The African Diaspora International Film Festival (ADIFF) returns to Chicago for a showcase and discussion on African cinema

To celebrate its 16th Anniversary in Chicago, the African Diaspora International Film Festival (ADIFF) – hosted by Facets Cinematheque and presented by ArtMattan Productions from June 8 to 14 – will present its most thought-provoking program to date in the Windy City.

With 19 documentaries and fiction films set in the US, Mexico, Peru, South Africa, Haiti, Barbados, Nigeria, Brazil, The UK, Malawi, Cuba, Honduras, Tunisia, Hungary, the Virgin Islands and France, ADIFF Chicago will illustrate the richness and diversity of the lives of people of color all over the world with great cinema, talks with new films, special events and revealing stories.

Opening the night and back by popular demand is Mama Africa: Miriam Makeba by Mika Kaurismäki (2011, 90 min, South Africa/Germany), a powerful documentary that retraces the life, music and activism of international star Miriam Makeba, one of the first African musicians to win international stardom. Miriam Makeba, who sang for John F. Kennedy, and performed with Harry Belafonte and Nina Simone, was known for her music which was always anchored in her South African roots.

A Q&A session by Oluwatoyin Ibrahim Adekeye, director of Bigger Than Africa (2018, 90min, USA, Chicago Premiere), in which he discusses his research in trying to understand why, of all cultures of Africa, the Yoruba culture is the one that has survived for centuries in the Americas, will also open the event.

The fascinating documentary scheduled to show during the event follows the impact of the transAtlantic slave trade in the USA, Nigeria, Brazil, Republic of Benin, Trinidad & Tobago and Cuba, and explores the survival of the Yoruba culture in America. 

Notable films include award-winning animation Kirikou and the Sorceress by Michel Ocelot (1998, 74min, France), a tale of tiny Kirikou, born in an African village in which Karaba the Sorceress has placed a terrible curse – which is celebrating its 20th Anniversary – and The Citizen (Az Állampolgár) – Winner of the 2018 Chicago European Film Festival Audience Award for Best Film (2016, 109 min, Hungary) – a timely narrative about a middle-aged African immigrant Wilson (Cake-Baly) wanting to become a Hungarian Citizen. The humanist drama exposes the unwelcoming climate that greets many immigrants to Europe, as Wilson finds a sympathetic teacher and prospective lover in lonely abused wife Mari (Máhr). 

The 16th annual African Diaspora International Film Festival Chicago runs from June 8 through June 14 at Facets Cinémathèque, at 1517 W. Fullerton Ave. The complete lineup of films can be viewed here.