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17th Annual African Diaspora International Film Festival – Chicago June 21-27, 2019

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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 fict- ions 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!


alis comeback e1558041421600The 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. The year is 1970. It has been three and a half years since Muhammad Ali was stripped of his title. Convicted of draft evasion. Threatened with imprisonment. Banned in all 50 states, he is unable to work in the field for which he has no equal. The wide door on his illustrious career seems to be closing. But in Atlanta, Georgia, an astute white businessman, a visionary Black senator, and a progressive Jewish mayor came together to make it possible for Ali to resume his amazing boxing career.

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Ali’s Comeback: The Untold Story

This year’s Centerpiece – presented in collaboration with media sponsor the Chicago Crusader and the National Newspaper Publisher Association is 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 F. 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.

Closing night will be a very local event with the presentation of two Chicagoan independent filmmakers whose films tell us stories of family trouble, love, sexual orientation and growing up “Black in America. Short film “Made in His Image” by 13-year-old Anah Ambuchi denounces bullying and “Thicker Than Blood” by Anthony L. Williams is a LGBT drama that explores with great sensitivity the themes of tolerance, connection, beliefs and faith within an African-American middle class family.

In 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.


The festival is presenting a selection of films about Black Life in the UK. With an important population of African descendants participating in many levels of British society, the UK Black Experience in films provides a very interesting window on the global Black experience. The Spotlight on the UK Black Experience program travels from the 1981 London with Burning an Illusion by Menelik Shabazz to contemporary London with No Shade by Clare Anyiam-Osigwe telling stories around music – with Hanging Out: Youth Culture Then and Now by Lorna Holder and Yvonne Deutschman – and the troubles of Black women looking for love in London.


The Caribbean is a part of the Americas that has a rich legacy. Two films from Jamaica and Barbados respectively pay homage to two great men in the region. Catch a Fire by Menelik Shabaz­­z is a film about the legacy of Paul Bogle in Jamaica and Barrow: Freedom Fighter by Marcia Weekes narrates the story of the man who made history as the leader of Barbados independence from more than 300 years of British rule.

Presented in collaboration with the Dusable Heritage Association is Out of Chaos, An Artist’s Journey in Haiti by Pascal Giacomini. Invited by the Ghetto Biennale of Port au Prince, the multimedia artist Pascal Giacomini spends a month in the community of Grand Rue. He works there, using only what he can find and recycle to create three large sculptures, exhibited at the end of the festival with local artists.


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

Kinshasa Makambo by Dieudo Hamadi follows young activists who fight for change in the Democratic Republic of the Congo.

Tazzeka by Jean-Philippe Gaud is an ode to good food and friendship about Elias, a talented young Moroccan cook whose meeting with a top Paris chef and a young woman inspire him to leave home for Paris, France.

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.

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 please call 773-281-4114 or 212-864-1760 or visit or Tickets are $15 for Opening Night, $12 for the Centerpiece, the Special Presentations 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.  Advance ticket sales are available here:

For screeners, press information, and interviews for the 17th Annual African Diaspora Film Festival-Chicago, contact ArtMattan Productions at  (212) 864-1760 / Fax (212) 316-6020 or E-mail [email protected]. Festival web site:



Friday, June 21

6:30pm  The Robeson Effect – Q&A


8pm to 9pm reception

9pm  Ali’s Comeback: The Untold Story – Q&A

Saturday, June 22

Spotlight on the Black Experience in the UK

2 pm  Burning an Illusion – Restored copy

4:00 pm  Hanging Out: Youth Culture Then and Now

5:30 pm  No Shade



Pardons Of Innocence: The Wilmington Ten – Q&A

Sunday, June 23

2 pm  Caribbean Leaders:  Catch A Fire  & Barrow: Freedom Fighter

4:30 pm  Out of Chaos, An Artist’s Journey in Haiti – Q&A

6:00pm to 7:00pm RECEPTION

6:30 pm  Black Mexicans

Monday, June 24

6:30pm  Kinshasa Makambo

8:00pm  Tazzeka

Tuesday, June 25

6:30pm Barrow Freedom Fighter

8:30pm No Shade

Wednesday, June 26

6:30pm Ali’s Comeback

8:00pm Rattlesnake

Thursday, June 27

6:30pm   –  The Robeson Effect

CLOSING NIGHT reception 7:30 pm to 9:00pm

8:30pm Made in His Image – Q&A & Thicker Than Blood – Q&A

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