The New African Film Festival Highlights Contemporary Cinema at the AFI Theatre

Plus a Review of ‘The Honeymoon,’ Which Opens Friday

The marquee highlights the New African Film Festival at the AFI Theatre. (Photo: Lloyd Davis/HUNewsService.com)

By Lloyd Davis

Howard University News Service

Mwiza Munthali is a co-founder of the African Film Festival. (Photo: Lloyd Davis/HUNewsService.com)

The annual New African Film Festival (NAFF) wraps up this week with a string of thought-provoking and entertaining films at the AFI Theatre in Silver Spring, Maryland. The festival, which ran from March 17 to 30 screened 30 films from 22 countries representing all corners of the diaspora.

Mwiza Munthali is a co-founder of the festival and enjoys speaking to people between screenings. He says that the film festival has had a profound impact on the region, including Ward 4 in Washington and the Silver Spring community.

“It helps the community to be exposed to African culture, all the stories of the continent and the African Diaspora,” Munthali says. “It gives a more complete picture of the continent, because people don’t see the continent in its full breadth especially culturally. So, that’s one reason why we even started doing the festival is to have a wider exposure of African culture but also so the filmmakers could have wider exposure.”

The movies span a wide variety of topics and themes — some being narrative feature-length films and others being captivating documentaries. They also spanned a multitude of languages like English, French, Swahili, Amharic, Fula, Krio, Arabic, West African and Nigerian Pidgin.

The festival premiered six films and held multiple Q&A sessions with the filmmakers, allowing the audience to speak directly to the creators. “The Honeymoon,” one of the films screened at NAFF, will be officially released on Friday. (See “Review: When a Honeymoon Turns Into a Girls’ Trip, Mischief Follows,” below.)

Other notable works at the festival were “Xale,” which was a 2023 Oscar selection from Senegal; “Super Eagles ’96,” which documents the Nigerian national football team; and “A Daughter’s Tribute to Her Father: Souleymane Cisse,” which was an official selection at the 2022 Cannes Film Festival.

Munthali also explained that the founders originally hosted the festival at Vision Cinema in D.C., but it closed so they moved to the AFI. He is looking forward a big turnout for the festival’s 20th anniversary next year so that African films can continue to be shown to an even larger audience. For those interested in attending the festival next year, the AFI sells all-access passes that grant admission to every film.

In addition to being home to NAFF, the American Film Institute hosts other events throughout the year. The theater is running Anime Classic until April 26, showing some of the most important and influential films of this Japanese genre. Films like “Akira” (1988) or “Ghost in the Shell” (1995) are a couple films from this genre that were shown at the theater.

Lloyd Davis is a reporter for HUNewsService.com.

The AFI Theatre offers a diverse lineup of films and festivals throughout the year. (Photo: Lloyd Davis/HUNewsService.com)


Review: When a Honeymoon Turns Into a Girls’ Trip, Mischief Follows

By Lloyd Davis

Howard University News Service

“The Honeymoon” follows three women: Kat, Nok and Lu as they travel to Zanzibar and cause mischief across the archipelago.

This girls’ trip came to fruition after Kat’s fiancé dumped her the night before their wedding, and the friends wanted to take advantage of the honeymoon reservations. All the women are dealing with their own problems, and the viewers watch as their friendships and emotions unfold over the course of the trip.

Overall, the film highlights the importance of having a good group of friends to support and challenge you during trying times, and that it never hurts to laugh at your own mistakes.

The film was directed by Bianca Isaac and is filled with vibrant colors and rhythmic afro beats. It features a diverse cast of characters.

Actress Tumi Morake who plays Nok takes over almost every scene she’s in and gives a standout performance. She plays a struggling social media influencer who is always going on Instagram Live, filling in her followers on her adventures.

“The Honeymoon,” which premiered at the New African Film Festival and is being released on Friday, is a fun film. Hopefully, it has a chance to be shown at more theaters and general audiences get a chance to see it.


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