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Ludi directed by Edson Jean
Ludi directed by Edson Jean

Chicago African Diaspora International Film Festival (ADIFF Chicago) celebrates its 20th anniversary with programs and screenings at the Film Center and Facets Multimedia from June 15-18, 2023.

Several films in this year’s festival explore the interaction between immigrants and their surroundings. In Opening Night film Ludi by Edson Jean (USA) – we follow Haitian nurse Ludi Alcidor as she embarks on a frantic scour through Miami’s private care-taking world in an increasingly desperate attempt to send money to her family in Haiti. Angels On Diamond Street by Petr Lom (Netherlands/USA) follows three African American women fighting for social justice in a black church in Philadelphia with their soup kitchen and their embrace of a family of Mexican refugees. Yafa, Forgiveness by Christian Lara (France/Guadeloupe) explores the social and economic dynamics at work in the relationship between an African immigrant in Paris and a Caribbean policeman from Guadeloupe as they seek to understand each other.

The program Spotlight on New African Cinema presents the work of two young upcoming African filmmakers:The Africologist by Valerio Lopes (Cape Verde) is an innovative Afrofuturist documentary that takes us on an exploratory journey into the past, present and future of Africa. Blind Eye by Mengameli Nhlabathi (South African) is a thriller that explores the mechanism behind the all too real corruption problems in South African society today.

The program The Magic of Blues is comprised of two films: Mercurial blues-man Fantastic Negrito faces his demons amidst the mental health crisis ravaging his Oakland community in the dynamic music documentary Fantastic Negrito: Have You Lost Your Mind Yet? by Francisco Núñez Capriles & Yvan Iturriaga (USA). Music Pictures: New Orleans by Ben Chace (USA) gives us legacy portraits and a rare backstage access into the lives and craft of four New Orleans music legends: Irma Thomas – the reigning “Soul Queen of New Orleans”, Little Freddie King, Ellis Marsalis, and The Tremé Brass Band.

ADIFF’s Spotlight on Mali presents two films: Wulu by Daouda Coulibaly is an urgent and vibrant African thriller that follows Ladji (a beautifully understated Ibrahim Koma) who, when he loses out on a job opportunity, is lured into the lucrative but highly dangerous world of drug smuggling. The other film Dancing The Twist In Bamako (Twist À Bamako) by Robert Guédiguian is set in the early 1960s, as Mali’s capital city celebrates the country’s independence from French colonial rule. The idealistic Samba works toward creating a more just nation by day, and dances to Otis Redding and the Supremes with his spirited girlfriend Lara by night. For the film’s theatrical run at New York’s Film Forum, New York Times film critic A.O. Scott wrote ”The cast is… dynamic and sincere in a way that gives the drama a buoyant teen-movie spirit even as it takes a grave turn. It’s affecting.”

ADIFF Closing Night is Move When The Spirit Says Move: The Legacy Of Dorothy Foreman Cotton, an inspiring portrait of Dorothy Foreman Cotton, a courageous and overlooked key player in the Civil Rights Movement, and a bold and highly effective leader who educated thousands in their citizenship rights and inspired generations of activists with her powerful freedom songs. Director/Producer Deborah C. Hoard and Executive Producer and Senior Advisor Laura Branca will be in attendance for a post screening discussion and reception in celebration of Juneteenth.


Thursday, June 15 – FACETS
6pm Opening Night Reception
7pm Ludi + Q&A

Friday, June 16 – FACETS
Spotlight on New African Cinema Program – Complementary desert during intermission
6pm The Africologist
8pm Blind Eye

Saturday, June 17 – FACETS
2pm Yafa, Forgiveness
4pm Angels on Diamond Street

The Magic of Blues Program – Complementary desert during intermission
6pm Fantastic Negrito: Have You Lost Your Mind?
8:30pm Music Pictures: New Orleans

Sunday, June 18 SISKEL
12noon Spotlight on Mali: Wulu
2pm Spotlight on Mali: Dancing The Twist in Bamako
4:30pm Closing Night – Screening + Panel + reception after the screening
Move When the Spirit Says Move: The Legacy of Dorothy Foreman Cotton

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