From June 15-18, the Chicago African Diaspora International Film Festival (ADIFF Chicago) celebrates its 20th anniversary with programs and screenings of 10 films from seven countries at the Siskel Film Center, 164 N. State St., and FACETS Multimedia, 1517 W. Fullerton Ave.
Since its inception, ADIFF Chicago has explored culturally significant films that explore the Black and Indigenous experience, giving a multidimensional voice to often misrepresented realities and peoples.
Several films in this year’s festival explore the interaction between immigrants and their surroundings. In the Opening Night film “Ludi” by Edson Jean (USA), we follow Haitian nurse Ludi Alcidor as she embarks on a frantic scour through Miami’s private caretaking world in an increasingly desperate attempt to send money to her family in Haiti.
“Angels on Diamond Street,” by Petr Lom (Netherlands/USA), follows three African American women fighting for social justice in a Black church in Philadelphia with their soup kitchen and their embrace of a family of Mexican refugees.
“Yafa, Forgiveness,” by Christian Lara (France/Guadeloupe), explores the social and economic dynamics at work in the relationship between an African immigrant in Paris and a Caribbean policeman from Guadeloupe as they seek to understand each other.
Two new African films present the work of young upcoming African filmmakers: “The Africologist,” by Valerio Lopes (Cape Verde), is an innovative Afrofuturist documentary that takes us on an exploratory journey into the past, present and future of Africa. “Blind Eye,” by Mengameli Nhlabathi (South Africa), is a thriller that explores the mechanism behind the all too real corruption problems in South African society today.
Mercurial blues-man Fantastic Negrito faces his demons amid the mental health crisis ravaging his Oakland community in the dynamic music documentary “Fantastic Negrito: Have You Lost Your Mind Yet?” by Francisco Núñez Capriles and Yvan Iturriaga (USA).
“Music Pictures: New Orleans” by Ben Chace (USA) gives us legacy portraits and a rare backstage access into the lives and craft of four New Orleans music legends: Irma Thomas – the reigning “Soul Queen of New Orleans,” Little Freddie King, Ellis Marsalis and The Tremé Brass Band.
ADIFF’s Spotlight On Mali presents two films: “Wùlu,” by Daouda Coulibaly, is an urgent and vibrant African thriller that follows Ladji (a beautifully understated Ibrahim Koma) who, when he loses out on a job opportunity, is lured into the lucrative but highly dangerous world of drug smuggling.
The other film, “Dancing the Twist In Bamako” (Twist À Bamako) by Robert Guédiguian, is set in the early 1960s, as Mali’s capital city celebrates the country’s independence from French colonial rule. The idealistic Samba works toward creating a more just nation by day, and dances to Otis Redding and the Supremes with his spirited girlfriend Lara by night.
ADIFF’s Closing Night film is “Move When the Spirit Says Move: The Legacy of Dorothy Foreman Cotton,” an inspiring portrait of Dorothy Foreman Cotton, a courageous and overlooked key player in the Civil Rights Movement, and a bold and highly effective leader who educated thousands in their citizenship rights and inspired generations of activists with her powerful freedom songs.
Director/Producer Deborah C. Hoard and Executive Producer and Senior Advisor Laura Branca will be in attendance for a post screening discussion and reception in celebration of Juneteenth.
For a full schedule and to order advance tickets online, call 773-281-4114 or 212-864-1760 or visit www.facets.org or www.NYADIFF.org. Tickets are $13 general admission, $10 for groups of 10 and FACETS members. The All-Access Weekend Pass is $65.
The ADIFF Chicago Film Festival is made possible thanks to the generous support of FACETS Multimedia, Siskel Film Center and ArtMattan Productions. The African Diaspora International Film Festival is a 501(c)(3) not for profit organization.
Elaine Hegwood Bowen, M.S.J., is the Entertainment Editor for the Chicago Crusader. She is a National Newspaper Publishers Association ‘Entertainment Writing’ award winner, contributor to “Rust Belt Chicago” and the author of “Old School Adventures from Englewood: South Side of Chicago.” For info, Old School Adventures from Englewood—South Side of Chicago (lulu.com) or email: [email protected].