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The Man Who Mends Women, The Wrath of Hippocrates
The Man Who Mends Women, The Wrath of Hippocrates

The 14th edition of the Chicago African Diaspora International Film Festival (ADIFF) will be held from June 10 to 16, 2016, hosted by Facets Cinematheque and presented by ArtMattan Productions.

The 2016 Chicago African Diaspora International Film Festival will showcase 20 shorts, documentaries and fiction films set in The United States, Australia, Cuba, Jamaica, Canada, Haiti, Spain, New Zealand, Belgium, France, Nigeria, The Democratic Republic of Congo, and Egypt.

The festival will open with the Chicago Premiere screening of The Man Who Mends Women, The Wrath of Hippocrates by Thierry Michel and Colette Braeckman, a powerful documentary about Doctor Denis Mukwege who is internationally known as the man who mends thousands of women who have been sexually assaulted during the 20 years of conflicts in the East of the Democratic Republic of the Congo. His son, Dr. Alain Mukwege, will be in attendance to discuss the amazing work done in DRC at their Panzi Hospital by his father and his team.

The participation of African-American soldiers in the Spanish Civil War is a little known episode in the history of the quest for freedom that characterizes the African-American Experience. In Invisible Heroes: African-Americans in the Spanish Civil War we get to know some of those African-Americans who were part of the Abraham Lincoln Brigade in Spain. Eric Smith, Author of American Relief Aid and the Spanish Civil War will participate in a Q&A after the screening.

There is a strong Caribbean flavor in the festival this year. Haiti, Cuba, Jamaica and Trinidad and Tobago are the context in which several stories unfold. Toussaint Louverture by Philippe Niang, Maluala by Sergio Giral, Catch a Fire by Menelik Shabazz and The First Rasta by Helene Lee speak to the rebellious nature of the Caribbean Experience during colonial times. Both Catch a Fire and The First Rasta will be presented in the Centerpiece program JAMAICAN HISTORY to be hosted by sociologist, editor and publisher Ras Sekou Tafari, owner of Frontline Distribution International, Inc., Chicago’s premier Rastafari & Pan-African book publisher and book distributor.

Ninth Floor
Ninth Floor

Ninth Floor by Mina Shum and La Belle Vie / The Good Life by Rachelle Salnave speak about more recent moments in the history of the region in and out of the Caribbean. Both films address the presence of Caribbean people out of that region and the troubles and tribulations of their experience in Canada and the United States respectively. The screening of The Good Life is sponsored by Chicago’s DuSable Heritage Association and director Rachelle Salnave will be on hand for a reception and Q&A after the screening.

ADIFF Chicago 2016 features a rich selection of films directed by women from different parts of the world. Leading the selection is Jeryl Prescott Sales’ Stand Down Soldier, a poignant film about an African-American female soldier back to civilian life after serving in Iraq and Afghanistan. The social significance of this film is quite remarkable as viewers are rarely exposed to stories like the one told in this film.

The Spring Revolution in several North-African countries impacted the Muslim world, and women were very much involved in that movement. Austrian filmmaker Alexandra Schneider goes to Egypt in 2012 to show in her film Private Revolutions some of the issues women still face after revolutionary changes swept that country. Sound of Tears by Dorothy A. Atabong and Sexy Money by Karin Junger also explore the challenges faced by African women today in Canada, Europe and Nigeria.

The women-centered award-winning drama White Lies by Dana Rotberg is back in Chicago after a national tour that took this New Zealand film to New York City, Santa Fe, Austin, Hartford and many other cities. The film will be screened with White Like The Moon by Marina Gonzales Palmier.

The recent election of a Muslim mayor to run the city of London is a clear example of the Muslim presence in major European cities. It also illustrates how people of color of different religious persuasions are active participants at different levels in the government structures in several European nations. However, the lives of people of color in Europe are not easy lives as many must confront daily obstacles in their new homes. Image by Adil El Arbi and Bilall Fallah and Fevers by Hicham Ayouch are two films that look with a critical stance at the lives of North-Africans living in France and Belgium. Fevers won in 2015 the top prize – the Golden Yennenga Stallion – at FESPACO, the biggest African film festival which is held in Ouagadougou, the capital of Burkina Faso.

Other films in the selection are the classic drama starring famous Australian Aboriginal actor David Gulpilil, The Tracker by Rolf de Heer and three films in the African-American Shorts program: The psychological horror film Paralysis by R. Shanea Williams, social drama Watch This by Richard Turke and chess documentary Sideline by Chicago-based director Kirby Ashley who will attend the screening for a Q&A.

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