Photos: James Franco, Anika Noni Rose, Bill de Blasio, and More


James Franco at a Q&A for Palo Alto. Photo: Ra'chel Lowery

The Film Society of Lincoln Center was the place to be this past week and the proof is in the pictures.

Opening Night of the 21st New York African Film Festival took place on Wednesday and the festival's founder and director, Mahen Bonetti, welcomed many of the talented filmmakers whose work would be shown. On Friday and Saturday, Dev Hynes (a.k.a. Blood Orange) performed music from the soundtrack for Gia Coppola's Palo Alto to celebrate the opening of its theatrical run. We also toasted the kick-off of Movies with a Twist (a.k.a. wine and beer from indie food and wine at Film Center concessions) with free drinks for some lucky attendees.

Also on Saturday, James Franco stopped by to answer questions about Palo Alto—he both stars in the film and wrote the short stories from which the screenplay was adapted. Finally, Mayor Bill de Blasio and his wife Chirlane joined us for a New York African Film Festival screening of Confusion Na Wa. It wasn't their first time at the festival, either. In 1993 they attended the innaugural edition and, according to this New York Times piece, they liked it so much they ended up seeing 21 films!

Feast your eyes...


Mahen Bonetti, Ntare Guma Mbaho Mwine, Aïssa Maïga at New York African Film Festival Centerpiece. Photo: Lindsey Seide


Anika Noni Rose, star of Centerpiece film Half of a Yellow Sun. Photo: Lindsey Seide


Half of a Yellow Sun director Biyi Bandele with Anika Noni Rose. Photo: Lindsey Seide


Actress Aïssa Maïga of Aya of Yop City. Photo: Lindsey Seide


Devonté Hynes (a.k.a. Blood Orange) performing at a screening of Palo Alto. Photo: Sachyn Mital


Photo: Sachyn Mital


Samantha Urbani joins Dev on stage! Photo: Sachyn Mital


Our Movies with a Twist drinks are spill-proof! Photo: Sachyn Mital


James Franco at a Q&A for Palo Alto.  Photo: Ra'chel Lowery


Mahen Bonetti greets Mayor Bill de Blasio and our city's First Lady, Chirlane McCray. Photo: Godlis


Photo: Godlis


Mahen Bonetti, Chirlane McCray, Bill de Blasio, and Lesli Klainberg. Photo: Godlis


Ekwa Msangi-Omari, Director of Soko Sonko. Photo: Julie Cunnah


Mahen Bonetti and Lesli Klainberg. Photo: Julie Cunnah


Arly Kosi, producer of Congolese Dreams. Photo: Julie Cunnah


Actor OC Ukeje, filmmaker Kenneth Gyang, and producer Tom Rowlands-Rees of Confusion Na Wa. Photo: Julie Cunnah


Photo: Julie Cunnah


A band plays at the New York African Film Festival opening night reception. Photo: Julie Cunnah


Singer Rafiya performs at the opening night reception. Photo: Sade Joseph


From left to right: Tom Rowlands-Rees, Biyi Bandele, Kenneth Gyang, Ntare Guma Mbaho Mwine, Mahen Bonetti, Frances Bodomo, OC Ukeje (back), Akosua Adoma Owusu (front), Ekwa Msangi-Omari, and Arly Kosi. Photo: Julie Cunnah


On the left: Ntare Guma Mbaho Mwine, director of Kuhani. Photo: Sade Joseph


Malika Lee Whitney, who moderated the opening night screening of Confusion Na Wa. Photo: Sade Joseph

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