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African Diaspora International Film Festival (ADIFF)

The 7th Annual African Diaspora International Film Festival (ADIFF) in Jersey City, New Jersey, will be held this year at St. Paul’s Episcopal Church, presenting an exciting selection of films from around the world including Ghana, Brazil and the U.S., to coincide with the Martin Luther King Jr. Weekend, January 14 – 16.

Opening Night Film: WHITE BOY BROWN
Jersey City Premiere
USA, 2009, 88 min, drama, English, Sean Sawyer dir.
Armed with only a very important letter, Curtis Brown, a young black man embarks on the most difficult journey of his life, a journey that will force him to confront his own demons of hatred and prejudice, while rediscovering a love, long lost for his adopted white brother Johnny. Through a series of flashbacks and stories, Curtis learns of the life of a brother he once knew, a life of a brother who, although being white, experienced the same racism he himself experienced, ultimately binding the two together.

Jersey City Premiere
Ghana/West Germany, 2006, 95 minutes, Comedy (English), King Ampaw, Director
A hearse driver meets and falls in love with a young, beautiful dancer who is planning an elaborate homegoing celebration for her mother. This comedy follows the hearse driver as he does everything to win the affection of the young woman.

Jersey City Premiere
USA, 2009, 60 minutes, Documentary (English), Carvin Eison, Director
The shrouded history of lynching in America is the subject of a powerful new documentary from producer/director Carvin Eison. During the late 19th and much of the 20th century, countless numbers of African-Americans were murdered at the end of a rope. In the age of Obama, have we reconciled this misshapen history or does its legacy live on? “Let sleeping dogs lie…” is a way of saying leave that certain thing alone, it could hurt you. Shadows of the Lynching Tree kicks the sleeping dog and awakens a troublesome past. The dog is awake, will we finally confront the beast or does it return to an uneasy slumber?”

Senegal/Switzerland/Luxembourg, 2006, 108 minutes, Musical Documentary (English and French with English subtitles), Pierre-Yves Borgeaud, Director
A musical road movie, Youssou N’Dour: Return to Gorée follows Senegalese singer Youssou N’Dour’s historical journey tracing the trail left by slaves and the jazz music they created. Youssou N’Dour’s challenge is to bring back to Africa a jazz repertoire of his own songs to perform a concert in Gorée, the island that today symbolizes the slave trade and stands to honor its victims.

Jersey City Premiere
Martinique/France/Algeria/Tunisia, 2001, 52 minutes, Documentary (French with English subtitles), Cheikh Djemai, Director
Frantz Fanon was a psychiatrist, originally from Martinique, who became a spokesman for the Algerian revolution against French colonialism. Embittered by his experience with racism in the French Army, he gravitated to radical politics, Sartrean existentialism and the philosophy of black consciousness known as negritude. His 1952 book, Black Skin, White Masks, offers a penetrating analysis of racism and of the ways in which it is internalized by its victims. While secretly aiding the rebels of the Algerian anti-colonial war as a doctor in Algeria, Fanon cared for victims and perpetrators alike, producing case notes that shed invaluable light on the psychic traumas of colonial war. Expelled from Algeria in 1956, Fanon moved to Tunis where he wrote for El Moudjahid, the rebel newspaper, founded Africa’s first psychiatric clinic, and wrote several influential books on decolonization. The film traces the short and intense life of one of the great thinkers of the 20th century.

Jersey City Premiere
Cape Verde/Portugal, 2001, 52 minutes, Historical Documentary (Portuguese with English subtitles), Ana Ramos Lisboa, Director
Amilcar Cabral was the leader of the Liberation Movement of Cape Verde and Guinea Bissau and the founder of the African Party for the Independence of Guinea Bissau and Cape Verde (PAIGC). He was born in Guinea in 1924 and assassinated in Conakry in 1973. Regarded as a true icon of African history, this documentary provides considerable background to this revolutionary giant and reveals Cabral in several dimensions: as a man, a father, politician, humanist and poet. The documentary is skillfully produced and uses a wealth of rare archive footage, balanced inclusion of varied testimonies of important African personalities and the credible recreation of notable episodes of Cabral’s life.

Brazil, 2001, 100 minutes, Drama (Portuguese with English subtitles), Geraldo Santos Pereira, Director
Set in 19th century Brazil at a time when slavery was still at the foundation of the Latin American economy, this fascinating historical drama is loosely based on the life of sculptor Antonio Francisco Lisboa (“Aleijadinho”), one of Latin America’s greatest sculptors.

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