This film festival–still the premier site for African film in New York City and on the US east coast–opens tonight at Lincoln Center with a showing of “Mama Africa,” the 2011 documentary by Finnish director Mika Kaurismäki about the life of singer Miriam Makeba “who brought South African music to the world.” The well structured documentary, a celebration of Makeba’s life, is a mix of archived video footage, and interviews with some of her closest family associates (her grandchildren Nelson Lumumba Lee and Zenzi Monique Lee, former husband Hugh Masekela and musicians Sipho Mabuse, Abigail Kubeka, Angelique Kidjo and Dorothy Masuku.)  Other films include “Relentless” (see our review on Friday) “How to steal 2 million,” ‘Playing Warriors” and “Restless City.” The detailed program (and tickets) can be accessed here.  Africa is a Country is reviewing a selection of films from the festival (see our timeline). And on Saturday afternoon (1.30-4pm) we’re co-hosting two panels on “Cinema and Propaganda” in the Frieda and Roy Furman Gallery at Walter Reade Theater, Lincoln Center.

Here’s the details:

The popular blog, Africa is a Country (AIAC), will present a two-part panel discussion, on Saturday, April 14, 2012, titled “Cinema and Propaganda”. From 1:30pm-4:00pm, join AIAC as featured bloggers and special guests examine, first, the relationship between Africa and the Soviet Union in the 1960s and 1970s, as is evidenced by Russia’s extensive film archive of the continent (panelists: AIAC’s Basia Lewandowska Cummings and Russian film archivist Alexander Markov), and then, for a second panel, explore the relationship between film and social media movements, including but not limited to Occupy Nigeria, Tahrir revolutionary videos and cinema and #Kony2012, among others. (The panelists for the second panel are AIAC’s Sean Jacobs, Boima Tucker, Elliot Ross and Neelika Jayawardane).  NO RSVP IS REQUIRED. FIRST COME, FIRST SERVED SEATING, UNTIL VENUE REACHES CAPACITY.