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New York, NY (BlackNews.com) — African celebrity activist Suzanne Africa Engo has launched her new initiative, The New African Empower (empowerment, entertainment, empire), with the premiere of Music Box Films’ new motion picture release “Viva Riva”. The film is directed by African director Djo Munga, and stars Ivorian/Euro actress Manie Malone.

The New African Empower is Engos’ new lobbying effort to have African films and entertainers featured in the Hollywood market. She comments, “This time, the empowerment is about creating opportunities so that the work we do in the field of empowerment through education can be sustained with young people knowing they have somewhere to go where there is a real space for them. I’m starting with Hollywood and film.”

Engo hosted the premiere of the Congolese picture, which is the first out of Congo in 20 years, with Music Box Films last week in New York followed by a private dinner at Casa La Femme. The film is slated to open in New York and Los Angeles on June 10, 2011 with a roll out across the United States to follow. Other cities include Washington, DC on June 24th and Atlanta, Georgia, and more to follow.

Critics are raving for “Viva Riva”, from 4 stars in Time Out New York claiming VIVA “is a genuine turn-on” to New York Magazine saying that “(Viva Riva) gives us reason to get excited for a new wave of films coming out of Africa: It’s well acted and slickly made, all while exposing a part of the world we haven’t really seen before.” The film recently got a huge boost with the announcement that it was the first African film to win a new category (Best African Movie) at the MTV Movie Awards.

Actress Malone and director Munga were in New York for a whirlwind promo tour surrounding the premiere filled with everything from fittings with celebrity designer Marc Bouwer to hair and makeup by celebrity hair salon, The Deberardinis Salon. They also did scores of interviews with magazines and promo photo shoots – Hollywood style. Munga is also planning a trip to Washington, DC to continue promotional efforts with the film and meeting with the African community who is proud to have a “son of Africa” shine in a space where African films (directed by Africans, shot in Africa, and starring Africans) have never been before.

“We are absolutely thrilled,” Engo says. “It is a new time for African cinema, a new page in reshaping the image of Africa in the media. We will now be REAL players in the game.”

“Viva Riva” will be in theaters starting June 10th. For more details, visit www.vivarivamovie.com

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