African Diaspora Film Fest

(Above: Josephine Baker. Source: ADIFF)

The African Diaspora International Film Festival launches a free Summer Virtual Festival at midnight, with 14 features debuting throughout the day tomorrow, July 24. You’ll be able to access them through Thursday, July 30.

Following are five of the films we’re set on seeing (make sure to RSVP soon as “pre-orders” for some of the other festival films are already “sold out”).

The Citizen (2016, Hungary, 109 minutes, subtitled)

An African political refugee in his late 50s (Cake-Baly Marcelo) works as a security guard in Budapest, but dreams of Hungarian citizenship. A Hungarian woman (Ágnes Máhr) around the same age helps teach him history, and romance blossoms. Then, a young Iranian woman (Arghavan Shekari) enters the picture: she can only avoid deportation by marrying a Hungarian citizen.

The Citizen is also available on free library service Kanopy.

Paul Lawrence Dunbar: Beyond the Mask (2018, US, 105 minutes)

A biodoc on Dunbar (1872-1906), the first African American to achieve national fame as a writer. His most famous poems are “We Wear the Mask” and “Sympathy,” which provided Maya Angelou with the title of her autobiography, I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings.

White Lies (2013, New Zealand, 96 minutes)

In a drama that explores such issues as race relations, skin bleaching and abortion, Rachel House plays the servant of a wealthy woman (Antonia Prebble) who, on behalf of her boss, seeks the help of newly illegal Maori medicine from an indigenous healer (Whirimako Black)

White Lies is also available to subscribers of Amazon Prime or Fandor.

Two films are grouped under the category “African-Americans in Paris”:

Paris Noir: African Americans In The City Of Lights (2017, US, 60 minutes)

This documentary looks at the cultural impact of pioneering African Americans who migrated to France, or spent significant time there – such as entertainer Josephine Baker, poet Langston Hughes and writer Claude McKay. Covers the period from World War I through the Jazz Age up to the German occupation of WWII.

Paris Noir, African Diaspora International Film Festival
(‘Paris Noir.’ Source: ADIFF)

Josephine Baker: Black Diva In A White Man’s World (2006, France, 45 minutes)

Focusing on the legendary entertainer from a perspective that analyzes images of Black people in popular culture, this biodoc uncovers Baker’s role as a resistance fighter, ambulance driver during WWII, and outspoken activist against racial discrimination.

To RSVP for free admission to screenings, and info on all 14 films and three upcoming live-streamed discussions, visit

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About Les Luchter

Les Luchter is a former managing editor of Multichannel News, editor-in-chief of Cable Marketing, and news editor of Broadcast Week.

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