African Diaspora International Film Festival Returns to Chicago for 13th Year, with 17 Film Lineup
Photo Credit: S & A

African Diaspora International Film Festival Returns to Chicago for 13th Year, with 17 Film Lineup

nullThe Chicago African Diaspora International Film Festival (ADIFF) is back to

celebrate 13 years of consecutive work in the Windy City. To be held from June 12-18, hosted by Facets

Cinematheque and presented by ArtMattan Productions, the festival will showcase 17 documentary and fiction

films set in The United States, Angola, Cuba, Brazil, Canada, Haiti, St Vincent, New Zealand, the UK, Senegal,

Nigeria, Ivory Coast, Argentina, Uruguay, and Honduras.

The festival will open with the US Premiere of "Black (NWA)," a fiction film that chronicles the lives of four

people living in a neighborhood plagued by poverty and violence, aspiring to freedom and happiness. “This

gritty look at gang culture in Montreal North is incredibly timely in that central to the drama are the tense

relations between the police and the black community. This has become a hot-button issue in recent months

following a number of controversial high-profile cases of police officers in the U.S. shooting unarmed black

men.” – Montreal Gazette. Lead actor Remy St Eloi will be in attendance for a discussion after the screening.

Several films in this year’s ADIFF had their premiere in major international film festivals. Based on a novel by

“Whale Rider” writer Witi Ihimaera, "White Lies" – New Zealand’s entry in the 2014 Oscar competition for best

foreign-language film and Toronto International Film Festival official selection – is an intense drama that

explores with great humanity and sensitivity such difficult topics as race relations, bleaching and abortion.

First presented at the Montreal World Film Festival is the Chicago Premiere of the impressive epic drama

based on a true story, "Njinga Queen of Angola" about a 17th century Queen who fought for freedom against

Screened at the Toronto and Venice film festival in 2000 is the epic drama "Adanggaman," a provocative

retelling of the African slave experience, based on facts. ADIFF will also bring back "The Pirogue" (Cannes

Film Festival, 2012), a powerful immigration drama about a group of African men and one woman who leave

Senegal for Europe on a fishing boat at the risk of their lives. "The Pirogue" by Moussa Toure is part of the

Great African Films collection, a DVD series that celebrates great African filmmakers. "The Pirogue" can be

found in Great African Films Vol. 4 with the work of Khady Sylla, a renowned Senegalese filmmaker.

The strong African retention in New World cultures as expressed through music, dance, and religious traditions

is celebrated in four documentaries screening in ADIFF 2015. The program "Candomble & Santeria" with the

screening of "Oggun: an Eternal Presence & Summer of Gods" explores African based religions. "Tango

Negro: The African Roots of Tango" moves in and out of Uruguay and Argentina as it illustrates the ever

present African component in Tango, Candombe, Milongon and other African based musical styles found in the

Rio de la Plata region. In Candombe, musician Fernado Nunez sees himself as the heir to “candombe,” a

dance and musical expression initiated by his enslaved ancestors.

For its CENTERPIECE, the festival will present the GARIFUNA CELEBRATION program with two

documentaries: "Revolutionary Medicine: A Story of the First Garifuna Hospital" and "Homeland" ("Yurumein")

both about the Garifuna people in Honduras and St. Vincent respectively. The screenings will be followed by a

discussion with local members of the Garifuna community.

Also premiering in the festival this year are "Obama Mama," a documentary about Stanley Ann Dunham, mother

of the nation’s first black president, "Reshipment," a documentary by Afro-Cuban filmmaker Gloria Rolando

about the historical connection between Cubans and Haitians, and the U.S. premiere of "Ken Bugul – Nobody

Wants Her," a powerful documentary who leads us into the secret world of an assertive African woman artist

and writer and her brave fight for freedom and acceptance.

The African Diaspora International Film Festival is a 501(c)(3) not for profit organization.

The 13th Annual African Diaspora Film Festival-Chicago is made possible thanks to the generous support

of the following institutions: Facets Cinemateque, ArtMattan Productions, the Center for Black Diaspora at

DePaul University, The Dusable Heritage Association; TV5 Monde, The Quebec Government Office – Chicago

and the Embassy of Switzerland – Washington DC.

Facets Cinémathèque is located at 1517 W. Fullerton Ave. in Chicago. For a full schedule and to order

advance tickets online please 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.



6:30pm CANDOMBLE & SANTERIA PROGRAM  – Chicago Premiere 


The Summer of the Gods revolves around Lili, a six year old Afro-Brazilian who unites with her native religious ancestry on a summer visit to her family’s rural village. Soon after arriving in Northeast Brazil, where Afro-Brazilian religious traditions still endure, Lili encounters Orishas. As these African deities help her cope with a gift that has previously vexed her, Lili’s grandmother upholds Afro-Brazilian religious practices as a revered local priestess. To ensure that these customs carry on after her grandmother passes, the gifted Lili is led on a mystic and supernatural adventure of initiation. Directed by Eliciana Nascimento, 2014, Brazil/USA, Drama, 21mins, Portuguese with English subtitles.

Shown with OGGUN: AN ETERNAL PRESENCE Gloria Rolando relates the patakin or mythical story of Oggun, the tireless warrior who, enamored of his mother, decided as punishment to imprison himself in the mountains. Only Ochun, goddess of love, succeeded in captivating him when she let fall a few drops of honey on the lips of the god of metal, war, progress, and civilization. Oggun is the first effort of the team known as Images of the Caribbean, now chartered as an independent video group. Directed by Gloria Rolando, 1992, Cuba, Documentary, Spanish, 52 min, Spanish, English subtitles.

Sponsored by the Délégation du Québec à Chicago/Quebec Government Office in Chicago
6:30pm to 7:30pm reception
7:30pm Black – US Premiere

BLACK chronicles the lives of four people living in a neighborhood plagued by poverty and violence, aspiring to freedom and happiness. KADHAFI, a 26 year-old aspiring Algerian rapper and ex-member of a street gang, just out of prison, wants to steer clear of troubles. FLEUR, a 17 year-old Haitian mother in an abusive and passionate relationship with her daughter’s father, dreams of leaving the ghetto and becoming a nurse. SUZIE, a 20-year-old white stripper who falls for a gang member. DICKENS, 16 year-old Haitian wants to be part of the street gang controlled by his older brother. Directed by Yves Christian Fournier, 2015, Canada, Drama, 110 min, French/Creole with English subt

Q&A with lead actor Kémy St Eloi after the screening.

Second screening SATURDAY, JUNE 13 @ 3:30PM – Q&A

SATURDAY, JUNE 13 @ 1:30 pm  The Pirogue

A group of African men and one woman leave Senegal in a pirogue captained by a local fisherman to undertake the treacherous crossing of the Atlantic to Spain where they believe better lives and prospects are waiting for them. Directed by Moussa Touré, 2012, Senegal/France/Germany, 86 min, French, Wolof, Spanish, English subt.

SATURDAY, JUNE 13 @ 3:30 pm  BLACK – Q&A


SATURDAY, JUNE 13 @ 6:30pm   Obama Mama – Chicago Premiere

Stanley Ann Dunham was an anthropologist with a Ph.D, a lifelong traveler and the mother of the first Black president of the United States. Her intelligence, progressive politics, and activism made for a profound life—one whose inspiration continues to resonate through her son, President Barack Obama. The “largeness of her heart,” as her son describes it, is the centerpiece of this inspiring documentary. Directed by Vivian Norris, 2014, 83 min, United States/Poland/France, Documentary, English.

Q&A with director Vivian Norris after the screening.

Special screening of Chicago Premiere

RESHIPMENT and reception
Sponsored by the DuSable Heritage Association and the the Quebec Government Office – Chicago

SATURDAY JUNE 14 @ 7:30pm to 8:30 pm Reception

8:30pm Reshipment – Chicago Premiere

The voices of prominent historians join the memories of Haitians and their descendants in Cuba to understand a chapter of the complex economic and social history of the Caribbean: the presence in the Island of Cuba of thousands of West Indian laborers, especially from Haiti. For many, it was a great bargain of cheap labor. For others, the realization of the dream of every immigrant: make money and return home. Reshipment demonstrates that despite the discrimination suffered by the Haitians since this period, the Creole language, religious and other musical and dance traditions remain in the cultural landscape of Cuba.  The film also recalls the Haitian generation who garnered years of stay in Cuba and were victims of a “reshipment” as if they were damaged goods–a forced repatriation to Haiti when they were no longer needed in the sugar cane fields or coffee plantations. As the life of Haitians in Cuba has moved between dreams and setbacks, this film is not only a fitting reminder of the often forgotten chapter in Cuban history but a tribute to the unsung Haitian heroes who wove an important passage between two Caribbean nations. Directed by Gloria Rolando, 2014, Cuba/Haiti, Documentary, 58 min, Spanish, English subt

Q&A after the screening

SUNDAY, JUNE 14 @ 2 pm  Njinga, Queen of Angola – Chicago Premiere

In the 17th century, a warrior woman fights for the independence of Angola. After witnessing the murder of her son and watching her people being humiliated by Portuguese colonizers, Njinga will become a Queen and struggle for the liberation of her people embodying the motto: those who stay fight to win. This epic drama is based on the real life story of Queen Anna Njinga(c. 1583 –1663), also known as Ana de Sousa Njinga Mbande, queen of the Ndongo and Matamba Kingdoms of the Mbundu people in Angola. Directed by Sergio Graciano, 2013, 109 min, Angola, Biography, Portuguese with English subt.
Second screening TUESDAY, JUNE 16 @ 6:30PM

SUNDAY, JUNE 14 @ 4:15pm Stories of Colorism Program – Chicago Premiere

A Mexican-American girl struggles to keep her identity when her mother forces her to bleach her skin. White Like the Moon is a revealing film about a dilemma not very well known outside Latino communities; that of the myth of the light skin superiority in Indigenous and Indigenous descendant communities. Directed by Marina Gonzalez Palmier, 2001, 23mins, USA, Drama in English

Based on a novel by “Whale Rider” writer Witi Ihimaera, White Lies – New Zealand’s entry in the 2014 Oscar competition for best foreign-language film – is an intense drama that explores with great humanity and sensitivity such difficult topics as race relations, bleaching and abortion.  Paraiti is the healer and midwife of her rural, tribal people – she believes in life. But new laws in force are prohibiting unlicensed healers, making the practice of much Maori medicine illegal. She gets approached by Maraea, the servant of a wealthy woman, Rebecca, who seeks her knowledge and assistance in order to hide a secret which could destroy Rebecca’s position in European settler society. This compelling story tackles moral dilemmas, exploring the nature of identity, societal attitudes to the roles of women and the tension between Western and traditional Maori medicine. Directed by Dana Rotberg, 2014, New Zealand, 96mins, Drama, English and Maori with English subt.

FESTIVAL CENTERPIECE: Garifuna Celebration Program and Reception
Sponsored by ArtMattan Productions and presented in collaboration with Garifuna Flava

5:30-6:30pm Reception

6:45pm  Revolutionary Medicine: A Story of the First Garifuna Hospital & Homeland (Yurumein) – Chicago Premiere

The inspiring documentary tells the story of how the hospital’s alternative health model is transforming communities on Honduras’ Northern Coast and standing as an alternative to an increasingly privatized national health system. Could a remote hospital that runs on solar panels, in a community with no paved roads or electricity provide a new global model for health care? Directed by Jesse Freeston & Beth Geglia, 2013, 41 min, Honduras/Canada/ United States, Documentary in  Spanish with English subt.

This is the untold history of the indigenous Carabis/Garifuna of St. Vincent: their near extermination and exile by the British 200 years ago and their return to reconnect with those left behind. A powerful, untold story of Caribbean renaissance, rupture and repair in post-colonial St. Vincent. Directed by Andrea E. Leland, 2014, 50 min, St. Vincent/Garifuna, documentary, English.
Q&A after the screening

MONDAY, JUNE 15 @ 6:30pm Glorious Exit

Jarreth Merz, a Swiss-Nigerian actor living in Los Angeles, is summoned to Nigeria to bury his father. Nigerian tradition mandates the eldest child to take charge of a father’s burial. Although he accepts the responsibility, he struggles with why he feels morally responsible toward Nigerian tradition and a family whom he hardly knows. Jarreth starts a journey of self-discovery. Directed by Kevin Merz , 2008, 75 min, St. Nigeria/Switzerland, documentary, English and German with English subtitles.

MONDAY, JUNE 15 @ 8:30pm CANDOMBLE & SANTERIA PROGRAM  – Chicago Premiere


TUESDAY, JUNE 16 @ 6:30pm Njinga, Queen of Angola – Chicago Premiere


TUESDAY, JUNE 16 @ 8:30pm The Story of Lovers Rock

Lovers Rock, often dubbed ‘romantic reggae’ is a uniquely black British sound that developed in the late 70s and 80s against a backdrop of riots, racial tension and sound systems. Live performance, comedy sketches, dance, interviews and archive shed light on the music and the generation that embraced it. Lovers Rock allowed young people to experience intimacy and healing through dance- known as ‘scrubbing’- at parties and clubs. This dance provided a coping mechanism for what was happening on the streets. Lovers Rock developed into a successful sound with national UK hits and was influential to British bands (Police, Culture Club, UB40). Menelik Shabazz, 2011, 96mins, UK, musical documentary, English 

WEDNESDAY, JUNE 17 @ 6:30pm Ken Bugul – Nobody Wants Her – Chicago Premiere

An expressive aesthetic as rhapsodic as the written words of Bugul herself, Ken Bugul: Nobody Wants Her is a filmic ode to the brilliance of this revered Senegalese writer. Determined to set her own path in life, Ken Bugul (born Mariètou Mbaye Biléoma) left Senegal and spent 20 years living in Europe, only to feel an even deeper loneliness and alienation. She belonged neither here nor there. Encountering crushing rejection upon her return to Senegal, at her most destitute and desperate, Bugul sought refuge in her writing. Her debut novel, The Abandoned Baobab, already captured Bugul’s unique idiosyncratic style and cemented her position as a novelist. Painting a mosaic picture of Bugul’s life and times, this powerful documentary leads us into the secret world of an assertive African woman artist and her brave fight for freedom and acceptance.  Silvia Voser, 2013, 62mins, French/Swiss documentary, French with English subtitles.

WEDNESDAY, JUNE 17 @ 8pm Stories of Colorism Program – Chicago Premiere


THURSDAY, JUNE 18 @ 6pm Candombe & Tango Negro: The African Roots of Tango


More than two hundred years ago, there was an influx of slaves from Africa into Uruguay. Long after their emancipation, these individuals continued to comprise the poorest and most marginalized strata in society. Musician Fernado Nunez sees himself as the heir to “candombe,” a dance and musical expression initiated these individuals, his slave ancestors. As the far-reaching, socio-cultural legacy of of candombe has yet to be acknowledged, Fernando Nunez and his friends from the back street quarter of Montevideo have taken on the responsibility of keeping these important cultural roots alive in the consciousness of the Uruguayan people. Directed by Rafael Deugenio, 1993, Uruguay, Documentary, 16 min, Spanish w/ English subt.


Tango Negro explores the expression of African-ness inherent in the dance of the “tango” and the contribution of African cultures to the dance’s creation. Angolan director, Dom Pedro, details the dance’s early cultural significance as a depiction of the social life of captured African slaves and provides an expansive compilation of musical performances and interviews from tango enthusiasts and historians alike.  Tango Negro provides a novel insight into the depth of tango’s sub-Saharan African musical influence, a presence that has crossed oceans and endured the tides of forced bondage. Directed by Dom Pedro, 2013, France, Documentary, 93 min, French, Spanish, English subt.

Sponsored by the Center for Black Diaspora at DePaul University and by the Embassy of Switzerland – Washington DC

7:30pm to 8:30pm reception
8:30pm Adanggaman

Set in the late 17th century, on the Western coast of Africa, "Adanggaman" is an epic fiction film about a rebellious young man, who refuses to marry his parents’ choice of a bride, flees his village one evening, only to return to find his father and girlfriend slain, his village destroyed and his mother captured by a tribe of Amazon warriors. His efforts to free his mother lead to the kingdom of Adanggaman, where captives are held before sale. Roger Gnoan M’Bala, 2000, 90mins, Ivorian, Burkinabé, French, Swiss and Italian historical drama film, Bambara, Baoulé and French with English subtitles.



6:30pm Candomble and Santeria program – Summer of Gods & Oggun, An Eternal Presence


7:30pm to 8:30pm reception

8:30pm Black – Q&A


1:30pm La Pirogue

3:30pm Black – Q&A

6:30pm  Obama Mama – Q&A

7:30pm to 8:30pm Reception

8:30pm Haitian program – Reshipment – Q&A


2pm  Njinga , Queen of Angola

4:15pm White Like the Moon & White Lies


5:30pm to 6:30pm Reception

6:45pm  Garifuna Celebration – Revolutionary Medicine & Yurumein – Q&A


6:30pm  Glorious Exit

8:30pm Candomble and Santeria – Summer of Gods & Oggun, An Eternal Presence


6:30pm Njinga , Queen of Angola

8:30pm The Story of Lovers Rock


6:30pm Ken Bugul – Nobody Wants Her

8pm Stories of Colorism: White Like the Moon & White Lies


6pm   Candombe & Tango Negro, The African Roots of Tango


7:30pm to 8:30pm Reception

8:30pm   Adanggaman

Shadow and Act is a website dedicated to cinema, television and web content of Africa and its global Diaspora. With daily news, interviews, in-depth investigations into the audiovisual industry, and more, Shadow and Act promotes content created by and about people of African descent throughout the world.

© 2022 Shadow & Act. All rights reserved.