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Our Africa (New York Premiere)

  • Maysles Cinema 343 Lenox Avenue New York, NY, 10027 United States (map)

Alexander Markov, 2018, 45 min
1957. The Soviets arrive on the African continent to spread socialism. The first independent African nations meet them with great enthusiasm and full of hope for a postcolonial future. For more than 35 years, the Soviets expand their geopolitical influence in Africa with humanitarian aid programs based on Marxist ideology. Up until 1991, some of the country’s best filmmakers were sent along to document the “glorious advance” of socialism on the African continent. A propaganda featuring all Africans as Lenin fans. Then came the nineties. The Soviet Union broke apart and “socialism” became a dirty word. Russia, struggling with an economic crisis, lost all political interest in Africa. Still, thousands of kilometers of film footage remain. Our Africa recreates the time of the “Great Utopia” and exposes the gap between African realities and a continent that only existed on celluloid.


Preceded by
Familiar Faces/Unexpected Places — A Global African Diaspora
Sheila S. Walker, 2018, 31 min
Tens of millions of Africans were scattered throughout the world during the centuries of the notorious process of enslavement. The African Diasporan communities that resulted used knowledge and skills brought from Africa to contribute to the building of new societies. Torn from the world they knew, Africans and Afro-descendants forged new identities and created new cultural forms that have enriched global civilization. They preserved ancestral worldviews to which they adapted the cultures of others to create dynamic new fusions. This documentary highlights African knowledge and technologies that helped develop the Americas, visits unsuspected African Diasporan societies, and reveals cultural commonalities uniting African Diasporan communities in distant lands.

Q&A with Alexander Markov and Sheila Walker.