The African Diaspora International Film Festival – Chicago (ADIFF Chicago), in collaboration with Chicago based longtime partner Facets Cinémathèque, will celebrate its 18th anniversary virtually exclusively in the Midwest from June 18 to 24, 2021 with 14 narratives and documentaries from 13 countries, all Chicago premieres.

Since its inception, ADIFF has spotlighted culturally and socially meaningful feature and documentary films about the human experience of people of color all over the world. The films in ADIFF Chicago 2021 explore the full humanity and range of the Black and Indigenous experience, giving a multidimensional voice to often misrepresented and misunderstood realities and peoples. Titles in ADIFF Chicago 2021 come directly from important domestic and international film festivals such as Tribeca, Toronto, Berlinale, Durban, the Pan African Film Festival and The Trinidad and Tobago film festival. Others are independent productions made by filmmakers eager to share their message with an audience.

Special events in ADIFF Chicago 2021 will spotlight the work of women filmmakers of color.

OPENING NIGHT – BETRAYAL OF A NATION is an experimental documentary that indicts the U.S. Government on 18 charges, for crimes committed against Black and Brown citizens. The Opening Night virtual screening to be held on Friday, June 18 @ 7PM CDT will be followed by live Zoom Q&A with director Brandi Webb.

CENTERPIECE – 2 WEEKS IN LAGOS is romantic comedy drama that captures the excitement, vibrancy, and complexity of everyday life in Lagos, Nigeria, a dynamic city where anything is possible in 2 weeks. The screening at 3PM CDT on Sunday, June 20 will be followed by a live Zoom Q&A with director Kathryn Fasegha.

In CLOSING NIGHT romantic comedy MAYA AND HER LOVER, the mundane life of a 39-year-old introvert is disrupted when she begins a steamy but contentious affair with a much younger man. The 7PM CDT screening on Thursday, June 24 will be followed by live Zoom Q&A with director Nicole Sylvester.

Two other films directed by women of color in the festival are SHE HAD A DREAM by Raja Amari, about a young black Tunisian woman who decides to go into politics to fight against sexism and racism in today’s Tunisia and MIOPYA, a beautifully observed meditation on faith, perseverance, and integrity by Moroccan director Sanaa Akroud. “The impressive richness of this simple yet subtle film is thought-provoking” ~ Oliver Barlet – Africultures


The Cuba-Mali Connection / Africa Mia by Richard Minier and Edouard Salieris, a musical documentary about ten young promising musicians from Mali sent to Cuba in 1964 to study music who developed a revolutionary new sound mixing Afro-Cuban rhythms with traditional African music.

The Esmeraldas Beach by Patrice Raynal, a documentary that sets out to expose the invisibility of Afro-Ecuadorians and rectify the narrative of the country’s history. Among other stories is that of the 1999 assassination of Prime Minister Jaime Hurtado, the first Black to hold that office.

Kuessipan by Myriam Verreault tells the story of two young women from the same Quebec Innu community find who they have less in common the older they become. Kuessipan had its world premiere in the Discovery category at the 2019 Toronto International Film Festival.

Lil’ Buck, Real Swan by Louis Wallecan, is a comprehensive documentary about Charles “Lil Buck” Riley who learned the smooth art of Memphis jookin and transformed it through his experience in the ballet world to become one of the greatest contemporary dancers in the world.

Wagner Moura’s Marighella – which had its world premiere at the Berlinale 2019 – is a Brazilian action drama set in 1969 based on the life of Afro-Brazilian politician and guerrilla fighter Carlos Marighella. Facing a violent military dictatorship and with little support from a timid opposition, writer-turned-politician Carlos Marighella organizes a resistance movement.

A Taste of our Land by Yuhi Amuli (Rwanda) is a film about greed told against the backdrop of the current Chinese influence in African countries. Winner, Best First Feature Film, 2020 Africa Movie Academy Awards; Winner, Best First Feature Narrative, 2020 Pan African Film Festival.

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