5th Annual ADFF Summer Film Series – Films by and about Women August 20th-29th
The African Diaspora Summer Film Series is celebrating its 5th anniversary at The Riverside Theater this year and it is quickly becoming an important event among the ones under the African Diaspora Film Festival umbrella in New York City.
The Riverside Theater 91 Claremont Ave., between 120th & 122nd Streets (Morningside Heights) August 20th – 29th NYWIFT members and their guests pay the discounted rate for tickets as follows:
Opening And Closing Film: $13.00
General Admission to all other films: $8.00 (this discount applies for the entire festival)
Tickets can be purchased online at www.theriversidetheatre.org, by phone at 212.870.6784, or in person at the Theater box office (Thursday-Saturday 4:00 p.m. – 8:00 p.m.; Sunday, noon – 4:00 p.m.).
Held the two last weekends of the month of August, the Series has this year several films directed by women that are powerful, thought provoking and touching, and which present very revealing issues in many ways. The following is the list of films:
OPENING NIGHT FILM – August 20th NY PREMIERE Happy Sad (2008/Trinidad & Tobago/105mins.)
Dir: Dianah Wynter
After her mother is sent to prison, profound changes occur in the lives of several people when 17-year-old Mandy Graham goes to live with her father’s dysfunctional family who she never knew. Soon passions are unleashed, laying bare souls and revealing long hidden secrets. A feature film made entirely in Trinidad with local cast and crew, Happy Sad is an absorbing family drama that follows seamlessly the daily life of several members of a middle class family in Trinidad & Tobago. The title Happy Sad, which refers to the various events that happen in the film, is a reflection of life itself; some events hare happy and some are sad. One can easily identify with the struggles, insecurities, and successes of the various characters in the story, as the issues presented are human issues that we all face everyday. It is a beautiful film that will remind people of home.
The film was directed by Dianah Wynter who directed several TV episodes of Soul Food as well as Daddy’s Girl — ABC daytime special with Elise Neal and featuring singer Lauryn Hill — that won the Artios Award for Best Ensemble cast from the Casting Society of America, as well as an Emmy nomination for Best Director. To make Happy Sad, she worked with Trinidadian screenwriter and producer Horace Wilson, American veteran actor Bill Cobbs, and a group of up-and- coming Caribbean talent including 22-year-old model and actress Angel Ross in her breakthrough leading role on this feature film. Q&A with director and lead actress after the screening.
Cape Verde My Love (2007/Cape Verde/77mins.) Dir. Ana Ramos Lisboa Praïa, Cape verde. Laura, Flavia and Bela are childhood friends. Each leads her own life and they sometimes meet to dance, dine and have fun. But one day the calm rivers of their lives break their banks and become wild torrents: Ricardo, Flavia’s husband, rapes his pupil Indira, Laura’s 13-year old eldest daughter. A film that takes a critical look at the lives of women in Cape Verde. In Portuguese with English subtitles
The Wedding Song (2009/Tunisia/100mins)
Dir. Karin Albou Tunis, 1942.
Nour and Myriam, 16, have been friends since childhood. They share the same house in a modest neighborhood where Jews and Muslims live in harmony. Each one secretly desires the other girl’s life: while Nour regrets that she doesn’t go to school like her friend, Myriam dreams of love. She is envious of Nour’s engagement to her cousin Khaled, a sort of fantasy of the charming Arabian prince that they both share. Unfortunately, Khaled cannot find work. The engagement lingers and the prospect of a carnal union grows more distant. In November 1942, the German army enters Tunis. Pursuing the policies of the Vichy regime, the Nazis impose a heavy fine on the Jewish community. Tita, Myriam’s mother, no longer has the right to work. Crippled with debts, she decides to marry her daughter to a rich doctor, and Myriam sees her dreams of love suddenly fade away.
In Arabic and French with English subtitles.
Sara Gomez: an Afro-Cuban Filmmaker (2005/Cuba/Switzerland/76mins.)
Dir. Alessandra Muller
A rich, multilayered documentary about Afro-Cuban director Sarah Gomez. Born in 1943, she studied literature, piano, and Afro-Cuban ethnography before becoming the first female Cuban filmmaker. A woman of great intelligence, independence and generosity, she was a revolutionary filmmaker with intersecting concerns about the Afro-Cuban community and the value of its cultural traditions, women’s issues, and the treatment of the marginalized sectors of society. Through archival footage of her works and interviews with her children and husband Germinal Hernandez, cast members of her best-known film De cierta manera as well as colleagues and friends, we get closer to a filmmaker who invented new landscapes and brought together opposite worlds.
In Spanish with English subtitles.
Hearing Radmilla (2010/USA/82 mins.)
Dir. Angela Webb
The portrait of singer Radmilla Cody who was crowned the first Black Miss Navajo Nation in1997-1998. The film follows Radmilla through her controversial reign, the development of her musical career and the realities of falling in love with an abusive man. The serious legal consequences of her choices including some time spent in prison made her grew stronger spiritually. Ms. Cody is using her voice to be a spokesperson and role model for youngsters that she encounters on her journey.
Greening the Revolution (2010/USA/90mins.)
Dir. Katie Curran
This powerful documentary investigates today’s globalized, profit-centered food system — while agribusiness reaps record wealth, starving protesters cry for affordable food and peasants choose between land and death. But this feature documentary goes further, providing proof that farmers and workers are organized and fighting back, while implementing their own sustainable alternatives. Filmmaker Katie Curran traveled through Mexico, Cuba, India, Kenya, Zambia, Brazil, Haiti and the United States to capture intimate footage of food crisis and justice, with interviews from farmers, workers and activists, government and corporate officials, and intellectuals such as Howard Zinn, Vandana Shiva and Noam Chomsky.
CLOSING EVENT – Screening and Music Performance 8/27 NY Premiere La Colombiana (Passing the Torch) (2009/ Colombia-United Kingdom /58mins)
Dir. Jake Holmes
This is the story of the legendary Afro-Colombian singer, Totó La Momposina. The film exemplifies the living tradition of Afro-Colombian music. Having carefully studied and performed her native song and dance for several decades, La Momposina mastered its rhythmic variations so well that she was invited to perform at the Nobel Prize ceremony for Colombian novelist Gabriel García Márquez. An intimate portrait, the film follows the singer as she struggles to keep her culture alive through her children and grandchildren who travel with her to Colombia’s Caribbean coast.
Screening followed with musical performance by film host and co-producer Amanda Homi. Over the years Amanda who was born in London has written Reggae songs in Jamaica, studied Sabar drumming and dance in Senegal, played Brazilian percussion in Bahia, and sung with Gypsy Flamenco artists in Spain. Her songs are inspired by her global adventures. She performs with her multi-talented band, singing in several languages, playing percussion and dancing. Amanda’s live performance reflects her passion for the musical cultures and rhythms that touch her heart. From the moment they hit the stage you will be drawn into their colorful world. Her songs are true to their international sources, and at the same time offer the best of great pop music – irresistible hooks, infectious rhythms, and slice-of-life stories that inspire listeners to sing and dance along. She is currently in production for a music/travel series she is hosting entitled Amanda’s World Beat. Through music and dance she shows how easily we can make friends and get to the heart of unfamiliar cultures. In each episode, she chooses a respected local female singing artist to be her guide. Amanda’s secret ambition is to sing a duet with each one of them at the end of the show.