The Crusader Newspaper Group

16th Annual African Diaspora International Film Festival—Chicago 

By Elaine Hegwood Bowen, M.S.J., Chicago Crusader

ArtMattan Productions and Facets Cinémathèque are presenting the 16th Annual African Diaspora International Film Festival—Chicago with a selection of thought- provoking foreign and independent films that will have their premiere screening in the Windy City.

Created in 1993 by ArtMattan Productions, a company that produces a collection of programs and events promoting Afro-centric-themed cultures, ADIFF has long been delighting audiences with U.S. and world premieres of independent films, including features, documentaries, animations and shorts.

The Festival runs from June 8 to June 14 at Facets Cinémathèque, which is located at 1517 W. Fullerton Ave.

Some of the films to be screened are as follows:

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Miriam Makeba is the subject of the opening night film at the 16th Annual African Diaspora International Film Festival.

Screen Shot 2018 05 17 at 11.16.31 AMMama Africa: Miriam Makeba: Opening Night: Friday, June 8 @ 6:30 p.m. 

Miriam Makeba was one of the first African musicians who won international stardom and whose music was always anchored in her traditional South African roots. Makeba was forced into exile in 1959. She sang for John F. Kennedy, performed with Harry Belafonte and Nina Simone, was married to Hugh Masekela and also Stokely Carmichael. Her life was tumultuous. She always stood for truth and justice. She fought for the oppressed, most importantly for Black Africans, as a campaigner against apartheid. She died November 2008 after a concert in Italy.

Every Cook Can Govern: Documenting the Life, Impact & Works of C.L.R. James: Monday, June 11 @ 6:30 p.m.

This historical tour-de-force interweaves never-before-seen footage of C.L.R. James with personal contributions from those who knew him. This documentary also presents an astute historical and political analysis from leading scholars of his work. Crowd-funded, crowd-featured and crowd-filmed, this unique production lifts the lid on the life of a tireless, fearless and uncompromising revolutionary.

The Citizen: Tuesday, June 12 @ 8:30 p.m.

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“The Citizen” tells the story of a political refugee from Guinea Bissau who finds a home in Hungary.

The story follows Wilson, a political refugee from Guinea Bissau, as he attempts to find his place in Hungarian society. He decides to acquire the Hungarian citizenship and meets history teacher Mary, when their interaction takes on an unexpected turn.

StreetLight Harmonies: Wednesday, June 13 @ 6:30 p.m.

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“Streetlight Harmonies” is a toe-tapping stroll down memory lane for music lovers everywhere.

Doo wop, featuring stellar vocal harmonies sung a cappella, was born on street corners in the 1950s. Soon after, the Coasters, the Drifters and Frankie Valli were singing their hearts out to America on Alan Freed’s influential radio show. In “Streetlight Harmonies,” a “Who’s Who” of musicians trace the evolution of American pop music from doo wop and Phil Spector’s legendary ‘wall of sound’ up through Motown, surf music and the British Invasion. It’s a toe-tapping stroll down memory lane for music lovers of all ages.

“Streetlight Harmonies” stars Fred Parris, Little Anthony, Vito Picone, Jimmy Merchant, Barbara Jean English, Billy Brown, Ronald Coleman, Lois Harris Powell, Sammy Strain, La La Brooks, Charlie Thomas, Terry Johnson, Diz Russell, Jerry Blavat, Val Shively, and a host of others, including Classic Urban Harmony’s own Charlie Horner. The film also features hundreds of photos of groups, sheet music, posters, etc., from the Classic Urban Harmony Archives.  Not to be missed.

The 16th Annual Diaspora Film Festival-Chicago is made possible thanks to the generous support of the following institutions: Facets Cinemateque, ArtMattan Productions; the Center for Black Diaspora at DePaul University and the DuSable Heritage Association. The African Diaspora International Film Festival is a 501(c)(3) not for profit organization.

Ticket Info: General admission $10; Students with ID and seniors (65 and up): $8; Facets Cinémathèque Members: $5. For Opening Night: $15; For Special Presentation: When the Drum is Beating: $12; For the Centerpiece: $12 and for Closing Night: $12. A weekend pass is $60, and a festival pass is $80.

The Facets Cinémathèque is located at 1517 W. Fullerton Ave. in Chicago. For a full schedule and to order advance tickets online, call 773-281-4114 or 212-864-1760 or visit

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