There is an African proverb that says, “Those who respect the elderly pave their own road toward success.” There is great wisdom imparted in this simple statement.
Mother Africa and the ancestors are calling, as they often do, and starting November 26 through December 12 there is a wonderful opportunity to listen, hear and watch because the African Diaspora International Film Festival (ADIFF) will be celebrating their 29th anniversary both in person and virtually.
There are special screenings planned followed by Q&As at Cinepolis in Manhattan, a selection of in-person screenings at Cinema Village, and an online selection of 77 films from 38 countries from November 26 to December 12, 2021, including 38 world, U.S., and New York premieres.
“I’m particularly excited to open ADIFF NYC 2021 with ‘The Sleeping Negro,’ a thought-provoking film that explores what it means to be a Black man in America today. I can’t wait to participate in the in-person conversation that will take place with director Skinner Myers on Opening Night. It’s been too long since we’ve been able to get together in person to celebrate Black culture in such a powerful way,” shared Diarah N’Daw-Spech, the festival’s co-founder.
The ADIFF fest is presenting an eclectic selection of recent and less recent films that are thought-provoking and entertaining, some by independent filmmakers and others coming directly from major international film festivals such as Berlinale, Sundance, Cannes, Toronto, FESPACO, and Durban. Several revivals are also part of the program.
ADIFF 2021 wants to recognize FESPACO––the largest film festival on the African continent that, since 1969, represents a rare opportunity for African storytellers to showcase their creations on a global stage––with a selection of 15 FESPACO titles including some in competition this year.
Other highlights include a World Black History program, a strong selection of South African cinema, LGBTQ+ themed films, Special Presentations, and Zoom conversations.
Opening Night film, the critically acclaimed drama “The Sleeping Negro” by Skinner Myers will have its New York premiere screening in person at Cinepolis on Nov. 26 in the presence of the filmmaker. According to Ulkar Alakbarova on moviemovesme.com, “The Sleeping Negro” is “a superb character study of a Black man, how he sees himself and how he was treated by society, it is surreal yet real and terrifying.”
Following on the footsteps of the LA Rebellion filmmakers, the film’s director Skinner Myers tells a very personal and intimate story in a radically non-traditional cinematic style as a means to express freely his feelings as a Black man in America.
Other highlights Include:
· The world premiere presentation of “Fighting for Respect: African American Soldiers in WWI” by Joanne Burke, a historical documentary that captures the plight of African American soldiers who fought in WWI, receiving the Croix de Guerre military decoration from France, while still fighting discrimination and hatred at home in America.
· “A Son (Un Fils)” by Mehdi Barsaoui is an intense family drama starring French-Tunisian actor Sami Bouajila, winner of the Orizzonti Award for Best Actor, Venice Film Festival 2019 and winner of the César Awards, France for Best Actor in 2021. The in-person Gala screening of the film on Dec. 9 at Cinepolis will be followed by a Q&A.