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The African Diaspora Film Festival (ADFF) is the first film festival focusing on the human experience of people of color. The Festival begins every year on the last Friday of November during the Thanksgiving weekend and runs for 18 days. ADFF's 17th anniversary will be celebrated from Friday, November 27 through Sunday, December 15, 2009.The venues are at various locations in Manhattan, NYC including: Anthology Film Archives, The Thalia Cinema, the Riverside Theater, the Schomburg Center and Teachers College, Columbia University.The festival highlights include a world premiere and 39 U.S. premieres, and more than 35 films by and about women, including the ArtMattan Productions Competition for the Best Film Directed by a Woman of Color.Opening Night screenings are Wole Soyinka: Child of the Forest, directed by Akin Omotoso - A profile of the life of Wole Soyinka, Nigerian writer, poet and playwright, the first African to win the Nobel Prize for Literature; and Nothing but the Truth, directed by John Kani, who also plays the lead, in this adaptation of his award-winning play. The story explores the struggle between those Black South Africans who remained in South Africa and risked their lives to lead the struggle against apartheid and those who returned victoriously after living in exile. The Centerpiece Screening is the New York Premiere of Inside Buffalo, directed by Fred Kudjo Kuwornu. Inside Buffalo is a full length documentary about the 92nd Infantry Division, an African American segregated unit of 15,000 soldiers known as “Buffalo Soldiers,” who served in Italy during WWII.The ADFF 2009 Filmmaker In Residence is Egyptian-born Khaled El Hagar. Three of El Hagar’s films are having New York premieres: Stolen Kisses / Kobolat Masroka, about nine 20-something Egyptians coping with life in modern Cairo; None but That! / Mafeesh Gher Keda!, Egypt’s first musical, which follows the life of a struggling single mother and her family as they cope with sudden fame and wealth; and A Gulf Between Us, about a relationship between an Arab student and a Jewish woman during the Gulf War. This 1995 film stirred up such outrage that El Hagar was compelled to leave Egypt and could not return until 2003. The other films are Women's Love / Hob El Banat is El Hagar’s award-winning romantic comedy about three half-sisters brought together by the death of their father, and A Room to Rent, which depicts a young Egyptian screenwriter seeking his artistic freedom in London. Elements of Mine is a short drama dance film El Hagar made with Norbert Servos. The filmmaker will be present for Q&A sessions after all of his films.This year’s ADFF Theme Programs include six tracks that examine the lives of women: Afro-Colombian Women, African Women Stories, Girl Stories, Palestinian Women, Portraits of Haitian Women, and Women Indies Night. The other themes include African Men in Shorts, African Syncretism in Tunisia and India, Exile & Cinema in Sudan, Hip Hop Stories, Cultures of Resistance and South African Cinema.Another special feature of the ADFF is the Two by One Program, which screens two films each by selected directors. This year, the selections are by King Ampaw (Ghana), Sylvia D. Hamilton (Canada), Tunde Kelani (Nigeria), Angel Muñiz (Dominican Republic), Edmundo H. Rodriguez (Puerto Rico), Khady Silla (Senegal), Silvio Tendler (Brazil) and Issa Traore De Brahima (Burkina Faso).Several eye-opening documentaries are also screened: Directed by Ana Lucia Ramos Lisboa, Amilcar Cabral recounts the story of Amilcar Cabral, the leader of the Liberation Movement of Cape Verde and Guinea Bissau and the founder of the African Party for the Independence of Guinea Bissau and Cape Verde (PAIGC). This documentary provides considerable background about this revolutionary giant. The documentary is skillfully produced with a wealth of rare archive footage and several interviews with important African personalities. Katanga Business, directed by Thierry Michel, is a documentary exploring the efforts of the charismatic Congolese governor as he deals with entreupreuneurs from Europe and China and with his own national government while fighting for a better life for Congolese workers. This thriller-like documentary offers a revealing look at the impact of globalization on Africa in the diamond rich Katanga region of the Democratic Republic of Congo.A Forgotten Injustice, directed by Vicente Serrano, is the first documentary that uncovers the story of almost two million Mexican Americans and U.S. citizens who were forced out of the United States during the Great Depression in the 1930s. These people were forced to leave because of one reason: They were of Mexican descent. In order to avoid making the same mistakes in our efforts to find a solution to today's immigration problem, we have to look back and learn from "A Forgotten Injustice." Occupation of Hawai'i / Noho Hewa: The Wrongful Occupation of Hawai'i, directed by Anne Keala Kelly. “This is an emotionally raw portrayal of issues that shape the political, economic and cultural world of Hawaiians. The film provides a contemporary look at the impact of militarism, tourism and real estate, making critical links between these seemingly unrelated industries via their collective power to force Hawaiians out of their homeland economically, politically and culturally. It frames desecration of Hawaiian burials and sacred sites as an intentional tool deployed by the American system and questions the role settlers play in the dispossession of the Hawaiian people and disruption of their inherent sovereignty.” In the current spirit of change and cultural awareness, this film is a must-see for all Americans whose impressions of Hawai’i have too long been limited to idealized tradition. The ADFF was created in November 1993 by the husband and wife team of Reinaldo Barroso-Spech & Diarah N'Daw-Spech on the belief that education is power. He is an educator in foreign languages and Black Literature and she a financial consultant and university budget manager. They are of the reality that film is the truest medium for creating a fertile ground for education. The future of communities of color is directly tied to the expansion of the experiences, depth and breadth of their reach and interaction with other communities and the framework from which talent can stand front and center. The fest and their goal is an informed and talented community coming together to exchange ideas and strategies for improving our respective world.
Since its launch, the Festival has claimed a history of firsts in presenting, interpreting and educating about films from throughout the world that depict the lives of people from Africa and the African Diaspora. The festival features world and US premieres, recent popular titles, classic movies, foreign and independent releases. Post-screening question-and-answer sessions and panel discussions are part of the program.The ADFF also holds a series of traveling festivals/events at the Jersey City Museum in January, at the Brooklyn Academy of Music (BAM) in February, at Facets Cinematheque in Chicago in June, at National Geographic in Washington DC in July and at the Riverside Theatre in Manhattan in August.The African Diaspora Film Festival has its ADFF Cine-Club which holds monthly community screenings at Teachers College, Columbia University that are free and open to the public.Today more than at any other time, there are more films by black directors, more films on the black experience, and more films with featured black actors enjoyed by all audiences. Notwithstanding, the international Black communities, whether in Europe, Latin America or Africa, continue to play a disproportionately marginal role in the art of cinema. Further, many creative and visionary films lay collecting dust without the light of a screening owing to the lack of distribution outlets that showcase the films of this experience.The images of stereotypes, myths, and deprived cultural experiences continue, while talented people of color proceed to run up against the infamous "numbers" game with respect to how many directors or films of color can an "already permeated" market absorb.ADFF’s mission is to present these films to diverse audiences, redesign the Black cinema experience, and strengthen the role of African and African descent directors in contemporary world cinema. In response to this mission, ADFF features the work of emerging and established filmmakers of color. Most important, ADFF distinguishes itself through its presentation of outstanding works that shine a different or comprehensive light on African Diaspora life and culture --no matter what the filmmaker’s race or nationality.By placing the spotlight on innovative films that would otherwise be ignored by traditional venues, the Festival offers a unique platform for conveying African Diaspora artistic styles and craft in film. The ADFF is a bridge between diverse communities looking for works that cannot be found in other festivals and talented and visionary filmmakers and works that are part of Africa and the African Diaspora. The ADFF is where people from diverse races, nationalities and backgrounds come together to enjoy important cinematic works of creativity, intellectual expansion, identity, and equality. In this world there are no boundaries around people because they are embraced in a universal understanding of humanity. This is the element of commonality that weaves through this annual event of images from Africa and the African Diaspora.
For further information: 212-864-1760 or www.NYADFF.org
The African Diaspora Film Festival (ADFF)Nov. 27 - Sunday, Dec. 15, 2009Anthology Film ArchivesThe Thalia CinemaThe Riverside TheaterThe Schomburg CenterTeachers College. Columbia UniversityManhattan, NYC
Lots of festivals have “international” in their name, but don’t really mean it. Not so The Palm Springs International Film Festival, cinema’s answer to the UN. PSIFF assembles the films that have been nominated by their countries of origin as the year’s surest shot at winning a Best Foreign Language Oscar. The Festival’s 21st session, running January 5-18, 2010, will show more than 200 films from 60 countries. From rogue nations to close allies, much of the global community will vie in a juried competition decided by majority vote.PSIFF also presents American independent and international films launching their world, North American or domestic premieres, as well as filmmaker tributes, industry seminars and cultural do’s.The centerpiece of the Festival is its annual Awards Gala, which serves as “a precursor to the Golden Globes and Oscars,” per Festival Director Darryl Macdonald. Three of last year’s honorees – actor Anne Hathaway, director Gus Van Sant and composer Alexandre Desplat – were nominated for Academy Awards, and another, Sean Penn, took home Best Actor statuette. Attendees of the January 5, 2010 black tie affair at The Palm Springs Convention Center can hope to rub shoulders with the likes of Mariah Carey, Anna Kendrick, Morgan Freeman and Helen Mirren. Carey will receive The Breakthrough Performance Award for her supporting role in Lee Daniels’ Precious: Based on the Novel “Push” By Sapphire, while Kendrick’s performance in Up in the Air, directed by Jason Reitman, will land her The Rising Star Award. Freeman and Mirren will add The Career Achievement Award to their mantle of trophies, touting their respective star turns as Nelson Mandela in Invictus and as Countess Sofya Tolstoy in The Last Station, among a combined body of work spanning eight decades. Aside from garnering for the Festival what Macdonald terms “credible attention,” the Gala also plumps its coffers. Last year’s swank soiree mobilized more than a million dollars for the desert jamboree founded in 1990 by then Mayor Sonny Bono. Ticket sales reportedly brought in another $1,126,900, and the Festival’s 15 plexes seated nearly 130,000 bottoms, 3% more than in 2008. Not bad for the toughest times since the Great Depression. How is 2010 shaping up? Though Festival passes are selling more briskly this year and sponsorship is holding steady, the mood remains “cautious,” said Macdonald. He cited the dramatic dip in ticket sales and sponsors incurred by the Seattle Film Festival, which he founded, and Sundance’s recent loss of wine and beer sponsors as but two examples of economic fallout on the festival circuit. Thanks to its strategic position in the annual film cycle, PSIFF serves as an oracle and a marketing tool for awards contenders. Consulates and film companies from around the world throw resources at it, from glitzy parties to glossy ads touting their submissions. Palm Springs is the last chance for members of the Foreign Oscar committees to catch an Academy-recognized screening.Beyond the industry, film buffs come to the winter happening for its quality slate, balmy temperatures and resort atmosphere. “You’ve got warm weather and a lot of decent pictures to see,” said film critic Harlan Jacobson, who leads festival tours to Palm Springs through his national cinema forum, Talk Cinema. “It’s the official summation of the year that has just ended…and of what’s headed to that Oscar gateway,” he continued. Films that come to PSIFF 2010 amid quickened whispers include: Argentina’s The Secret of Their Eyes, a thriller by Juan Jose Campanella about a man trying to crack a murder case gone 30-years-cold, and South Africa’s White Wedding, a post-apartheid road comedy by Jann Turner in Afrikaans, English, Zulu and Xhosa.
From Peru, there’s Claudia Llosa’s The Milk of Sorrow, which took The Golden Bear at The Berlin Film Festival for its fable of rape and trauma. Berlin’s Silver Bear went to suspense drama About Elly, Iran’s official submission directed by Asghar Farhadi. Terribly Happy also carries advanced buzz.
Henrik Ruben Genz did Denmark proud when his stylish noir flick bagged The Grand Prix Crystal Globe at The Karlovy Vary Film Festival. Australia’s official Oscar submission is Walpiri-language Samson & Delilah. The debut feature by indigenous filmmaker Warwick Thornton won The Camera d’Or at Cannes.
According to Macdonald, PSIFF will celebrate Australia’s “standout” year with a special showcase of the country’s emerging directors. “One of the tasks we set ourselves is the discovery of new talents who have a fresh voice in storytelling,” said Macdonald, adding that more than 50 of this year’s films are by first-time directors. As the globe shrinks, are Americans becoming more – or less – drawn to the sort of international fare shown at Palm Springs? “Festival audiences by and large have a higher gross income, and are interested in exploring the universe,” noted Macdonald. Translation: PSIFF may be one of North America’s largest festivals, but it’s no gauge of mainstream enthusiasm for subtitles.
For more info got to: www.psfilmfest.org
Palm Springs International Film FestivalJan. 5 - 18, 2010Opening Night Black Tie Awards GalaPalm Springs Convention Center277 North Avenida CaballerosPalm Springs, CA 92262
Various Locations TBDClosing Night
Palm Springs High School2401 East Baristo RdPalm Springs, CA 92262Palm Springs International Film Society1700 East Tahquitz Canyon Way, Suite #3
Palm Springs, CA 92262
Phone: 760 322 2930
When Lithuania regained its independence on March 1990, state funding for filmmaking reduced significantly and directors had to turn to the smaller studios that had emerged. Lithuanian filmmakers continued to push on, releasing numerous distinguished works exploring themes of identity — both personal and national — despite the limitations they faced.The Museum of Modern Art will be exploring these last 20 years of fiction and nonfiction Lithuanian features and short films. Lithuanian Cinema: 1990-2009 is the first U.S. survey of films from this Baltic republic and will screen at the Roy and Niuta Titus Theaters at the MoMA from Dec. 4 through Dec. 13, 2009.Some Lithuanian filmmakers have earned international reputations, including Sarunas Bartas; Arunas Matelis, who was awarded the Directors Guild of America Best Documentary Filmmaker award in 2007 for Before Flying Back to Earth; and Jonas Mekas, whose creative and organizational activity in the U.S. has been essential to American independent filmmaking. Other filmmakers like Raimundas Banionis and the team of Romas Lileikis and Stasys Motiejunas, whose films appeared early in the “liberation” of Lithuanian cinema, deserve to be better known abroad — as do Kristina Buozyte (The Collectress) and Gytis Luksas (Vortex), both of whom will have their American premieres. All films are from Lithuania and in Lithuanian with English subtitles, unless otherwise noted. Tickets for the screenings are $10 for adults, $8 for seniors and $6 for full-time students. Admission is free for MoMA members and museum ticketholders.
Dec. 4 4 p.m. — Vaikai is ‘Amerikos viesbucio’ (Children from “Hotel America”) directed by Raimundas BanionisIn Kaunas, Lithuania’s second-largest city, a group of young people listen to prohibited Western music and surreptitiously attempt to create a Woodstock of their own. 7 p.m. — Trys dienos (Three Days)directed by Sarunas BartasTwo friends from Lithuania travel to Soviet Kaliningrad, hoping to find companionship in an allied state. Bartas will be present at the Dec. 4 screening to introduce the film.Dec. 51 p.m. — Two award-winning documentariesPries parskrendant i zeme (Before Flying Back to Earth)directed by Arunas MatelisMatelis’s daughter was treated for leukemia in a children’s ward in Vilnius. After her release, the filmmaker returned to record the lives and dreams of the children who remained. Zmogus arklys (Man-Horse) directed by Audrius MickeviciusSeasons and regimes change, but an elderly farmer remains tied to his faithful horse.5:30 p.m. — Namas (The House) directed by Sarunas BartasMight a house — strangely situated, curiously occupied, both welcoming and frightening — be a metaphor for an entire nation? 6 p.m. — Trys dienos (Three Days) See description under Dec. 4 at 7 p.m. 8 p.m. — Kolekcioniere (The Collectress) directed by Kristina BuozyteWhen a respected pediatrician suddenly finds that she cannot experience any emotions unless she is utterly humiliated, her desire to feel leads to ever more desperate measures. Dec. 61 p.m. — As esu (I Am) directed by Romas Lileikis and Stasys MotiejunasA young boy with a vivid imagination witnesses social changes that he cannot understand. 3 p.m. — Six Lithuanian shorts 10 minuciu pres Ikaro skrydi (10 Minutes before the Flight of Icarus)directed by Arunas MatelisDocumentary about Uzupis, a special neighborhood in Vilnius Earth of the Blind (Neregiu zeme) directed by Audrius StonysShort film explores the inner world of the blind. Spring (Pavasaris) directed by Valdas NavasaitisAn old man lives in a frequently flooded area.Vilkas (The Wolf)directed by Julius ZizA man is taken to be executed.Gyveno senelis ir bobute (Grandpa and Grandma)directed by Giedre BeinoriuteBeinoriute investigates her grandparents’ exile to Siberia in 1948.The Windowdirected by Julius ZizThe filmmaker gives another perspective of looking at the world. 5 p.m. — Two award-winning documentariesSee description under Dec. 5 at 1 p.m.Dec. 74:30 p.m. — Kolekcioniere (The Collectress)See description under Dec. 5 at 8 p.m.Dec. 94 p.m. — As esu (I Am)See description under Dec. 6 at 1 p.m. 6:15 p.m. — Lithuania and the Collapse of the USSRDirected by Jonas MekasUsing a video camera to film news broadcasts from his television screen, Mekas recorded the rocky and dramatic transition from Lithuania's declaration of independence in March 1990 to its induction into the United Nations in September 1991. Dec. 104 p.m. — Six Lithuanian shortsSee description under Dec. 6 at 3 p.m.Dec. 117 p.m. — Duburys (Vortex) directed by Gytis LuksasAn exquisite black-and-white chronicle of a young man’s shifting relationships as he adjusts rather dramatically to the unfamiliarity of freedom. Dec. 121 p.m. — Namas (The House)See description under Dec. 5 at 5:30 p.m. 3:15 p.m. — Duburys (Vortex)See description under Dec. 11 at 7 p.m. Dec. 1312:30 p.m. — Lithuania and the Collapse of the USSRSee description under Dec. 9 at 6:15 p.m. Dec. 147 p.m. — Vaikai is ‘Amerikos viesbucio’ (Children from “Hotel America”) See description under Dec. 4 at 4 p.m.For more information, check out: http://moma.org/visit/calendar/films/1020
Lithuanian Cinema: 1990-2009The Museum of Modern Art11 West 53rd Street, New York CityDec. 4 to Dec. 13, 2009
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