The Sleeping Negro
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The Sleeping Negro. Photo: ADIFF.

 The African Diaspora International Film Festival (ADIFF) will celebrate its 29th anniversary both in person and virtually with in person Special Screenings followed by Q&As at Cinepolis in Manhattan, a selection of in person screenings at Cinema Village and an online selection of 77 films from 38 countries from November 26 to December 12, 2021 including 38 world, US and New York premieres.

The festival is presenting an eclectic selection of recent and less recent films that are thought provoking and entertaining, some by independent filmmakers and others coming directly from major international film festivals such as Berlinale, Sundance, Cannes, Toronto, FESPACO and Durban.  Several revivals are also part of the program.

ADIFF 2021 wants to recognize FESPACO - the largest film festival on the African continent that, since 1969, represents a rare opportunity for African storytellers to showcase their creations on a global stage – with a selection of 15 FESPACO titles including some in competition this year.

Other highlights include a World Black History program, a strong selection of South African cinema, LGBTQ+ themed films, Special Presentations and Zoom conversations. 

Opening Night film, the critically acclaimed drama The Sleeping Negro by Skinner Myers will have its New York premiere screening in person at Cinepolis on Nov. 26 in presence of the filmmaker.  The Sleeping Negro is "a superb character study of a black man, how he sees himself and how he was treated by society, it is surreal yet real and terrifying." ~ Ulkar Alakbarova,   

Following on the footstep of the LA Rebellion filmmakers, The Sleeping Negro’s director Skinner Myers tells a very personal and intimate story in a radically non-traditional cinematic style as a means to express freely his feelings as a Black man in America.


  • The World premiere presentation of Fighting for Respect: African American Soldiers in WWI by 

Joanne Burke, a historical documentary that captures the plight of African American soldiers who fought in WWI, receiving the Croix de Guerre military decoration from France, while still fighting discrimination and hatred at home in America.

  • Loimata, The Sweetest Tears by Anna Marbrook, a poignant yet tender story of a family’s unconditional love for each other as they confront intergenerational trauma.  They return to their homeland of Sāmoa in their commitment to heal, find their identity and becoming whole again. There will be a Zoom Q&A after the virtual Centerpiece screening of this film on Dec. 4.

  • A Son (Un Fils) by Mehdi Barsaoui is an intense family drama starring French-Tunisian actor Sami Bouajila, winner of the Orizzonti Award for Best Actor, Venice Film Festival 2019 and winner of the César Awards, France for Best Actor in 2021.  The in-person Gala screening of the film on Dec. 9 at Cinepolis will be followed by a Q&A.

  • Zépon by Gilles Elie-Dit-Cosaque is a poetic comedy located on the island of Martinique today in a world of fighting cocks and family revenge. It could be summarized in one line: Following a bet, one Man plays his only daughter in a cock fight.

  • Several films spotlighting the Afro-Brazilian experience will premiere in ADIFF 2021 including the Brazilian thriller The Silence of the Rain / O Silêncio da Chuva by Daniel Filho starring famous Afro-Brazilian actor Lázaro Ramos (Madame Satã, The Man Who Copied) as inspector Espinosa who is put in charge of the murder investigation of executive Ricardo in Rio de Janeiro. Also in the selection is Doctor Gama by Jeferson De, a 2021 Brazilian biographical drama film that tells the history of Luiz Gama, the most important abolitionist leader in Brazil.

For more information about the 29th Annual African Diaspora International Film Festival, to receive the complete line up, screeners and high resolution images please contact Diarah N’Daw-Spech at (212) 864-1760/ fax (212) 316-6020 or e-mail Festival web site:   

The African Diaspora International Film Festival is a 501(c)(3) not for profit organization.


WHAT:  29th Annual African Diaspora International Film Festival 


Cinépolis Chelsea - 260 W 23rd Street, New York, New York

Cinema Village - 22 E 12th St, New York, NY 10003

Online in NY, NJ and CT at

WHEN: From November 26, 2021 until December 12, 2021. 

TICKETS: From $10 to $30 depending on screening/event.  Festival passes available.

Opening, Gala, Centerpiece, Closing

FESPACO Celebration; South African Cinema: The First Nation program; Black World History Program; Public Award for the Best Film Directed by a Woman of Color; ADIFF School Program.

Australia, Barbados, Belgium, Brazil, Burkina Faso, Cameroon, Canada, Chad, Chile, Colombia, Cameroon, Curacao, DRC, France, Ghana, Haiti, Ivory Coast, Jamaica, Kenya, Mali, Martinique, Morocco, Mexico, Namibia, New Zealand, Niger, Panama, Rwanda, Samoa, Senegal, South Africa, The Netherlands, Trinidad and Tobago, Tunisia, UK, USA, Zimbabwe.



Described by film critic Armond White as “a festival that symbolizes diaspora as more than just anthropology,” ADIFF has managed to increase the presence of independent Afrocentric films from all over the world in the general American specialty movie scene by launching films such as The Tracker by Rolf de Heer (Australia), Kirikou and the Sorceress by Michel Ocelot (France), Gospel Hill by Giancarlo Esposito (USA), Darrat/Dry Season by Mahamat-Saleh Haroun (Chad), Scheherazade, Tell Me a Story by Yousry Nasrallah (Egypt), The Pirogue by Moussa Touré (Senegal), White Lies by Dana Rotberg (New Zealand), and The Citizen by Roland Vranik (Hongary), among others.

ADIFF attracts a wide cross-section of cinephiles and audiences of African-American, Caribbean, African, Latino and European ethnic backgrounds who share a common interest for thought provoking, well crafted, intelligent and entertaining stories about the human experience of people of color, ADIFF is now a national and international event with festivals held in New York City, Chicago, Washington DC, and Paris, France.

Commenting on the line up 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 around the world.  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 plenitude of information.” 

The 29th Annual New York African Diaspora International Film Festival is made possible thanks to the support of the following institutions and individuals: ArtMattan Productions; The Harlem Community Development Corporation, the New York City Council in the Arts; New York State Council on the Arts; The International Organization Of La Francophonie New York, New York City Council Member Bill Perkins; the Upper Manhattan Empowerment Zone Development Corporation and administered by LMCC, the Office of the Vice President for Diversity and Community Affairs, Teachers College, Columbia University, Columbia University Department of Latin American and Iberian Cultures, Columbia University African American and African Diaspora Studies Department, and Manhattan Community Award Program, Africa Goodnest, The Martinique Bureau, and WBAI.  

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