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African Diaspora Int'l Film Festival To Begin In NY

NEW YORK -  The Riverside Theatre will present an eclectic slate of thought provoking and entertaining films from Africa and the African Diaspora during the African Diaspora International Film Festival, taking place from Thursday, December 2 to Saturday, December 4 at The Riverside Theatre


The Festival will feature a slate of 24 films, including nine US premieres and two New York premieres, providing an eclectic mix of urban, classic, independent and foreign films that depict the richness and diversity of the life experience of people of African descent and Indigenous people all over the world.    


The schedule for the screenings at The Riverside Theatre follows:


AUTHORING ACTION, Q&A to follow screening

Thursday, December 2 at Noon

A documentary that explores how young people in Winston-Salem, NC find a voice and become great artists when mentored by dedicated and talented coaches.

USA, 2009, 72 min, documentary, English, Nathan Ross Freeman dir.



Thursday, December 2 at 2:00 p.m.

After years of serving in the army and drifting across the Amazon, Loeti yearns to go back to his land, to find his roots and be amongst his people, the Aluku, the first Maroons of French Guiana and Suriname. Working in close collaboration with the Aluku - the first slaves to escape the plantations of Suriname about 200 years ago - filmmaker Nicolas Jolliet tells a magic realist story that empowers the Aluku to express themselves freely.

Guiana, 2010, 90 min, documentary, Aluku with English subtitles, Nicolas Jolliet dir. 



Thursday, December 2 at 4:00 p.m.

Raised by her Breton mother in a predominantly white environment Maya, a little colored girl, wants to find out more about her origins. Her journey is filled with many ups and downs but she manages to reach the summit of her art, dancing. The number one choreographer of the time whisks her away to an even harsher jungle, that of New York City, where she battles her way up from the little brown princess to a Queen as colorful as life itself.

France, 2009, drama, French with English subtitles, Christian Faure dir.


WHITE BOY BROWN (NY PREMIERE), Q&A to follow screening

Thursday, December 2 at 6:00 p.m.

Through a series of flashbacks and stories, Curtis Brown learns of the life of a brother he once knew, a life of a brother who, although being white, experienced the same racism he himself experienced, ultimately binding the two together.

USA, 2009, 88 min, drama, English, Sean Sawyer dir.


Preceded by short film


Michael Taylor, Jr. strikes out in a baseball game and must now prove his manhood to his father by pursuing a girl from school.

USA, 2009, 12min, fiction, in English, Rashaad Ernesto Green, dir.



Friday, December 3 at Noon


Southern Cross is a family drama set up against the backdrop of an African American Sunday gathering, where Gloria struggles to explain the symbolic meaning behind a Confederate Flag Pillow to her seven-year-old daughter due to her husband’s opposition of reliving the past.

USA, 2008, 13 min, drama, English, Kameishia Wooten, dir.



In this poignant story set in the 1850s, a young slave girl befriends a magical woman in the woods called Mother of the River. Through their friendship the young girl learns about independence, honor, humility and respect for others. MOTHER OF THE RIVER is a rare portrayal of slavery from a young woman’s perspective.

USA, 1995, 28 min, drama, English, Zeinabu Irena Davis, dir.



Childhood destroyed describes the daily life of eleven year old Mariam who works as an all-purpose maid, housekeeper, cook and babysitter to provide for her guardian, her unemployed Uncle Djimet, and his family. 

Chad, 199, 26 min, drama, Chadian Arabic, Zara Yacoub, dir.



Friday, December 3 at 2:00 p.m.


Dalila Ennadre’s frank and intimate portrait of Moroccan "comfort women" and their lives after the Indo-China wars. In the process the film unveils an interesting view of a fascinating part of Moroccan history.

Morocco, 2010, 51 min, Documentary, Arabic with English subtitles, Dalila Ennadre dir.



Margareth is a Kikuyu and Eric is a Luo. These two largest tribes of Kenya are engaged in an ancient cultural and political conflict. Their parents in particular are against their relationship, but they are still together, in spite of everything. Will they find a way to overcome both the outer and the inner conflicts in order to live their love while still being allowed to grow as individuals?

Italy, 2009, 45 min, documentary, Swahili with English subtitles, Maria Weber dir.



Friday, December 3 at 4:00 p.m.


A fast paced musical drama about growing up, when growing up isn’t a choice. An angry young rebel rapper, in search of fame, suddenly becomes a parent to his orphaned siblings. Can he grow up and face this responsibility?

Botswana, 2008, 24min, drama, In English and Tswana with English subtitles, Busang Motsumi, dir.



In the suburb of an African city, 12 years-old Paito sells fritters outside his house. One day, a band of young robbers takes his money. He decides he’s not going to go home until he recovers what he lost.

Mozambique, 2005, 58 min, comedy, Portuguese with English subtitles, Licinio Azevedo, dir.



Micah, a teen in Pensacola, FL raps about the struggles he faced growing up. He found an outlet for his energy and anger through volunteering to make his community a better place.

USA, 2010, 5 min, music video, English, Mirah McDonald, dir.



Friday, December 3 at 6:00 p.m.

Set in France on the eve of its liberation, this WWII drama explores the issue of forbidden love and racism.  Based on actual facts, this surprising French production details little known historical facts associated with the presence of African American GIs in France during WWII.

France, 2009, 90 mins. drama, French with English subtitles, Philippe Niang dir.


REBELLION IN THE CARIBBEAN, Q&A and reception to follow screenings

Friday, December 3 at 8:00 p.m.


Catch A Fire tells the story of Deacon Paul Bogle, often described as a 19th century Malcolm X. 30 years after the end of slavery in Jamaica, the Morant Bay Rebellion of 1865 provoked outrage in Victorian Britain shaping race and land attitudes. The story is constructed using extensive interviews with Paul Bogle's grandson as well as archive material.

Jamaica and UK, 1995, 30 mins. docu-drama, English, Menelik Shabazz dir.



After its abolition in 1794 during the French Revolution, Napoléon sends a young, ruthless general to reinstate slavery on the island of Guadeloupe. This is the story of the valiant fight fought by Guadeloupe’s Black inhabitants to maintain their freedom.

Guadeloupe, 2004, 90 mins. drama, French with English subtitles, Christian Lara, dir.




Saturday, December 4 at 1:00 p.m.

Filmmaker Amedume is one of the UK’s best homegrown talents.  Of Ghanain heritage, Amedume has crafted a plethora of thought provoking mini masterpieces. Four short films - MARY & JOHNMR. GRAHAMLORRAINE and PRECIPE starring Jimmy Jean Louis – that serve as a showcase of the man’s vision and his consciousness to society at large.

UK, 2008-2010, 92mins, short fiction films, English, Julius Amedume, dir.


DANCE GOT ME (US PREMIERE), Q&A to follow screening

Saturday, December 4 at 3:00 p.m.

Bawren Tavaziva body-popped on Harare township streets to earn enough money to eat. Today he runs a dance company performing in London’s premier venues. This moving documentary follows his journey.

Zimbabwe, 2006, 52 min, documentary, English, Ingrid Sinclair dir.


FELA - NYC: FRESH FROM AFRICAQ&A to follow screening

Saturday, December 4 at 5:00 p.m.

A new documentary filled with rare footage of Fela that remained unseen for two decades. Join Fela on an odyssey from Greenwich Village to Harlem. Come backstage as Fela prepares to reconnect his fans with the power and spirit of Afro-Beat.

USA, 2010, 97mins. documentary, English, Jaheed Ashley, dir.



Saturday, December 4 at 7:10 p.m.

By revisiting the events that took place between General Sherman’s March to the Sea, President Lincoln’s assassination, the end of the Civil War, and the unraveling of the promises of Reconstruction, Stubborn As A Mule! sorts fact from fiction and casts the challenges and question of the current reparations debate in a new light. Featuring such intellectual luminaries as Dr. Cornel West, Dr. Robert St. Martin Westley, Dr. Preston T. King, Dr. Charles Elmore and Dr. Na’Im Akbar, Stubborn As A Mule! takes the viewer on a journey through the atrocities that African-Americans have suffered throughout history.

USA, 2010, 43 min, documentary, English, Miller Bargeron Jr.



Saturday, December 4 at 8:30 p.m.

This documentary explores the fascinating story of the founder of the United Nuwaubian Nation of Moors, Rev. Dr. Malachi Z. York, his philosophy centered on the superiority of the Black race, and his move from New York to Georgia to build a community that quickly began clashing with the local white establishment.  “In life we believe that everyone deserves a fair trial ‘Dr Malachi Z York is innocent’!!!”

USA, 2009, 65min, documentary, English, Paul Bowen & Saa'da Thomas, Dir.


Preceded by


In the wake of Hurricane Katrina, a young couple, Rich and Jessica, attempt to reunite with Rich’s Father, Lou Robinson. An ignorant and under staffed police department, combined with massive flooding and the disorganization of a city in peril, conspire to make the reunion nearly impossible.

USA, 2010, 17 min, animation, English, Kwesi Davis dir.


Currently celebrating a 50-year legacy of rich arts programming, The Riverside Theatre was founded in 1960 on the belief that the arts can be a transforming power in peoples’ lives and is committed to serving as a catalyst for cultural connections and social change.  Located at the historic Riverside Church, the Theatre produces work that promotes and deepens cultural and social awareness.  Past presentations have included:  Power of Drum:  Max Roach Tribute; La Boule Blache: A Katherine Dunham Celebration; jazz masters Jon Hendricks and Clark Terry; Forces of Nature Dance Theatre and Earth (H)ours.


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