Timeless: A Virgin Island Love Story

The African Diaspora International Film Festival (ADIFF) 2018 will celebrate the Caribbean with films from the US Virgin Islands, Puerto Rico, Panama, Martinique, Guadeloupe, Barbados, and T&T.   The Caribbean is a rich reservoir of stories. Films from the region come in many languages. The characters have many origins and skin tones, and all the countries harbor a particular identity.

Opening Night film Timeless: A Virgin Island Love Story travels in time from 19th Century Ghana to the modern day Caribbean. It is the story of Ajuwa, a Ghanaian warrior, who loses her soulmate to the slave trade; their souls reunite in contemporary US Virgin Islands.

Angelica by Marisol Gómez-Mouakad is set in New York and Puerto Rico. Angelica has spent her whole life escaping from her mixed racial identity, but a family crisis forces her to return to Puerto Rico and rethink her life. Cimarronaje in Panama-Panama by Toshi Sakai explores how, two centuries before George Washington or Simon Bolivar dreamed of liberation from European tyranny, enslaved Africans in Panama fought for and gained their independence.

The festival will feature two revealing documentaries: Barrow, Freedom Fighter by Marcia Weekes from Barbados and Every Cook Can Govern: Documenting the Life, Impact & Works of C.L.R. James by Ceri Dingle from T&T. Barrow is a passionate docu-drama about the courage of one man who relentlessly preached a gospel of economic self-reliance and self-respect to the people of his native country Barbados and beyond. The CLR James documentary, in a historical tour-de-force, interweaves never-before-seen footage of C.L.R. James with personal contributions from those who knew him.

THE WINDRUSH AND THE BUMIDON

The Black presence in Europe is not new, but with time, the ambitions of colonial powers and the increasing extreme right wing waves, being Black in Europe implied different connotations.

Post-war UK experienced a massive arrival of people from the Caribbean, known as the Windrush. In the 1980’s arrived from Africa wealthy Nigerians and Ghanaians alongside rural migrants and refugees from Somalia and Zimbabwe. This massive presence of black people gave the UK a new flavor. ADIFF’s Windursh program illustrates Black life in the UK with the presentation of recent and classic films.

In France, the Bumidon system, a structure implemented by the French government to bring folks from their overseas territories mostly Martinique and Guadeloupe to work in France, contributed to making France a multiracial society.

ADIFF-NY 2018 will showcase a selection of films about the human experience of many men and women who left their native lands looking for a better life in the colonial metropolis.

The Story of Lovers Rock and Time and Judgement, by internationally acclaimed Barbados/UK filmmaker Menelik Shabazz, explore the history of the Black UK life experience through the arts – music, spoken word – with performances, archival footage and testimonies. Playing Away by Horace Ove from T&T is one of the ten best Afro-British films of all times. Love story The Naked Poet by Jason Barrett – whose family is from Jamaica – is representative of the work and interests of a new generation of Black British filmmakers.

The BUMIDOM system and its impact are described in They had a dream / Le Rêve Français which tells a story based on reality. It is both a social and a fictional saga, exploring the interconnected lives of two Guadeloupian families to reveal hidden and obscure aspects of French society.

The African Diaspora International Film Festival (ADIFF) celebrates its 26th anniversary from Nov. 23 to Dec. 9 with screenings to be held in five venues in Manhattan: Teachers College, Columbia University, Cinema Village, Riverside Church, The Dwyer Cultural Center and MIST Harlem.Screenings will be held in five venues in Manhattan: Teachers College, Columbia University, Cinema Village, Riverside Church, The Dwyer Cultural Center and MIST Harlem.

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