Viva Riva! Congolese MTV Movie Award Winner at AFI Silver June 7!

June 7, 2011 § Leave a comment

Director Djo Munga at the British Film Institute in March

Congolese Director Djo Munga was talking excitedly about his film when I saw him at an event at the British Film Institute in London. He must be bursting with pride now that his first feature film – and reportedly the first from the Congo in decades – Viva Riva! has garnered another award to add to its growing list: Best African Film at the MTV Movie Awards. If you live in the DC area you can get a chance to see it tonight at the AFI Silver Theatre in Silver Spring, Maryland. The show starts at 7:30pm and the director will be in attendance, with a question and answer session afterwards.

The movie is a thrilling African crime drama set in Kinshasa, revolving around a fuel shortage that’s threatening to cripple the Congolese capital. Small time operator Riva comes in to take full advantage of this, getting embroiled in conflicts with an Angolan crime boss, a local gangster and his seductive girlfriend, all set to the rhythm of the vibrant, shadowy, gritty streets of Kinshasa. Viva Riva! won Best Feature Film at the 2011 Pan-African Film Festival, and ran off with 6 2011 African Movie Awards. The film is in French and Lingala with English subtitles. The movie opens in London on June 24, with a pre-launch opening night party at the Ritzy Cinema in Brixton. It opens in New York and LA June 10th. You can check out the trailer below. Bless…

The West Indies and West Africa converge for Africa Underground 2

June 6, 2011 § Leave a comment

Moko Jumbie

I can’t really see myself missing After Hours at African Art, when the Smithsonian opens the doors of its museum after hours to revelers who can dance, eat, drink, party, and enjoy the breathtaking exhibitions there. After being away from the country for a couple of months, I returned just in time to attend the second edition of Africa Underground. For the hugely successful first installment at the National Museum of African Art in Washington, DC in February, the organizers took us down south for a Brazilian samba-flavored showcase of art, music and culture. This time (the party was on May 20) the serving was distinctly West Indian in its character, yet an equally joyous and colorful exposé of the connection between the Caribbean and West Africa. The sold out event featured live music out on the grounds, and on the inside a DJ, poetry and spoken word, arts and crafts, and a talk on the West Indian/West African connection. I arrived a bit late, unfortunately, and missed a great performance in the garden by the moko jumbies (stilt walkers). But right after that Papa Wabe,
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