African Diaspora International Film Festival Celebrates Black History Month With A Global Perspective

February 13, 2024

To celebrate Black History Month, the African Diaspora International Film Festival (ADIFF) proudly presents an exciting lineup of films that explore the rich history and vibrant cultures of Africa and the African Diaspora globally.

This year, the festival focuses on several key commemorations and offers a deep dive into the history and contemporary experiences of the Caribbean and beyond.

Three films in the ADIFF Black History Month program commemorate important moments and personalities: Produced by Rwandan filmmaker Eric Kabera in 2001, 100 Days by Nick Hughes was the first feature film made about the 1994 genocide that took place 30 years ago this year. To commemorate the 80th anniversary of Jacques Roumain’s passing, ADIFF presents Jacques Roumain: Passion for a Country by Arnold Antonin, a documentary celebrating the influential Haitian writer and activist. This year marks the centennial birth of James Baldwin. I Heard It Through the Grapevine is an incisive 1982 documentary by Pat Hartley & Dick Fontaine that follows the writer as he retraces his time in the South during the Civil Rights Movement, reflecting with his trademark brilliance and insight on the passage of more than two decades.

The range and impact of the African American experience is explored through Fighting for Respect: African American in WWI by Joanne Burke a feature that delves into the cultural and social struggles within the African American community. Mr. Emancipation: The Walter Perry Story celebrates the life of a notable figure in Canadian history and their impact on the Emancipation Day celebrations.

Spotlighting Caribbean History is a double feature with Catch a Fire by Menelik Shabazz – one of the pioneers of Black British cinema – that explores Paul Bogle’s revolutionary spirit and legacy in Jamaica, and Barrow: Freedom Fighter by Marcia Weekes about Errol Barrow’s journey to Barbadian independence. Additionally, the award-winning Walter Rodney: What They Don’t Want You to Know by Daniyal Harris-Vajda and Arlen Harris uncovers Cold War conspiracies and the fight for justice. This film is in the program courtesy of The Walter Rodney Foundation and the Ameena Gafoor Institute.

It was in 1888 that Brazil abolished slavery. 100 years later, Afro-Brazilian director Zozimo Bulbul made Abolicao, a historical documentary that reflects on the abolition movement in Brazil and brings to light the pivotal moments of Brazilian history and its impact on the African Diaspora. The Esmeraldas Beach by Patrice Rayna is a powerful documentary that exposes the invisibility of Afro-Ecuadorians and rectifies the narrative of the country’s history.

ADIFF brings to the program two restored copies of two African classics: Sambizanga by Sarah Maldoror a revolutionary fiction film that chronicles the awakening of Angola’s independence movement and Shaihu Umar by Adamu Halilu, a story of African slavery, Islam, and the power of family ties based on the novel of the same name by Abubakar Tafawa Balewa, first Prime Minister of Nigeria, himself the son of a slave.

These selections honor the history of Africa and the African Diaspora and showcase the diverse and dynamic stories that define a global community. ADIFF is committed to illuminating these narratives through cinema, fostering a greater understanding and appreciation of black history and culture.

For more information about the ADIFF Black History Month, please e-mail Festival website:, Facebook and Twitter is @nyadiff, Instagram: ny_adiff The African Diaspora International Film Festival is a 501(c)(3) not-for-profit organization.


WHEN: February 23 – 25, 2023
TICKETS: $11 & $13



  • 6PM 100 Days by Nick Hughes (Rwanda, UK)
  • 8PM Abolição by Zózimo Bulbul (Brazil)


  • 12PM Jacques Roumain: Passion for a Country by Arnold Antonin (Haiti)
  • 2:30PM CARIBBEAN HISTORY PROGRAM: Catch a Fire by Menelik Shabazz (UK) +
    Barrow: Freedom Fighter by Marcia Weekes (Barbados)
  • 4:40PM Walter Rodney: What They Don’t Want You To Know  by Daniyal Harris Vajda, Arlen Harris (UK)
  • 6:30PM The Esmeraldas Beach by Patrice Raynal (Ecuador, France)
  • 8:30PM Mr. Emancipation: The Walter Perry Story by Preston Chase (Canada)


  • 12PM Sambizanga by Sarah Maldoror (Angola)
  • 2PM Shaihu Umar by Adamu Halilu (Nigeria)
  • 4:50PM I heard it Through the Grapevine by Pat Hartley, Dick Fontaine (USA)
  • 7PM Fighting for Respect: African American in WWI by Joanne Burke (USA)

African Diaspora International Film Festival (ADIFF)

Established in 1993, the African Diaspora International Film Festival (ADIFF) is a Harlem-based minority-led not-for-profit international film festival that presents, interprets, and educates about films that explore the human experience of people of color all over the world to inspire imagination, disrupt stereotypes, and help transform attitudes that perpetuate injustice.

The mission of The African Diaspora International Film Festival (ADIFF) is to expand the traditional views and perceptions of what the Black experience is by showcasing award-winning socially relevant documentary and fiction films about people of color, from Peru to Zimbabwe, from the USA to Belgium and from New Zealand to Jamaica

Commenting on the lineup of ADIFF Chicago 2019, film critic Kathleen Sachs of the Chicago Readers wrote: “The films in the 17th Annual African Diaspora International Film Festival – Chicago do what much media and even the public school system fail to do: educate. Through robust programming that gives meaning to the word “diverse,” the selections in this year’s festival illuminate the experiences of those living in the African diaspora worldwide. The New York-based husband-and-wife programmers, Reinaldo Barroso-Spech and Diarah N’Daw-Spech, have chosen more than a dozen films that, through a variety of modes and genres, further dimensionalize already complex issues specific to those living in these communities. Naturally, documentary lends itself to this mission, though several narrative features and a short fiction add to the abundance of information.”

ADIFF BLACK HISTORY MONTH 2024 is made possible thanks to the support of the following institutions and individuals: ArtMattan Productions; the Office of the Vice President for Diversity and Community Affairs, Teachers College, Columbia University, and the New York City Council in the Arts.

Photo credit: ArtMattan.

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