The fall film festival beat marches on, as the African Diaspora International Film Festival (ADIFF), here in New York City, kicks off its 2012 edition (also its 20th anniversary, a milestone year) on November 23rd, running through December 11th.
As we continue to look forward to seeing what this year's full lineup of films looks like (a few titles have already been teased), New Yorkers will be especially glad to know that the opening night film for this year's event will be Nigerian filmmaker Tony Abulu's cross-continental drama/thriller, Doctor Bello, a film S&A readers should already be familiar with, as we've been covering it since it began production earlier this year.
The Nollywood/Hollywood collaboration stars Isaiah Washington, Vivica A. Fox, Jimmy Jean-Louis, Bern Cohen, Genevieve Nnaji (maybe the most internationally well-known Nollywood actress), Stephanie Okereke (also a well-known Nollywood actress) and Victor Browne.
Its story centers on an American oncologist (played by Washington) who will risk everything to get his hands on the cure for cancer, which has been found in the Nigeria.
Here's the full synopsis:
Brilliant Cancer specialist Dr. Michael Durant ( Isaiah Washington) is emotionally troubled, wrestling with the traumatic loss of his 10 year old daughter from Cancer. Immersing himself in his work in the hospital, away from his wife ( Vivica A. Fox) he forms an unlikely bond with a sick, loving, but rambunctious 11 year old boy Sam, the son of a rich Jewish couple who are major contributors to the hospital Cancer research fund.Unfortunately, Sam’s health deteriorates drastically, and with only a few days to live. Dr. Durant becomes desperate, willing to risk anything to save the child’s life. A surreptitious Nigerian Nurse convinces him to seek the help of Dr. Bello ( Jimmy Jean Louis), an uncertified Nigerian Doctor with a controversial past, known in the Brooklyn-African underground as a miracle worker. Dr. Bello secretly administers a strange African potion, replete with incantations to Sam and miraculously, the child begins to recover, the Cancer speeding into remission. Little did Dr. Durant know that this would start a criminal investigation by the hospital board, and eventually lead him to a mysterious, riveting journey of self discovery, love, forgiveness, and hope in the mysterious “Garden of life,” lodged deep in the recesses of Nigeria’s sky mountains.
The film made its world premiere late last month at the Kennedy Center for Performing Arts, in Washington, DC, and it'll now have its New York premiere, as well as the honor of opening the African Diaspora International Film Festival, as it celebrates its 20th anniversary – one of the oldest and most regarded diaspora film festivals in the country, if not the world.
None of us at S&A has seen the film yet, so this is a nice surprise, as well as an opportunitiy to be one of the first to see it. And of course, we'll share our thoughts about it when that time comes.
And as we've noted in previous posts, we're big fans of these kinds of cross-continental, diaspora collaborations – in this case, between African American and African talents – and we're looking forward to seeing what the end result looks, sounds and feels like.
Isaiah Washington in anything dramatically raises expectations.
You can purchase ADIFF festival pases today at a discount; The VAP (Very Artsy Person) Pass (discounted to $225 from $250 until October 15)gives access to all festival events, including Opening Night, Closing Night and all special events. The Regular pass gives access to all the regular screenings for $160, or $145 before October 15. Tickets can be purchasd HERE.
Over 60 Films are scheduled to screen over the course of the 19-day Festival; we're looking forward to learning about the rest.
Check out the ADIFF opening night announcement poster, as well as the film's trailer, below: