The Best of the 30th Annual African Diaspora International Film Festival (ADIFF) comes back to Teachers College at Columbia University, January 13–16, 2023, with a selection of 12 films that received both critical and popular acclaim during the festival.

“Acting While Black: Blackness on French Screens” by Rokhaya Diallo, winner of the ADIFF 2022 Public Award for Best Film Directed by a Woman of Color, and runner-up “Kumina Queen” by Nyasha Laing, both made the selection. “Acting While Black” is a punchy documentary on the representation of Blacks in films and TV series in France. Gary Dourdan, Aïssa Maiga and Sonia Rolland are some of the Black French actors who give a strong testimony of their life in front of the camera. “Kumina Queen” is a portrait of Imogene “Queenie” Kennedy, a contemporary priestess in post-colonial Jamaica who catapulted her African spiritual practice into renown.

Films presented during Gala Screenings will return for the Best of ADIFF, including opening night film “The Woodstock of House” by Rodrick F. Wimberly and Senuwell Smith, a musical documentary that details the triumph of a genre of music that was attacked and seemingly destroyed by mainstream America in the late 1970s for being too Black, too Latin and too gay.

Closing night film “A Brother’s Whisper” by Jacinto Taras Riddick makes the Best of ADIFF for a Saturday night screening in the presence of the director, who will participate in a Q&A. In “A Brother’s Whisper,” Solomon Bordeaux returns home to Brooklyn after serving three tours of the Iraq-Afghanistan wars. Diagnosed with PTSD, he faces the harsh realities of racist gentrification in a neighborhood he no longer recognizes. With the welcoming by his brother David, a pro fighter, familial bonds are forged, but soon interrupted by disturbing secrets that unfold.

Other films in Gala Screenings are “Get Out Alive” by Roger Ellis, a musical about a woman’s fight against depression featuring artist and activist Nikki Lynette, and the Brazilian science fiction offering “Executive Order” by Lazaro Ramos, which presents a dystopian future where the Brazilian government decrees a measure that forces Black citizens to migrate to Africa in an attempt to cleanse Brazilian society of Black people.

Of note for its timeliness is Juan A. Zapata’s “Sugar Cane Malice,” a documentary that explores the poor working conditions of Haitian workers on one of the largest sugar cane plantations in the world, in the Dominican Republic and belonging to the Fanjul family, one of the most powerful families in America.For more information about the Best of ADIFF and to see the full line-up, visit Follow on Facebook and twitter at @nyadiff, and Instagram at ny_adiff.

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