The African Diaspora International Film Festival 2017 highlights


The African Diaspora International Film Festival (ADIFF) celebrates its 25th anniversary with a total of 64 films from 31 countries including 31 world, US and NY premieres. Screenings will be held in three venues in Manhattan: Teachers College, Columbia University, Cinema Village and MIST Harlem.

The films in ADIFF 2017 – some coming directly from important national and international film festivals such as Sundance, Toronto or Berlinale – illustrate the diversification of the global film industry, from portraits of trailblazers of yesterday and today (Winnie, Sammy Davis Jr., Mama Africa: Miriam Makeba) to intimate stories that will touch the audience in many ways (The Citizen, Foreign Body, Rosa Chumbe).

National and international award-winning actors and filmmakers are celebrated in ADIFF this year including Bill Duke, Mika Kaurismaki, Hiam Abbass, Raja Amari, Roland Vranik, and Sam Pollard.

Some of the 2017 ADIFF highlights include:

Mama Africa: Miriam Makeba directed by Mika Kaurismaki (2011, 90 min South Africa/Germany)
This powerful documentary retraces the life, music and activism of international star Miriam Makeba, one of the first African musicians to win international stardom.

Silas by Anjali Nayar, Hawa Essuman (2017, 80min, Liberia/Canada/ South
Africa/ Kenya)
Liberian activist Silas Siakor is a tireless crusader against illegal logging. He’s watched multinational corporations wreak havoc on the environment while enriching themselves and impoverishing Liberians.

Winnie by Pascale Lamche (2017, 98min, France/South Africa)
Supremely controversial, Winnie Mandela has been labelled a woman condemned for her radical role in the liberation of her South African people under apartheid and beyond.

Black Cop by Cory Bowles (2017, 91min, Canada)
A black police officer (Ronnie Rowe Jr.) seeks revenge after being egregiously profiled and assaulted by his colleagues, in this searing political satire by actor-director Cory Bowles (Trailer Park Boys).

Foreign Body by Raja Amari, (2016, 92min, France/Tunisia)
After a dangerous passage from Tunisia, Samia finds refuge at her old friend Imed’s (Salim Kechiouche, Blue is the Warmest Color) apartment in Lyon. Hungry for independence, she finds work with wealthy Mrs Bertaud (Hiam Abbas, Insyriated).

The Citizen by Rolad Vranik (2016, 109 min, Hungary)
In his late fifties Wilson, whose family was killed during an outbreak of civil war in Guinea-Bissau, enters Europe as a political refugee and settles for a sedate life as a security guard in a Budapest shopping center. The story follows Wilson as he attempts to find his place in Hungarian society in his daily life, at work, with Mari, a history teacher who helps him study for the citizenship and falls in love with him.

Transit Havana – New Heroes of the Cuban Revolution by Daniel Abma,
(Cuba/Germany/Netherlands, 2016, 86min)
In Havana, transsexuals Odette, Juani and Malu wait for a sex reassignment surgery- performed by European top surgeons and organised by the president’s daughter, Mariela Castro. Castro is leading a sexual revolution combined with classic state socialism.

Created Equal by Bill Duke (USA, 2017, 91min)
This later drama by acclaimed filmmaker Bill Duke (Hoodlum, Sister Act II, Dark Girls) follows a cocky, up-and-coming attorney who begrudgingly takes on a case to sue the Archdiocese of New Orleans for sex discrimination; after a woman, who’s desperate to become a priest, solicits his help.

The Last Revolutionary by Michael Brewer (USA, 2017, 75min)
Mac Perkins is in his Los Angeles throwback hideout, plotting to stop an attack from the far right and racist groups around the country.

Sammy Davis, Jr.: I’ve Gotta Be Me by Sam Pollard (USA, 2017, 100min)

Directed by Peabody award-winning filmmaker Sam Pollard, Sammy Davis, Jr.: I’ve Gotta Be Me is the first major film documentary about the legendary Harlem-born entertainer.

Rosa Chumbe by Jonatan Relayze (Peru, 2016, 75min)
Peru’s 2018 official foreign language Oscar submission, Rosa Chumbe is about Rosa Chumbe, a mature police officer with both a gambling and a drinking problem who needs a miracle to save herself and her grandchild.

The Invisible Colour: Black Is More Than A Colour by Sergio Giral (USA, 2017,
This latest documentary by the Dean of Afro-Cuban Cinema Sergio Giral investigates the black Cuban exile community in South Florida, since the first wave of political refugees in the 1959 revolutionary aftermath, to today.

Sins of the Flesh by Khaled el Hagar (Egypt, 2016, 125 min)
From one of Egypt’s most controversial and taboo-breaking filmmakers comes a drama of betrayal, passion and political upheaval set against the backdrop of the Egyptian revolution.

Gurumbe: Afro-Andalousian Memories by M. Angel Rosale,
Spain/Mexico/Portugal/Senegal, 2016, 72min)
Flamenco is synonymous with Spanish culture. But the truth is that, since its inception, theorists have sidelined the fundamental contribution of Afro-Andalusians to that art form. In Gurumbe, that story is finally told!

Papilio Buddha by Jayan K. Cheria (India/ USA, 2013, 108 min)
Inspired by actual events, Papilio Buddha is a drama that focuses on the atrocities committed against landless Dalits, women and the environment in Kerala, South West India and the politics of suppression of their struggle against the upper castes and other powerful local forces.

KA Bodyscapes by Jayan K. Cherian (India, 2016, 99 min)
Three young people, Haris, a gay painter; Vishnu, a rural kabaddi player and their friend Sia, an activist who refuses to conform to dominant norms of femininity, struggle to find space and happiness in a conservative Indian City.

For more information about the 25th Annual African Diaspora International Film Festival, and to receive the complete line up, filmmakers and high resolution images please contact Diarah N’Daw-Spech at (212) 864-1760/ fax (212) 316-6020 or e-mail