Caribbean films showcased in annual ADIFF festival

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The African Diaspora International Film Festival, ADIFF 2015 is being held from November 27 through December 13 in three venues in Manhattan: Chelsea Bow Tie Cinemas, MIST Harlem and Teachers College, Columbia University. The selection of films include many featuring the Caribbean. The Caribbean is a reservoir of talent in many areas and, as time goes by, the Caribbean presence in films is more and more remarkable. The 23rd African Diaspora International Film Festival will showcase, as is its tradition, a selection of good films coming from the Caribbean and about its people.

The Black British Film Program has a selection of four films about the presence of Black people in the UK with a very strong Caribbean flavor in front and behind the camera.  Let The Music Talk by Yvonne Deutchmann is a 1981 musical documentary never screened in the USA before. It tells the story of black music in Britain, from the calypso of Lord Kitchener arriving on the SS Windrush in 1948, gospel choirs, griots from Grenada, steel pans in schools and at the Notting Hill Carnival, jazz, Afro-rock, soul-funk with the Real Thing, reggae with Misty in Roots and Eddy Grant.

The Story of Lovers Rock by Menelik Shabazz, a favorite of ADIFF, tells the story of Lovers Rock as a musical genre and gives a voice to the Caribbean descendant people who created that music and culture in the UK. Honeytrap by Rebecca Johnson plays out as a tragedy. It tells a story of fifteen-year-old Layla (Jessica Sula – Skins), a beautiful and naive Trinidadian girl who, freshly arrived from her native land, quickly embarks on a journey of love, sex, hip hop and violence.

Second Coming by Debbie Tucker Green is an emotional and intimate drama about a woman in a London family who faces a dilemma with her husband (Idris Elba) and the tensions and communication issues associated with her situation. Other films in the festival have a Caribbean flavor including NY premiere and festival centerpiece “Cu-Bop: Cuba – New York Music Documentary” by Japanese filmmaker Shinishi Takahashi. Separated by an ocean, two Cuban jazz musicians continue to perform in spite of the difficulties they face. César López is recognized as Cuba’s premier saxophonist, having founded his landmark jazz band, the Havana Ensemble, in his native country.

The gifted young pianist Axel Tosca lives in New York City, the leader of (U)NITY, a band which fuses Afro-Cuban culture with modern jazz and hip-hop. With this documentary for all music lovers, first-time filmmaker Shinichi Takahashi explores the African roots of Cuban jazz and documents what happens when expats return to the source of their inspiration. The screening will be followed by a concert with Axel Tosca and his band. Shot in Haiti and Bangladesh, A Journey of a Thousand Miles tells us a story of two countries that are embarked in a mutual discovery of sorts. A contingent of Muslim, Bangladeshi police women is deployed in Haiti to serve as UN Peacekeepers to maintain peace after the 2010 earthquake. We then learn, as the camera follows three of these Muslims women, about life in Haiti and Bangladesh and the challenges faced by the population in both countries.

Black / Nowa, a “Hood” film set in Montreal, Canada that chronicles the lives of four people – including several youths of Haitian descent – living in a neighborhood plagued by poverty and violence, aspiring to freedom and happiness. Sand Dollars by Laura Amelia Guzman and Israel Cardenas is a film from the Dominican Republic submitted to the Oscar competition in the foreign film category. Sand Dollars is the story of Noeli (Yanet Mojica) whose love affair with Anne (Geraldine Chaplin) a woman double her age, is a rare subject in films.

For more information about the 23rd Annual African Diaspora International Film Festival e-mail pr@nyadiff.org. Festival web site: www.nyadiff.org–OnPointPress.net–

 

 

African Diaspora Int’l Film Festival celebrates Black History Month

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New York, February 27, 2015:– The African Diaspora International Film Festival (ADIFF) is pleased to announce the Celebrating Black History Month film series at Teachers College, Columbia University from February 27 to March 1. The film series has an international spin that puts the notion of Black History month in the perspective of a quest to critically understand what the Black human experience has been and is in different parts of the world.

A selection of ten films from eight countries will be part of the ADIFF Celebrating Black History Month film series. The program will feature several documentaries about the Black experience in the United States. Stubborn as a Mule by Miller Bargerton, Jr. and Arcelious J. Daniels, an internationally award winning film that presents an eye opening depiction of lesser known historical facts and contemporary commentary regarding the call for reparations for African-Americans. In the process, the film disseminates USA black history that is not taught in most educational systems. Spies of Mississippi by Dawn Porter is an explosive documentary based on a book by the same name that tells the story of a secret spy agency formed by the state of Mississippi to preserve segregation and maintain white supremacy during the Civil Rights Movement.

Linking the US and Africa is the very popular documentary Bound: Africans vs African-Americans by Peres Owino, about the tensions between these two groups and winner of ADIFF 2014’s Public Award for the Best Film Directed by a Woman of Color. The screening of this hard-hitting documentary – that walks us through the corridors of African colonialism and African American enslavement – will be followed by a conversation with Director Peres Owino.

Three historic epic dramas that explore the fight for liberation by colonized and enslaved Africans are in the program: Ninga Queen of Angola by Sergio Graciano about a 17th century Queen who fought for freedom against Portuguese colonialism, Tula, The Revolt by Jeroen Leinders, a film set in Curaçao in the Caribbean during slavery times and Sergio Giral’s classic Cuban drama Maluala, about the Maroons – the communities of escaped enslaved Africans in the 19th century.

Four documentaries complete the series: The program African Leaders is comprised of two documentaries that offer a portrait of two leaders of the Pan-African Liberation Movement: Thomas Sankara from Burkina Faso and Amilcar Cabral from Cape Verde directed by Balufu Bakupa Kanyinda and Ana Ramos Lisboa respectively. The Story of Lovers Rock by Menelik Shabbaz is a musical documentary about Lovers Rock, often dubbed ‘romantic reggae,’ a uniquely black British sound that developed in the late 70s and 80s against a backdrop of riots, racial tension and sound systems. Denying Brazil by Joel Zito Araujo is a documentary that explores the history of the stereotypical representation of Black characters on Brazilian TV and the negative impact of these stereotypes on the Afro-Brazilian identity formation.

For more information about the Celebrating Black History Month film series, to receive screeners and high resolution images please contact Diarah N’Daw-Spech at (212) 864-1760/ fax (212) 316-6020 or e-mail pr@nyadiff.org. Festival web site: www.nyadiff.org. The African Diaspora International Film Festival is a 501(c)(3) not for profit organization.–OnPointPress.net.

 

 

Diverse line-up for NYC’s African Diaspora International Film Festival

Danny Glover stars in the upcoming film, "Supremacy."

Danny Glover  and Lela Rochon star in the upcoming film, “Supremacy,” which will debut at the ADIFF between Nov 28-Dec 14, 3014.

New York, November 22, 2014 – For its 22nd edition to be held in Manhattan between November 28 and December 14, 2014, the New York African Diaspora International Film Festival (ADIFF) will showcase 89 films spanning 43 countries including 47 US and NY Premieres.

Among the films set to have their New York premiere in ADIFF 2014 are films featured in international film festivals such as Toronto, Montreal, Durban, Rotterdam, Palm Spring and Los Angeles Film Fests. The offerings include opening night film Supremacy, by the producers of Django Unchained with Danny Glover, Derek Luke and Lela Rochon.

Trailer from the upcoming film "Supremacy."

Trailer from the upcoming film “Supremacy.”

Presented at the Toronto International Film Festival are the gripping and provocative Finish dramedy Heart of a Lion by Dome Karukosi, a film with “a lot of heart and warmth” (Betsy Sharkey, Los Angeles Times). Finish describes a Neo-Nazi who falls for a woman with a black son from a previous marriage and 2014 New Zealand’s foreign-language Oscar submission White Lies by Dana Rotberg is a period drama based on a novella by “Whale Rider” author Witi Ihimaera that explores deep inner and societal conflicts between a wealthy woman, her servant and the Moari healer they seek out for assistance.

First presented at the Montreal World Film Festival is the impressive epic drama based on a true story, Ninga Queen of Angola by Sergio Graciano, about a 17th century Queen who fought for freedom against Portuguese colonialism. Kajarya by Madhureeeta Anand, a compelling and disturbing women centered drama that decries the social hypocrisy around the practice of killing baby girls in India and the national award- winning film Names Unknown by Charu Ahuja, which takes a critical look at the life of marginalized people in the Kerala region of India are part of a selection of films about Indian people in and out of India.

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Screened at the Rotterdam International Film Festival, Diego Star by Frederick Pelletier, a drama about Traore, a mechanic from the Ivory Coast who is forced to spend the winter in a small town in Quebec after an accident on board his ship is “a stark, touching tale about the common humanity that connects people from alien backgrounds, and the institutionalized inhumanity that drives them apart,” (Peter Keough Boston Globe).

Other noteworthy premieres in ADIFF 2014 include Scorsese’s Marrakech International Film Festival Jury Winner for best Actor Fevers by Hicham Ayouch about a 13-year-old boy at war with life, adults and himself and the South African drama with a distinctly local flavor The Two of Us by first time filmmaker Ernest Nkosi – which made its world premiere at the Durban International Film Festival in August – about a very turbulent sibling relationship between Thulas and Zanele and their lives in the Alexandra township.

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The Two of Us is one of the highlights of the ADIFF 2014 South Africa: 20 Years of Democracy program presented in collaboration with the South African Department of Arts and Culture, the NFVF and the Kwazulu-Natal Film Commission. Four other outstanding films in this program are the entertaining South African hit dramedy Between Friends by Zuko Nodada to screen as the festival centerpiece, the hit comedy Material by Craig Friemond about a Muslim comedian and his rigid father, Letters to Zorha by Saskia Vredeveld about the untold story of Ahmed Kathrada, a freedom fighter who spent 26 years in prison in Robben island with Nelson Mandela, and the revealing documentary I, Afrikaner by Analet Steenkamp which documents four generations of the director’s family in post-apartheid South Africa.

Also premiering in the festival this year are closing night film Obama Mama, a documentary about Stanley Ann Dunham, mother of the nation’s first black president, Gala Screening Bound: Africans vs. African-Americans, a documentary about the tensions between these two groups, and the U.S. premiere of Steps to Liberty, a documentary by Rokhaya Diallo that describes the 1984 March for Equality and Against Racism in France and its repercussion today. Steps to Liberty will close a full day of screenings around the theme France and the Race Issue.

The program Blacks in Latin America, sponsored in part by the Academy of Motion Picture and Science, will feature 20 films including the two documentaries Oggun: An Eternal Presence and Reshipment and the three-part series 1912, Breaking the Silence by award-winning Afro-Cuban filmmaker Gloria Rolando who will complete her acclaimed US wide tour with ADIFF 2014.

For more information about the 22nd Annual African Diaspora International Film Festival, to receive the complete line up, screeners and high-resolution images please contact Diarah N’Daw-Spech at (212) 864-1760/ fax (212) 316-6020 or e-mail pr@nyadiff.org. Festival web site: www.nyadiff.org.-OnPointPress.net.