The 2015 African Diaspora International Film Festival taking place from November 27 through December 13, in Manhattan, will showcase a selection of films coming from the Caribbean and about Caribbean people out of the Caribbean.
The Black British Film Program is comprised of a selection of four films about the presence of Black people in the UK with a very strong Caribbean flavor in front and behind the camera.
Let The Music Talk by Yvonne Deutchmann is a 1981 musical documentary never screened in the USA before. It tells the story of black music in Britain, from the calypso of Lord Kitchener arriving on the SS Windrush in 1948, gospel choirs, griots from Grenada, steel pans in schools and at the Notting Hill Carnival, jazz, Afro-rock, soul-funk with the Real Thing, reggae with Misty in Roots and Eddy Grant.
The Story of Lovers Rock by Menelik Shabazz – a favorite of ADIFF – tells the story of Lovers Rock as a musical genre and gives a voice to the Caribbean descendant people who created that music and culture in the UK.
Honeytrap by Rebecca Johnson plays out as a tragedy. It tells a story of fifteen-year-old Layla (Jessica Sula – Skins), a beautiful and naive Trinidadian girl who, freshly arrived from her native land, quickly embarks on a journey of love, sex, hip hop and violence.
“Second Coming” by Debbie Tucker Green is an emotional and intimate drama about a woman in a London family who faces a dilemma with her husband (Idris Elba) and the tensions and communication issues associated with her situation.
Other films in the festival have a Caribbean flavor including NY Premiere and festival Centerpiece “Cu-Bop: Cuba – New York Music Documentary” by Japanese filmmaker Shinishi Takahashi. Separated by an ocean, two Cuban jazz musicians continue to perform in spite of the difficulties they face. César López is recognized as Cuba’s premier saxophonist, having founded his landmark jazz band, the Havana Ensemble, in his native country. The gifted young pianist Axel Tosca lives in New York City, the leader of (U)NITY, a band which fuses Afro-Cuban culture with modern jazz and hip-hop. With this documentary for all music lovers, first-time filmmaker Shinichi Takahashi explores the African roots of Cuban jazz and documents what happens when expats return to the source of their inspiration. The screening will be followed by a concert with Axel Tosca and his band.
Shot in Haiti and Bangladesh, “A Journey of a Thousand Miles” tells us a story of two countries that are embarked in a mutual discovery of sorts. A contingent of Muslim, Bangladeshi policewomen is deployed in Haiti to serve as UN Peacekeepers to maintain peace after the 2010 earthquake. We then learn, as the camera follows three of these Muslims women, about life in Haiti and Bangladesh and the challenges faced by the population in both countries.
“Black / Nwa,” a “Hood” film set in Montreal, Canada that chronicles the lives of four people – including several youths of Haitian descent – living in a neighborhood plagued by poverty and violence, aspiring to freedom and happiness.
“Sand Dollars” (pictured in main image above) by Laura Amelia Guzman and Israel Cardenas is a film from the Dominican Republic submitted to the Oscar competition in the foreign film category. “Sand Dollars” is the story of Noeli (Yanet Mojica) whose love affair with Anne (Geraldine Chaplin) a woman double her age, is a rare subject in films.