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Oct 19
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Champs-Élysées Film Festival in Chicago Online & In-Person University of Chicago & Alliance Francaise de Chicago

ADIFF’s Afro-Latino Film Series

Image: "The Mali Cuba Connection" by Richard Minier

ArtMattan Films and The African Diaspora International Film Festival (ADIFF) join forces to celebrate in April the Afro-Latino experience on films with the theatrical release by ArtMattan Films of THE MALI-CUBA CONNECTION (France/Cuba/Mali) on April 9 and MARIGHELLA (Brazil) on April 30 and ADIFF presenting a selection of Afro-Latino films in its monthly film series organized in collaboration with Teachers College, Columbia University.

The virtual film series, to present 17 films from 15 countries, will be held from April 30 to May 3, 2021.

Here is the list of French productions included in the Film series:

Dom Pedro, France, 2013

93min, Spanish with english subtitles

The movie 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 enslaved Africans 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 Cáceres.

Richard Minier, France/Mali/Cuba, 2020

81min, French/Spanish with English subtitles

In the midst of the Cold War, ten young promising musicians from Mali are sent to Cuba to study music and strengthen cultural links between the two socialist countries. Combining Malian and Afro-Cuban influences, they develop a revolutionary new sound and become the iconic ensemble ‘Las Maravillas de Mali’. New Year’s Eve 2000. Richard Minier, a French music producer meets a former member of the band in Bamako and decides to bring the band back together.

Juan Andres Arango Garcia, Columbia/France/Brazil, 2012

90min, Spanish with English subtitles

Tomas,an Afro-Colombian teenager who fled the country's Pacific coast pushed out by the war, faces the difficulties of growing up in a city if exclusion and racism. When Jairo, his younger brother and closest friend disappears, Tomas plunges in the streets of the city. His search becomes an initiatory journey that compels him to face his past and to leave aside the influence of his is brothers in order to find his own identity. Through this journey, Tomas reveals a unique perspective of a vibrant and unstable city that, like Tomas, stands on the threshold between what once was and what might be.

Afro-Latino History program : 

Lucas Silva, Columbia/France, 2003

52min, Spanish

An entertaining documentary that explores the African culture of Colombia through music. The film presents the music of the Sons of Benkos, one of the most important Black leaders in the fight for freedom during the times of slavery in Colombia. The film also shows the evolution of Afro-Colombian music over time through the fusion of Cuban and contemporary African rhythms with traditional Afro-Colombian music.

Patrice Raynal, Ecuador/France, 2020

58min, Spanish

In today’s Ecuador, the black population, the descendants of enslaved Africans, continue to experience strong racial and social discrimination. Yet people in the community still strive to value their specific culture and transmit the rebellious memory of their ancestors who fought for freedom. 

The Esmeraldas Beach sets out to expose the invisibility of Afro-Ecuadorians and rectify the narrative of the country’s history with the film’s central protagonist, Juan García, who has worked on that project for years. He developed a school book that presents black Ecuadorians prominently since the only Afro-descendants shown in local school books are portrayed next to a marimba and football. The documentary also addresses the 1999 assassination of Prime Minister Jaime Hurtado, the first Black to hold this office.

More information here.