The Chicago leg of the African Diaspora International Film Festival returns to the Windy City (in its 12th year!!), starting tomorrow, June 13, running through the 19th.
Facets Cinematheque (located at 1517 W. Fullerton Ave.) will host the series, which is presented by ArtMattan Productions.
This year’s lineup includes a diverse group of diaspora films, as usual, including 14 works of both fiction and non-fiction, representing over a dozen countries around the world, including South Africa, Trinidad & Tobago, Egypt, France, Haiti, Cuba, Dominican Republic, Jamaica, Curacao, Morocco, Argentina, Uruguay, Mexico, and the USA.
Opening the festival will be veteran award-winning documentary filmmaker Stanley Nelson’s “Freedom Summer,” which chronicles and commemorates the violent and bloody summer of 1964 in Mississippi, when hundreds of student volunteers in league with local and national activists and organizers worked to push for voting rights, to bring down the racist segregationists policies and foundations of white supremacy in the nation’s most segregated state.
A catered reception will precede the screening, which will be followed by a discussion with veteran film producer Cyndee Readdean, on the making of the film.
Other highlights include the African American women-focused Trailblazers Program, which includes 2 films: “Josephine Baker: Black Diva in a White Man’s World,” and “Two Dollars and a Dream,” both screenings complemented by a conversation with Professor Zakiya R. Adair, Ph.D., whose areas of specialization are transnational women’s cultural history, African American history and black expressive culture; historical Curaçao-set action/drama “Tula, The Revolt” and “The Jews of Egypt,” which captures the lives of the Egyptian Jewish community from the first half of the twentieth century through the present, are also screening; And a film that highlights, beyond the filmmaker’s homeland Rio de la Plata (Argentina and Uruguay), the contributions of varied African cultures in the creation of the tango, “Tango Negro: The African Roots of Tango,” as well as “Made in Jamaica” (an ambitious musical documentary that presents a loosely-knit exploration of the reggae subculture in all of its facets, through interviews with and performances by renowned acts like Third World, Yellow Man, Bunny Wailer and Bounty Killer) are also both screening this year.
Other programs the festival will feature include a celebration of South Africa Youth Day, presented in collaboration with the Chicago South African Consulate, with “The African Cypher” – a documentary survey of the extraordinary street dance styles across South Africa; and in a program titled “Haiti in the Spanish Speaking Caribbean,” you will find a film called “From Coffee Plantation to the Tumba Francesa,” which traces the origins of “Tumba Francesa” in Cuba: a dance practiced by descendants of Saint-Domingue slaves in accordance with the choreography and religious traditions of their Dahomeyan ancestry. It will be accompanied by the screening of a documentary title “Birthright Crisis,” both of which will be complemented by a discussion with Frantz Voltaire, founder and current chairman of CIDIHCA, a Haitian and Caribbean research center based in Montreal. The discussion will focus on the contributions of the Haitian people to Cuba and the Dominican Republic nations.
Amongst the works of fiction that will screen at the festival this year, are 4 titles that tackle themes of love, friendship, and family, as well as stories in which characters see their convictions challenged, like the Trinidad & Tobago-set “Between Friends,” John Sayles’ “Go for Sisters,” “The Miscreants,” from Morocco/Switzerland, and an African American romantic thriller titled “Love Triangle.”
The 12th 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; TV5 Monde, the Curacao Tourism Corporation, The Quebec Government Office – Chicago and the Embassy of Switzerland – Washington DC.
Facets Cinémathèque is located at 1517 W. Fullerton Ave. in Chicago. For a full schedule and to order advance tickets online, you are advised to call 773-281-4114 or 212-864-1760, or visit http://www.facets.org or http://www.NYADIFF.org. Tickets are $15 for Opening Night and $9 general admission.