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17th ADIFF Chicago Spotlight on the UK Black Experience

To celebrate its 17th Anniversary in Chicago, the African Diaspora International Film Festival (ADIFF) – hosted by Facets Cinematheque and presented by ArtMattan Productions from June 21 to 27 – will present an exciting line up of national and international fictions and documentaries in the Windy City. With films set in The United States, Mexico, Haiti, Barbados, DRC, Jamaica, and Morocco, ADIFF Chicago will celebrate 17 years of great cinema and great talks with new films, special events and revealing stories.

One of the highlights of ADIFF Chicago 2019 is the Spotlight on the UK Black Experience program.

After 1945, as a result of the human losses of WWII, the British government began to encourage mass immigration from the countries of the British Empire and Commonwealth to fill shortages in the labour market. The British Nationality Act 1948 gave British Citizenship to all people living in the United Kingdom and its colonies. As a result, many Caribbean people travelled to the UK, looking for better prospects.

The Windrush generation is named after the ship Empire Windrush that brought a group of 802 migrants to the port of Tilbury, near London, on 22 June 1948. June 22 is now celebrated as Windrush Day.

This year, on June 22, ADIFF-Chicago pays homage to those men and women who migrated from the Caribbean to the UK, with three films on Black life in the UK. The film illustrates the contribution of the new arrivals to the UK environment. The Windrush marked the British society in a way that still resonates. The music, the food the arts and the culture of the country changed tremendously.

Jamaican born Cassie McFarlane
stars in “Burning an Illusion”

Opening the program is Burning an Illusion, the first British film to give a Black woman a voice of any kind. The film stars Jamaican born actor Cassie McFarlane in a very engaging performance. Hanging Out is a documentary about diversity in youth culture in London in the 1950s, 1960s up to the early 2000s. No Shade – which explores the human experience of the next generation of Black British citizens – is about colorism and dating in London’s vibrant Black community today. No Shade will screen twice: on June 22 @ 5:30 p.m. and again on Tuesday, June 25 @ 8:30 p.m.

Other highlights include:

  • CARIBBEAN PROGRAMS with films from Barbados, Jamaica and Haiti including Catch a Fire by Menelik Shabazz, a film about the legacy of Paul Bogle in Jamaica and Barrow: Freedom Fighter by Marcia Weekes, which narrates the story of the man who made history as the leader of Barbados independence from more than 300 years of British rule.
  • PAFF favorite Rattlesnakes by award-winning writer/director Julius Amedume, is a Neo Noir psychological thriller about Robert McQueen, a healer ambushed by three masked men who accuse him of sleeping with their wives.

Opening Night film, Ali’s Comeback: The Untold Story by Art Jones, is a fascinating documentary that recounts the unsung saga that broke boxing’s blacklist status of Muhammad Ali, the champion who said “no” to war and racism.

  • This year’s Centerpiece – presented in collaboration with media sponsor Chicago Crusader – Pardons of Innocence: The Wilmington Ten by Cash Michaels. This powerful documentary retraces the violence that led to the false prosecution and convictions of eight Black male students, a white female community organizer, and fiery Civil Rights activist Rev. Benjamin Chavis for protesting the racial injustice associated with the troubled desegregation of New Hanover County Public School System in North Carolina during the late 1960s through 1971;

The Robeson Effect by Juney Smith. Actors Danny Glover and Ben Guillory share with the audience the extraordinary story of their 50-year friendship, some of their life’s journey, their artistic journey and their shared admiration of Paul Robeson, which led them to the creation of the Robey Theatre Company in Los Angeles, California;

Black Mexicans (La Negrada) by Jorge Perez Solano, the first Mexican feature film about the Afro-Mexican community, filmed entirely with people from different towns around the Costa Chica in Oaxaca.

The 17th Annual African 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, The DuSable Heritage Association and media sponsors The Reader and the Chicago Crusader. The African Diaspora International Film Festival is a 501(c)(3) not for profit organization.

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 or Tickets are $15 for Opening Night, $12 for the Centerpiece and Closing Night, $10 and $8 for students and seniors for general admission for regular screenings and $5 for Facets members. The Festival Pass is $85, Weekend Pass $60, Sat Day and Sun Day Passes: $25.

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