ADIFF Chicago Kicks Off Today With 20-Film Lineup That Showcases Richness & Diversity of Lives of People of Color Globally
Photo Credit: "Toussaint Louverture"

ADIFF Chicago Kicks Off Today With 20-Film Lineup That Showcases Richness & Diversity of Lives of People of Color Globally

The Man Who Mends Women


Kicking off today, June 10, the Chicago African Diaspora International Film Festival (ADIFF) is celebrating 14 consecutive years of screening events in the Windy City with films, old and new, that illustrate the richness and diversity of the lives of people of color all over the world.

The festival runs through June 16, and is hosted by Facets Cinematheque, and presented by ArtMattan Productions.

This year’s event 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 being done in the 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.

"Toussaint Louverture"
“Toussaint Louverture”

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” 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 trials 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. Director Rachelle Salnave will be on hand for a reception and Q&A after the screening.

"Stand Down Soldier"
“Stand Down Soldier”

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 2014 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.

"White Lies"
“White Lies”

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 eye at the lives of North-Africans living in France and Belgium. “Fevers” won the top prize – the Golden Yennenga Stallion – at FESPACO in 2015, 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.

Facets Cinémathèque is located at 1517 W. Fullerton Ave. in Chicago. For a full schedule and to order advance tickets online call 773-281-4114 or 212-864-1760; or visit or

Tickets are $15 for Opening Night, $12 for the Centerpiece, $10 general admission, and $8 students and seniors.

Below is the schedule at a glance:

WHAT 14th Annual African Diaspora Film Festival – Chicago

WHEN:  June 10-June 16, 2016

WHERE: Facets Cinémathèque – 1517 W. Fullerton Ave.



Friday, June 10

6:30 pm Invisible Heroes: African-Americans in the Spanish Civil War Followed by Q&A


7:30–8:30 pm—reception

8:30 pm The Man Who Mends Women

Followed by Q&A


Saturday, June 11

2:00 pm Sound of Tears with Sexy Money

4:00 pm Toussaint Louverture—part 1

6:00 pm Toussaint Louverture—part 2

7:30–8:30 pm—reception

8:30 pm La Belle Vie / The Good Life

Followed by Q&A






Sunday, June 12

2:00 pm Stand Down Soldier  Followed by Q&A

4:15 pm African-American Shorts: Paralysis, Watch This & Sideline 

Followed by Q&A

CENTERPIECE—Jamaican History Program

5:30–6:30 pm—reception

6:45 pm Catch a Fire with The First Rasta


Monday, June 13

6:00 pm The Man Who Mends Women

8:30 pm Image


Tuesday, June 14

6:30 pm Private Revolutions

8:30 pm White Like the Moon with White Lies


Wednesday, June 15

6:30 pm Maluala

8:30 pm The Tracker


Thursday, June 16

6:30 pm Fevers


7:30–8:30 pm—reception

8:30 pm Ninth Floor

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