The African Diaspora International Film Festival is back for its 24th edition, from now until Dec. 11 with a total of 66 films from 30 countries, including 34 U.S. and New York premieres. Screenings are held in three venues in Manhattan: Teachers College at Columbia University, Cinépolis Chelsea Cinemas and MIST Harlem.
ADIFF 2016 celebrates Guadeloupe in collaboration with the Guadeloupe Islands Tourist Board and the French Cultural Services with the screening of two films: ADIFF 2016 centerpiece “The Gang des Antillais/Gang of the French Caribbean” by Jean-Claude Barny and “The Black Mozart in Cuba” by Stephanie James.
The red carpet screening event of “The Gang des Antillais/Gang of the French Caribbean” will be held at Cinépolis Chelsea Saturday, Dec. 3, starting at 6 p.m. The screening and Q&A will be followed by a cocktail reception and meet-and-greet with director Jean-Claude Barny and VIPs such as Guadeloupe’s brand ambassador, Willy Monfret.
“The Gang of the French Caribbean” is the story of four men from Guadeloupe and Martinique who, once in Paris, form a gang and hold up post office buildings. The film takes place in the 1960s, a time when French people from Overseas Departments were brought to France through the BUMIDOM, a government program, to do the jobs that white French metropolitans did not want to do.
“The Black Mozart in Cuba,” the other title in the Celebrating Guadeloupe program, is a historical documentary about Joseph Boulogne, who was born in 1745 and died in 1799. He led a remarkable life and was known as the Chevalier de Saint Georges. He was a slave-descendant man born in Guadeloupe who later became a noble and participated in the French Revolution. He was colonel of the Legion St. George, the first all-Black regiment in Europe during the French Revolution.
Set in Haiti and the Domican Republic is “Death by a Thousand Cuts” by Jake Kheel and Juan Mejia Botero, a powerful documentary that takes the viewer to the ongoing conflict at the Haitian-Dominican border. This time, the incident is a fatal encounter between a Dominican park ranger and a group of Haitian men involved in illicit charcoal exploitation in the area. The incident is just the tip of the iceberg of turbulence at the border separating the two countries. There will be a Q&A after the screening.
Also from the Dominican Republic is “Nana/Nanny,” a portrait of those Dominican women who leave their children back home to take care of the children of rich families in the United States. A touching film that gives a face to an important segment of the working poor.
Cuba is now a hot topic again. More and more Americans are visiting after years of very limited contact. In “Ghost Town to Havana,” filmmakers Eugene Corr and Roberto Chile spent five years in ball fields in inner city Oakland and Havana. “Ghost Town to Havana” is a film that very well describes the difference that marks both countries when the education of children is at stake. There will be a Q&A with Eugene Corr after the screening.
Afro-Cuban director Gloria Rolando is a very prolific filmmaker. Her work has been showcased in ADIFF multiple times. In “Dialog with My Grandmother,” she offers this time a historic piece that speaks about her grandmother and a chapter in the lives of Afro-Cuban people in the early part of the 20th century as experienced by her grandmother and her ancestors.
For more information, visit www.nyadiff.org.