Continuing on with the day-to-day happenings at the ongoing African Diaspora International Film Festival here in NYC…
Here are a few highlights from today's lineup, Sunday, December 4.
Tunisia: At 7PM, at the Thalia Theatre, the Gala screening and US premiere of Raja Amari's Buried Secrets. Aicha, Radia and their mother live removed from the world, in the underground servant's quarters of a deserted mansion. The precarious balance of their daily life is shaken by the arrival of a young modern couple who move into the main house. A dark, subterranean fairy tale set in a contemporary Tunisian context, this award winning film explores the effects of reclusion on the female psyche, as well as the repressed desires that come as a result.
A Q&A with the director will follow after the screening, as well as a catered reception.
Cameroon: At 4pm, at Teacher's College, a screening of The Big Banana, a documentary that exposes multinational corporations culpability in the land grab of Africa, which makes us reconsider where we get our fruit from. Banned in Cameroon, The Big Banana illustrates the poor working conditions in banana plantations and exposes the adverse impact of corporato-cracy government on the people while reaping super profits for corporations. The side effects of plantation corporations on the people of Africa – and everywhere else in the world – are abject poverty and environmental degradation from chemical fumigation.
Director Franck Bieleu will be present for a Q&A after the screening.
India/Kenya/Zambia/Brazil/Mexico/Cuba: At 6pm, screening at Teacher's college will be Greening The Revolution; also a New York City Premiere. This stunning documentary explores the far-reaching effects of international food injustice, from world hunger to the consumption of industrial food. Using food as a symbol of inequality, the documentary explains and exposes the corrupt cycle of globalization that perpetuates systems of poverty and oppressive social control. The documentary then presents hope: successful, sustainable communities achieving food justice and freedom through the power of the people. Filmed in India, Kenya, Zambia, Brazil, Mexico, Cuba, Haiti and the United States.
Director Katie Curran will headline a panel discussion after the screening, moderated by Kazembe Balagun, the Outreach Coordinator at the Brecht Forum.
And films highlighted earlier in the festival that are screening again today, if you missed them yesterday…
Menelik Shabazz's The Story Of Lovers Rock, at Quad Cinema, screening at 9:40PM tonight, and every night for the next 7 days or so; see it while you can. Lovers Rock, often dubbed 'romantic reggae' is a uniquely black British sound that developed in the late 70s and 80s against a backdrop of riots, racial tension and sound systems. Live performance, comedy sketches, dance, interviews and archive shed light on the music and the generation that embraced it. Lovers Rock allowed young people to experience intimacy and healing through dance- known as 'scrubbing'- at parties and clubs. This dance provided a coping mechanism for what was happening on the streets. Lovers Rock developed into a successful sound with national UK hits and was influential to British bands (Police, Culture Club, UB40). These influences underline the impact the music was making in bridging the multi-cultural gap that polarized the times. The film sheds light on a forgotten period of British music, social and political history.
Earlier in the day, screening at 1pm and also at 7:25pm, also at Quad Cinema, Independent Spirit Award nominee, An African Election.
An unprecedented insider's view of the political, economic and social forces at work in Ghana during the 2008 presidential elections depicting the pride and humanity of the larger-than-life politicians, party operatives and citizens who battle for the soul of their country.
A Q&A with director Jarreth Merz will follow after the screenings.
And lastly, The First Rasta, screening at the Quad at 5:25pm. Thirty years after Bob Marley's death, it is time to pay tribute to Leonard Percival Howell, The First Rasta.
At the beginning of the last century, the young Leonard Percival Howell (1893- 1981) left Jamaica, became a sailor and traveled the world. On his way, he chanced upon all the ideas that stirred his time. From Bolshevism to New Thought, from Gandhi to Anarchism, from Garveyism to psychoanalysis, he sought to find his promised land. With this cocktail of ideas Leonard "Going" Howell returned to Jamaica and founded Pinnacle, the first Rasta community.
Those are just a few highlights on the program for today. Download the full schedule HERE if you haven't already.
I spent part of this weekend catching up with all these films (and those not mentioned that are scheduled to screen at the festival) via DVD screeners, courtesy of the festival; reviews of each which will be posted here on S&A during the week.