate balance in foreign relations and muzzled acomplacent civil society. What led the docile Egyptians to mass revolt? How were the promising ideals of the 1952 revolution hijacked? What led to the total breakdown of social justice and political freedom? Filmmaker Jihan El-Tahri has created a masterpiece trilogy of films about former Egyptian presidents Gamal Abdel Nasser, Anwar Sadat and Hosni Mubarak, aptly titled,Egypt’s Modern Pharaohs!

 

NYAFF 2016: Oya

Friday, May 13th-Sunday, May 15th
The 2016 New York African Film Festival

Saturday, May 14th, 2:00pm
Oya: Something Happened On The Way To West Africa!

Oluseyi Adebanjo, Nigeria/USA, 2015, 30 min
Oya: Something Happened On The Way To West Africa! follows my journey as a Queer Gender Non-Conforming Nigerian returning home to connect with Òrìṣà (African God/dess) tradition, and follow a trail back to the powerful legacy of my great grandmother, Chief Moloran Ìyá Ọlọ́ya. This personal and political story vibrantly investigates the heritage of command, mythology, gender fluidity, womyn’s power and the hidden truth behind the power of indigenous Yorùbá spirituality. As I encounter obstacles of a national strike and anti-gay marriage legislation to find the roots of the practice, will I be able to find affirmation for myself as a person between genders/worlds and take on this inheritance?The documentary illuminates the lives of Òrìṣà Ọya (Warrior Goddess), Chief Moloran Ìyá Ọlọ́ya and Seyi Adebanjo while interweaving Yorùbá mythology, poetry, performance, and expert interviews.

In Search of Finah Misa Kule (U.S. Premiere)
Kewulay Kamara, Sierra Leone, 2015, 42 min
In Search of Finah Misa Kule chronicles the quest of poet Kewulay Kamara to reconstitute an ancient epic handed down in his family. Kamara takes us back to his native Village of Dankawali in northeast Sierra Leone where the epic was written out by his father in the 1960s only to be destroyed when the village was razed during the recent Civil War in Sierra Leone.

Screening will be followed by a performance of music and/or poetry reading.

 

NYAFF 2016: Faaji Agba

Friday, May 13th-Sunday, May 15th
The 2016 New York African Film Festival

Saturday, May 14th, 7:45pm
Faaji Agba

Remi Vaughan-Richards, Nigeria, 2015, 90 min
Faaji Agba is a six-year journey by film-maker Remi Vaughan. Richards following seven, 68-85 yr old Yoruba master musicians in Lagos, Nigeria. They were forgotten by society, until Kunle Tejuoso, owner of Jazzhole Records, follows a trail to rediscover them and the ‘Faaji Agba Collective’ is born. Kunle’s journey starts with Fatai Rolling Dollar, which leads him to others such as Alaba Pedro, SF Olowookere, Ayinde Bakare and more. Their musical styles range from highlife, juju to afrobeat. The story starts in 2009 and follows them on their journey to perform in New York in 2011 where tragedy strikes. A year later, undeterred by the setback they perform again in Lagos, ends up being their last. Faaji Agba interweaves the history, culture and music scene of Lagos, Nigeria from 1940’s to 2015 as their joys and tragedies unfold.