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June 13–19, 2014

The 12th Annual
Chicago African Diaspora Film Festival

Film still: Freedom Summer


"As diverse and porous as the diaspora itself"
  —Time Out Chicago

ArtMattan Productions and The Facets Cinematheque are presenting The 12th Annual Chicago African Diaspora Film Festival. This outstanding event will feature a selection of Black Independent Films from around the world, showcasing U.S. and Chicago premieres. The African Diaspora Film Festival is an eclectic mix of foreign, independent, classic and urban films representing the global Black experience through an extraordinary range of subjects and artistic approaches.

Created in 1993 by ArtMattan Productions, a company that produces a collection of programs and events promoting Afrocentric theme cultures, ADFF has long been delighting audiences with U.S. and world premieres of independent films, including features, documentaries, animation, and shorts.

The 12th Annual African Diaspora Film Festival-Chicago is made possible thanks to the generous support of the following institutions: Facets Cinémathèque, ArtMattan Productions, the Center for Black Diaspora at DePaul University, The Dusable Heritage Association; TV5 Monde, the Curaçao Tourism Corporation, The Quebec Government Office—Chicago and the Embassy of Switzerland—Washington DC.

Tickets are $15 for Opening Night, $9 general admission.Order tickets

Note: Facets membership privileges for free admission are not eligible for the 12th Annual African Diaspora International Film Festival.

3-day weekend passes are available (July 13–15).

Opening Night Screening
Sponsored by the Center for Black Diaspora at DePaul University

Chicago Premiere

Freedom Summer

Film still: Freedom Summer

Film Fest
"A well-shaped and powerful reminder of a time in recent American history when white supremacy was decisively and courageously undercut"
"Intelligently composed and powerfully driven, Freedom Summer is a stirring historical document"
  —Hollywood Reporter
  —Chicago Reader

In 1964, despite the best efforts of local civil rights activists, Mississippi remained virulently committed to segregation, underscored by the systematic exclusion of African Americans from the political process. In response, Robert Moses of the Student Nonviolent Coordinating Committee developed a campaign to bring a thousand volunteers—primarily enthusiastic young white supporters—to the state to encourage voter registration, provide much-needed education, and convene a more representative delegation to attend the Democratic National Convention.

Veteran director Stanley Nelson (Freedom Riders) captures the volatile months of that summer through remarkable period footage and the firsthand testimonies of volunteers who were transformed by their time in Mississippi. With the Supreme Court recently striking down a key section of the Voting Rights Act, Nelson's film is a potent reminder of the sacrifices made half a century ago to ensure civil rights for all and the vigilance needed to protect what they accomplished. (Sundance Film Festival)

Directed by Stanley Nelson, U.S.A., 2013, 113 mins.

A Q&A with producer Cyndee Readdean will follow the screening.


Fri., June 13 at 7:30 pm
—reception: 6:30–7:30 pm

Wed., June 18 at 6:00 pm

Chicago Premiere

Between Friends

Film still: Between Friends
"The film subtly weaves a tale that hits with a surprising emotional impact"
  —Film Threat

Hailing from Trinidad and Tobago, Between Friends is a film that presents an anthology of intersecting stories and characters who are all connected to one another in some way. The storyline, focused on two generations of contemporary middle class Trinidadians, gradually exposes the hopes, secrets, lies and betrayals in the lives of the various characters. An impressive effort by first-time writer/producer/director Omari Jackson.

Directed by M. Omari Jackson, Trinidad/Tobago, 2012, 96 mins. In English.


  • Sat., June 14 at 1:30 pm

Go for Sisters

Film still: Go for Sisters
"Few male writer-directors have explored female characters more ardently than John Sayles...and this leisurely mystery features some of his best"
  —Chicago Reader

Bernice (LisaGay Hamilton) and Fontayne (Yolonda Ross) grew up so close that people said they could "go for sisters", but time sent them down different paths. Twenty years later, those paths fatefully intersect: Fontayne is a recovering addict fresh out of jail, and Bernice is her new parole officer. When Bernice's son Rodney goes missing on the Mexican border, she realizes that she needs someone with the connections to navigate Rodney's world without involving the police, and turns to her old friend. The pair enlist the services of disgraced ex-LAPD detective Freddy Suárez (Edward James Olmos) and plunge into the dim underbelly of Tijuana, forced to unravel a complex web of human traffickers, smugglers, and corrupt cops before Rodney meets the same fate as his partners.

As much a story of relationships as a story of crime, Go For Sisters is a welcome return to form for filmmaker/writer and two-time Academy Award nominee John Sayles (Lone Star, Passion Fish).

Directed by John Sayles, U.S.A., 2013, 122 mins.


  • Sat., June 14 at 3:30 pm
Chicago Premiere

Tula, the Revolt

Film still: Tula, the Revolt
Best Film
Best Lead Actor
San Diego Black
Film Fest

Starring Danny Glover, Tula, the Revolt is an international feature-length movie about the leader of the big slave uprising on the island of Curaçao, a Dutch colony in 1795. It tells the true story of a man who dared to stand up against his oppressors leading his people in a peaceful march for freedom, equality and brotherhood. Although several movies on the broader subject of slavery have been made, there was never a movie on the essence of slave resistance. The revolt on Curaçao began peacefully and was meant to be won by words, rather than arms. As many slaves were transported and traded through the Caribbean transit harbors like the one on Curaçao, this story belongs to them and to their descendants. It deserves to be told, for it is an important part of history, identity and in the end, of our society today.

Directed by Jeroen Leinders, Netherlands/Curaçao, 2013, 100 mins. In English.

This program sponsored by the Curaçao Tourism Corporation.


  • Sat., June 14 at 6:15 pm
  • Tues., June 17 at 6:00 pm

DuSable Heritage Association
Special screening of Chicago Premiere program

Sponsored by the DuSable Heritage Association and the
Quebec Government Office—Chicago

Chicago Premiere

Birthright Crisis

Film still: Birthright Crisis

People of Haitian descent are systematically denied citizenship rights in the Dominican Republic. This video is about the Haitian-Dominican community's resistance in the face of illegal deportations, scapegoating, and exclusion.

Directed by Haitian Women 4 Haitian Refugees, 2013, 15 mins. In Creole and Spanish with English subtitles.


From Coffee Plantation to the Tumba Francesca

Film still: From Coffee Plantation to the Tumba Francesca

At the end of the 18th century, the Haitian revolution compelled thousands of white colonists, mulattoes, freed blacks and slaves to flee Saint-Domingue and seek refuge in the Eastern region of Cuba. This first wave of immigrants opened the way to others arriving from France until 1868. Many of these newcomers bought land in the mountains and established themselves as coffee planters while others settled in Santiago de Cuba. They left a profound influence on the industry, commerce, customs and culture of the region. Two centuries later, traces of the French presence in Cuba still remain. Among these cultural remnants is the "Tumba Francesa": a dance inspired by those in fashion at the court of Versailles and practiced by descendants of Saint-Domingue slaves in accordance with the choreography and religious traditions of their Dahomeyan ancestry.

Directed by Frantz Voltaire, 2013, 31 mins. In Spanish with English subtitles.

The screening will be followed by a Q&A with Frantz Voltaire, founder and current chairman of CIDIHCA, a Haitian and Caribbean research center based in Montreal.


  • Sat., June 15 at 8:30 pm
    Preceded by a reception at 7:30 pm
Chicago Premiere

Tango Negro, The African Roots
of Tango

Film still: Tango Negro, The African Roots of Tango

Tango Negro, The African Roots of Tango by Angolan filmmaker Dom Pedro explores the expression of Tango's Africanness and the contribution of African cultures in the creation of the tango. Tango was a reflection of the social life of the slaves that were taken to South America—including Argentina and Uruguay—mostly from central Africa, particularly from the former Kongo Kingdom. Director Dom Pedro reveals the depth of the footprints of the African music on the tango, through this rich movie combining musical performances and interviews from many tango fans and historians in Latin America and Europe, including the renowned Argentinean pianist Juan Carlos Caceres.

Directed by Dom Pedro, France, 2013, 93 mins. In French and Spanish with English subtitles.


  • Sun., June 15 at 2:00 pm
  • Wed., June 18 at 8:00 pm

Josephine Baker: Black Diva in a White Man's World

Film still: Josephine Baker: Black Diva in a White Man's World

A tender, revealing documentary about one of the most famous and popular performing artists of the 20th century. Her legendary banana belt dance created theatre history; her song J'ai deux amours became a classic, and her hymn. The film focuses on her life and work from a perspective that analyses images of Black people in popular culture. It portrays the artist in the mirror of European colonial clichés and presents her as a resistance fighter, an ambulance driver during WWII, and an outspoken activist against racial discrimination involved in the worldwide Black Consciousness movement of the 20th century.

Directed by Annette von Wangenheim, Germany, 2006, 45 mins. In English, French and German with English subtitles.


Two Dollars and a Dream

Film still: Two Dollars and a Dream

A documentary which focuses on Madame C.J. Walker, a black woman who, in 1910, made a small investment in a company specializing in black hair and skin care products and realized a dream that made her America's first self-made millionairess. The program also documents the life of her daughter, A'Lelia Walker, black America's patron of the Harlem Renaissance. Included are interviews with the Walkers' friends and coworkers and a collection of stills, film, and music from the period.

Directed by Stanley Nelson, USA., 1987, 56 mins. In English

The screenings will be followed by a Q&A with Professor Zakiya R. Adair, Ph.D..


  • Sun., June 15 at 4:00 p
Chicago Premiere

The Miscreants

Film still: The Miscreants
Best Arab Feature
Cairo International
Film Fest
Best First Film
Tangier National
Film Fest
  —Hollywood Reporter

On the order of their spiritual leader, three young Islamists (Mustapha El Houari, Omar Lotfi and Aissam Bouali) kidnap a group of free-spirited actors (three men and two women) who are about to go on tour with their latest show. But when the kidnappers arrive at the isolated farmhouse in the countryside designated as the spot to imprison their frightened and bewildered captives, they find themselves unable to reach their commanders for further orders. Over seven tense days of forced seclusion and interaction, the two groups find that their most closely held convictions and prejudices are challenged.

Now residing in Switzerland, Morocco-born Mohcine Besri tackles a thorny issue with this low-budget drama: how people from the same nation can maintain radically different beliefs about issues such as religious observance, art, dress and individual choice. While for most audiences, the kidnappers represent the reprobates, Besri shows us why the Islamists consider the actors to be miscreants. Yet even as secularity and non-conformity are pitted against religious fundamentalism, the film validates that humans have a lot in common in spite of their differences and that doubt about one's convictions is more valuable than certainty.

Directed by Mohcine Besri, Morocco/Switzerland, 2012, 88 mins. In Arabic with English subtitles.


  • Sun., June 15 at 6:30 pm
    Preceded by a reception at 5:30 pm
Chicago Premiere

The African Cypher

Film still: The African Cypher

This is the physicality of the dance; the awe of a body flowing through space, flipping, spinning, and snaking as if giving birth to a new means of self-expression. Across South African cities and townships, dance has long been a mirror of the community, replaying allegorical stories that both educate and entertain. The film harnesses the energy of the unique and diverse performance styles of isiPantsula and sBhujwa to Krump and B-boy. Crime and poverty may be a challenging reality in township life, but the dancers featured describe how their art has enriched their lives with new avenues, and pay it forward by engaging with youth through mentorship and dance training that breaks the cycle of crime and offers hope.

Directed by Bryan Little, South Africa, 2012, 88 mins. In Zulu, Xhosa and Afrikaans with English subtitles.

June 16 is Youth Day in South Africa.
Come discuss comtemporary South Africa with Mr. Karabo Letlaka, Consul Political, South African Consulate General Chicago.


  • Mon., June 16 at 6:30 pm
Chicago Premiere

Jews of Egypt

Film still: Jews of Egypt
"[Director Amir] Ramses shows a talent for storytelling.... The movie is rich in romanticism and complex political relationships"
  —New York Times
"A dense, often chilling work"
  —Village Voice
"An affectionate picture of a multicultural Egypt that no longer exists... a compelling history lesson"
  —Chicago Reader

A documentary that captures fragments of the lives of the Egyptian Jewish community in the first half of the twentieth century until their second grand exodus after the tripartite attack of 1956. An attempt to understand the change in the identity of the Egyptian society that turned from a society full of tolerance and acceptance of one another and how it changed gradually by mixing religious and political views into a society that rejects the others. A film about the cosmopolitan Egypt in the 40's and Egypt in the new millennium.

Directed by Amir Ramses, Egypt, 2013, 95 mins. In Arabic and French with English subtitles.


  • Mon., June 16 at 8:30 pm
  • Thurs., June 19 at 6 pm

Made in Jamaica

Film still: Made in Jamaica
"A veritable masterpiece, the ultimate reference on reggae music. A pure diamond"
  —Wim Wenders
"The music is amazing... There's an analytical approach to the material here, but Laperrousaz doesn't parade his views; he lets the editing do the talking for him"
  —TimeOut Chicago

Made in Jamaica is a powerful portrait of the leaders of a Jamaican music movement that has become a worldwide phenomenon. The film tells the story of how artists on a small island nation in the Caribbean of only three million people took their human experience and turned it into songs full of emotion that resonate around the world. Reggae is Jamaica's blues: a music of both desperation and hope. With interviews and musical performances by such artists as Capleton, Elephant Man, Bunny Wailer, Toots & the Maytals, Bounty Killer, Gregory Isaacs, Tanya Stephens, Beres Hammond, Third World, Lady Saw, Sly Dunbar & Robbie Shakespeare, Joseph Current, Vybz Kartel, Shiah Coore, Koolant, Alaine, Doc Marshall, Brick & Lace, Blessed and Bogle.

Directed by Jérôme Laperrousaz, Jamaica/France/USA, 2006, 110 mins. In English


  • Tues., June 17 at 8 pm
Chicago Premiere

Love Triangle

Film still: Love Triangle
Best Feature Film
Best Actress
San Diego Black
Film Fest
"This sultry, slow-burning melodrama...generates a palpable suspense"
  —Chicago Reader

A story about two best friends who are madly in love with the same person. How far will a person go for love? Could love convince you to risk losing everything? Could losing the one you love drive you crazy? Would you kill for love? All of these questions will be answered in this suspense love story. So brace yourself and get ready for this emotional roller coaster ride.

Directed by Markiss McFadden, USA, 2013, 112 mins.


  • Thurs., June 19 at 8:00 pm
Order tickets


$9 general admission

FREE for Facets Members

The Facets Cinémathèque is located at 1517 W. Fullerton Ave. in Chicago. Call the Cinémathèque Hotline at 773.281.4114 for the latest schedule, showtimes and updates.

For all Cinémathèque inquiries, contact Charles Coleman at 773.281.9075 or

  • John D. & Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation
  • Artworks: National Endowment for the Arts
  • Academy of Motion Picture Arts & Sciences
  • Comer Family Foundation
  • Bloomberg Philanthropies
  • Alphawood Foundation
  • Polk Bros. Foundation