The Crusader Newspaper Group

Danny Glover and Ben Guillory In ‘The Paul Robeson Effect’ @ Adiff Chicago

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 lineup 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 this year’s festival is the documentary 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 journeys, 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.

Director Juney Smith will attend the ADIFF Chicago premiere screening of The Robeson Effect  at Facets Cinematheque (1517 W. Fullerton Ave.) on Friday, June 21 @ 6:30 p.m. A native New Yorker and graduate of LIU Brooklyn, Mr. Smith is a veteran actor of stage, screen and television, whose credits include numerous television shows such as FBI, Blue Bloods, Law and Order SVU and all the way back to The White Shadow and Hill St. Blues.  His films include co-starring in two classics, Good Morning, Vietnam as “Phil McPherson” and Lethal Weapon 2 as “Detective Wyler.”

In 2018, he produced and directed King of Stage: The Woodie King Jr. Story, which won The Board of Directors Award for Best Feature Documentary at the 2018 Pan African Film Festival and won Mr. Smith a Best Directors Award. The Robeson Effect is his most recent film.

Tickets are available at to watch The Robeson Effect during ADIFF Chicago 2019 and meet Mr. Smith in person for a Q&A.

The Robeson Effect is one of many spectacular films to be presented in ADIFF Chicago this year between June 21 and 27, 2019.

Other highlights include:

  • This year’s Opening Night film Ali’s Comeback: The Untold Story by Art Jones, 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 had 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.
  • This year’s Centerpiece – presented in collaboration with media sponsor Chicago Crusader – 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 Chavis for protesting the racial injustice associated with the troubled desegregation of the New Hanover County Public School System in North Carolina during the late 1960s through 1971;
  • A Spotlight on the UK Black Experience program travels from 1981 London with Burning an Illusion by Menelik Sabbaz 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;

CARIBBEAN PROGRAMS with films from Barbados, Jamaica and Haiti;

  • Another 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.

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, Saturday and Sunday Passes: $25 for each day. Advance ticket sales are available.



Friday, June 21

6:30 p.m.  The Robeson Effect – Q&A


8 p.m. to 9 p.m. reception

9 p.m.  Ali’s Comeback: The Untold Story – Q&A

Saturday, June 22

Spotlight on the Black Experience in the UK

2 p.m.  Burning an Illusion – Restored copy

4:00 p.m.  Hanging Out: Youth Culture Then and Now

5:30 p.m.  No Shade

CENTERPIECE RECEPTION 7:00 p.m. to 8:00 p.m.


Pardons Of Innocence: The Wilmington Ten – Q&A

Sunday, June 23

2 p.m.  Caribbean Leaders:  Catch A Fire  & Barrow: Freedom Fighter

4:30 p.m.  Out of Chaos, An Artist’s Journey in Haiti – Q&A 6:00 p.m. to 7:00 p.m. RECEPTION

6:30 p.m.  Black Mexicans

Monday, June 24

6:30 p.m.  Kinshasa Makambo

8:00 p.m.  Tazzeka

Tuesday, June 25

6:30 p.m.  Barrow Freedom Fighter

8:30 p.m.  No Shade

Wednesday, June 26

6:30 p.m.  Ali’s Comeback

8:00 p.m.  Rattlesnake

Thursday, June 27

6:30 p.m.  The Robeson Effect

CLOSING NIGHT reception 7:30 p.m. to 9:00 p.m.

8:30 p.m.  Made in His Image – Q&A & Thicker Than Blood – Q&A

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