Friday, November 28, 2014

22nd Annual African Diaspora International Film Festival starts this Friday, Nov. 28, 2014

ADIFF is back in New York City with a great line up of award-winning films that explore the human experience of people of color all over the world.

Among the films set to have their New York premiere in ADIFF 2014 are films featured in international film festivals such as Toronto, Montreal, Durban, Rotterdam, Palm Spring and Los Angeles Film Fests including Opening Night film Supremacy by the producers of Django Unchained with Danny Glover, Derek Luke and Lela Rochon.

Presented at the Toronto International Film Festival are the gripping and provocative Finish dramedy Heart of a Lion by Dome Karukosi, a film with “a lot of heart and warmth” (Betsy Sharkey, Los Angeles Times) about a Neo-Nazi who falls for a woman with a black son from a previous marriage and 2014 New Zealand’s foreign-language Oscar submissionWhite Lies by Dana Rotberg, a period drama based on a novella by “Whale Rider” author Witi Ihimaera that explores deep inner and societal conflicts between a wealthy woman, her servant and the Moari healer they seek out for assistance.

First presented at the Montreal World Film Festival is the impressive epic drama based on a true story, Ninga Queen of Angola by Sergio Graciano, about a 17thcentury Queen who fought for freedom against Portuguese colonialism.

Kajarya by Madhureeeta Anand, a compelling and disturbing women centered drama that decries the social hypocrisy around the practice of killing baby girls in India and the national award winning filmNames Unknown by Charu Ahuja, which takes a critical look at the life of marginalized people in the Kerala region of India are part of a selection of films about Indian people in and out of India.

Screened at the Rotterdam International Film Festival, Diego Star by Frederick Pelletier, a drama about Traore, a mechanic from the Ivory Coast who is forced to spend the winter in a small town in Quebec after an accident on board his ship is “a stark, touching tale about the common humanity that connects people from alien backgrounds, and the institutionalized inhumanity that drives them apart.” Peter Keough Boston Globe

Other noteworthy premieres in ADIFF 2014 include Scorsese’s Marrakech International Film festival Jury Winner for best Actor Fevers by Hicham Ayouch about a 13 year old boy at war with life, adults and himself and the South African drama with a distinctly local flavor The Two of Us by first time filmmaker Ernest Nkosi – which made its world premiere at the Durban International Film Festival in August - about a very turbulent sibling relationship between Thulas and Zanele and their lives in the Alexandra township.

The Two of Us is one of the highlights of the ADIFF 2014 South Africa: 20 Years of Democracyprogram presented in collaboration with the South African Department of Arts and Culture, the NFVF and the Kwazulu-Natal Film Commission.  Four other outstanding films in this program are the entertaining South African hit dramedy Between Friends by Zuko Nodada to screen as the festival Centerpiece, the hit comedy Material by Craig Friemond about a Muslim comedian and his rigid father,Letters to Zorha by Saskia Vredeveld, the untold story of Ahmed Kathrada, a freedom fighter who spent 26 years in prison in Robben island with Nelson Mandela, and the revealing documentary I, Afrikaner by Analet Steenkamp which documents four generations of the director’s family in post-apartheid South Africa.

Also premiering in the festival this year are Closing Night film Obama Mama, a documentary about Stanley Ann Dunham, mother of the nation's first black president, Gala Screening Bound: Africans vs. African Americans, a documentary about the tensions between these two groups, and the U.S. premiere of Steps to Liberty, a documentary by Rokhaya Diallo that describes the 1984 March for Equality and Against Racism in France and its repercussion today.  Steps to Liberty will close a full day of screenings around the theme France and the Race Issue.

The program Blacks in Latin America, sponsored in part by the Academy of Motion Picture and Science, will feature 20 films including the two documentaries Oggun: An Eternal Presence andReshipment and the three part series 1912, Breaking the Silence by award-winning Afro-Cuban filmmaker Gloria Rolando who will complete her acclaimed US wide tour with ADIFF 2014.

Many of the directors and actors for the films in the festival will be on hand for question-and-answer sessions following the screenings.

For more information about the 22nd Annual African Diaspora International Film Festival, to receive the complete line up, screeners and high resolution images please contact Diarah N’Daw-Spech at (212) 864-1760/ fax (212) 316-6020 or e-mail ( Festival web site: (


Described by film critic Armond White as “a festival that symbolizes diaspora as more than just anthropology,” ADIFF has managed to increase the presence of independent Afrocentric films from all over the world in the general American specialty movie scene by launching films such as The Trackerby Rolf de Heer (Australia), Kirikou and the Sorceress by Michel Ocelot (France), Gospel Hill by Giancarlo Esposito (USA), Darrat/Dry Season by Mahamat-Saleh Haroun (Chad), The First Rasta by Helene Lee (France/Jamaica)The Story of Lovers Rock by Menelik Shabazz (UK) Scheherazade, Tell Me a Story by Yousry Nasrallah (Egypt),  The Pirogue by Moussa Touré and Jews of Egypt by Amir Ramses among others.

Attracting a wider cross-section of cinephiles and audiences of African-American, Caribbean, African, Latino and European ethnic backgrounds that share a common interest for good stories about the human experience of people of color, ADIFF is now a national and international event with festivals held in New York City, Chicago, Washington DC, and Paris, France.

The African Diaspora International Film Festival is a 501(c)(3) not for profit organization.

The 22nd annual New York African Diaspora International Film Festival is made possible thanks to the support of the following institutions and individuals: ArtMattan productions; the Office of the Vice President for Diversity and Community Affairs, Teachers College, Columbia University; the New York City Council in the Arts; New York City Council Member Inez E. Dickens; the French Cultural Services; South African Department of Arts and Culture; the NFVF; The Academy of Motion Picture and Science, the Guadeloupe Island Tourist Board, Thalia Cinema at Symphony Space, the Délégation Générale du Québec à New York, TV5 Monde, The Village Voice, WBAI and Public funds from the New York State Council on the Arts, a state agency.  ADIFF is a proud member of the Harlem Arts Alliance.

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