The African Diaspora International Film Festival

"Kinshasa Makambo"

“Kinshasa Makambo”

The celebration that
inspires imaginations,
disrupts stereotypes, and
guides attitudes
toward justice
plays at Facets
June 21 through 27

The 17th annual African Diaspora International Film Festival (ADIFF) will run from June 21 to 27 at Chicago’s Facets Cinematheque (1517 W. Fullerton Ave.).

Established in 1993, the ADIFF is a minority-led, not-for profit international gala that presents, interprets and educates about films that explore the human experience of people of color all over the world. Along the way, it inspires imaginations, disrupt stereotypes, and help transform attitudes that perpetuate injustice.

This year’s program opens with Ali’s Comeback: The Untold Story by Art Jones and includes films set in the United States, Mexico, Haiti, Barbados, DRC, Jamaica, and Morocco.

See below for select highlights. Click here for the full schedule.

Ali’s Comeback: The Untold Story

Ali’s Comeback: The Untold Story by Art Jones is a fascinating documentary that recounts the unsung saga that broke the boxing’s blacklist status of Muhammad Ali, the champion who said “no” to war and racism.

Pardons of Innocence
This year’s centerpiece — presented in collaboration with media sponsor Chicago Crusader — is Pardons of Innocence: The Wilmington Ten by Cash Michaels.

Pardons of Innocence is a powerful documentary about the violence that led to the false prosecution and convictions of eight black male students, a white female community organizer, and fiery civil rights activist, Rev. Benjamin Chavis.

The group had formed to protest the racial injustice associated with the troubled desegregation of New Hanover County Public School System in North Carolina from the late 1960s to the early 70s.



Other highlights

Actors Danny Glover and Ben Guillory have been friends for over 50 years. They share with the audience the extraordinary story of that friendship, some of their life’s journey, their artistic journey and their shared admiration of Paul Robeson, which led them to the creation of the Robey Theatre Company in Los Angeles, California.


Black Mexicans (La Negrada) by Jorge Perez Solano, the first Mexican feature film about the Afro-Mexican community, was filmed entirely with people from different towns around the Costa Chica in Oaxaca.


Kinshasa Makambo by Dieudo Hamadi follows young activists who fight for change in the Democratic Republic of the Congo.

Spotlight on the UK Black experience
The festival is presenting a selection of films about Black Life in the UK. With an important population of African descendants participating in many levels of British society, the UK Black Experience in films provides a very interesting window on the global Black experience.

The Spotlight on the UK Black Experience program travels from the 1981 London with Burning an Illusion by Menelik Sabbaz to contemporary London with No Shade by Clare Anyiam-Osigwe telling stories around music — with Hanging Out: Youth Culture Then and Now by Lorna Holder and Yvonne Deutschman — and the troubles of Black women looking for love in London.

Caribbean programs
The Caribbean is a part of the Americas that has a rich legacy. Two films from Jamaica and Barbados respectively pay homage to two great men in the region. Catch a Fire by Menelik Sabbaz is a film about the legacy of Paul Bogle in Jamaica and Barrow: Freedom Fighter by Marcia Weekes narrates the story of the man who made history as the leader of Barbados independence from more than 300 years of British rule.

Presented in collaboration with the Dusable Heritage Association is Out of Chaos, An Artist’s Journey in Haiti by Pascal Giacomini. Invited by the Ghetto Biennale of Port au Prince, the multimedia artist.

Pascal Giacomini spends a month in the community of Grand Rue. He works there, using only what he can find and recycle to create three large sculptures, exhibited at the end of the festival with local artists.

Chicago Films
Closing Night will be a very local event with the presentation of two Chicagoan independent filmmakers whose films tell us stories of family trouble, love, sexual orientation, and growing Black in America.

The short film Made in His Image, by 13-year-old Anah Ambuchi, denounces bullying. Thicker Than Blood by Anthony L. Williams is a LBGT drama that explores with great sensitivity the themes of tolerance, connection, beliefs and faith within an African-American middle class family.


All films screen at Facets, 1517 W. Fullerton Ave. For additional information, schedule, and tickets, click here.

The 17th Annual African Diaspora Film Festival-Chicago is made possible thanks to the generous support of the following institutions: Facets Cinemateque, ArtMattan Productions, the Center for Black Diaspora at DePaul University, The Dusable Heritage Association and media sponsors The Reader and The Chicago Crusader. The African Diaspora International Film Festival is a 501(c)(3) not for profit organization.

Send your film updates to Reel Chicago Editor Dan Patton,