New York University’s
Institute of African American Affairs
Department of Film and Television
Cinema Studies and Africana Studies Program


“New Directions in African Cinema”

A series exploring recent,
innovative and cutting edge
film works in the fields of documentary,
experimental and narrative

Thursday, May 1st, 2014

a screening of

“Asni: The Life of Asnaketch Worku

Courage, Passion & Glamor in Ethiopia”

(Ethiopia, 2013, 80 min.)

and a talk with director Rachel Samuel

Time: 6:30 pm

Location: Tisch School of the Arts-NYU,
721 Broadway (room 006), NY, NY

(Free and open to the public. Space is limited.)

Asni-Asnaketch film poster

“When I was a 4-year old kid in Addis-Ababa listening to my father’s radio I heard a singer who mesmerized me. In an unknowing visceral response, Asnaketch Worku took root in my soul. Decades later it was an almost pre-destined privilege to direct a documentary on this extraordinary artist who is as much a cultural icon to Ethiopians as Billie Holiday is to Americans and Edith Piaf to the French. Asnaketch lived her life on the edge of her artistry, over the edge of her passions. But to separate Asnaketch from the social and political climate of conservative Ethiopia, particularly in 50’s and 60’s was impossible. Artists in that time were looked down upon, called derogatorily, “Azmari”, which the church deemed as, “…those not going to heaven.” So this doc is as much about my country, my music, my culture as it is about this original being, Asnaketch, who is a substantive part of the fabric of Ethiopia, past and present.” –Rachel Samuel, Director

New York University’s Institute of African American Affairs, the Department of Film and Television, Cinema Studies and the Africana Studies Program have partnered to devote a year-long exploration of the new directions in African cinema, with a particular emphasis on film form and the representation of the female gender. This past Fall 2013 semester the films screened were: Tey, Mère-Bi, Moi Zaphira, and All Is Well with the directors present. The idea is to give students, faculty, as well as the larger New York metropolitan communities, a rare opportunity to view and discuss with the films’ directors the works that stand out, not only through the contemporary social issues they address, but also in the innovative and cutting edge manners they engage the medium in the fields of documentary, experimental and narrative. Directors for this fall semester include Alain Gomis, Pocas Pascoal, Ousmane William Mbaye, and Apolline Traoré. Space is limited and will be given on first come first serve basis. More films will be added to this series in this spring semester. Subject to change. Please check for updates at: