Riverside Theatre Hosts 9 US/2NY Film Premieres During Annual African Diaspora Film Festival

The Riverside Theatre and ArtMattan Productions have teamed up to present an eclectic slate of award winning, thought provoking and entertaining films from Africa and the African Diaspora during the African Diaspora Film Festival, taking place from Thursday, December 3 to Saturday, December 5 at The Riverside Theatre, 91 Claremont Ave. (bet. 120th & 122nd St.), Morningside Heights.

The Festival will feature nine US premieres and two New York premieres, and films-which include a fiery mix of documentary, spoken word poetry and dramatizations-that prominently highlight the work of independent African American filmmakers.

The schedule for this year's African Diaspora Film Festival is as follows:

DREAMS DEFERRED: THE SAKIA GUNN FILM PROJECT (Part of ADFF School Program)
Thursday, December 3 at Noon
This documentary tells the little known story of Sakia Gunn, a 15 year old student who was fatally stabbed in a gay hate crime in Newark, New Jersey. The film depicts the homophobia that caused this murder and questions the lack of media coverage of the murder of a Black Gay teenager.

GIRL STORIES
Thursday, December 3 at 3:00 p.m.
Premature (US), White Like the Moon (US Latino), Tell Them/Batjele (Swaziland) and Chipo's Promise (Swaziland/Zimbabwe)

PREMATURE
After Tisha, a streetwise teenager from the Bronx, discovers she's pregnant and receives no support from her community, she has nowhere to turn and is faced with the most difficult decisions she will ever make. By Rashaad Ernesto Green, USA, 2008, 15min, drama in English.

WHITE LIKE THE MOON
A Mexican-American girl struggles to keep her identity when her mother forces her to bleach her skin. White Like the Moon is a revealing film about a dilemma not very well known outside Latino communities; that of the myth of the light skin superiority in Indigenous and Indigenous descendant communities. By Marina Gonzalez Palmier, USA, 2001, 23min, English, Drama.

TELL THEM/BATJELE (US PREMIERE)
This film, set in the foothills of Manzini, tells the story of a young Swazi girl who is being abused by her teacher. In order to expose the abusive teacher, she must stand up against a community that does not believe her. By Samkeliso Nxumalo, Swaziland, 2008, 24min, drama in Seswati with English subtitle.

CHIPO'S PROMISE (US PREMIERE)
This is the story of a young girl, living in the heart of a township in Harare, who is forced to be a mother to her orphaned younger brother and sister, after their parents pass away due to AIDS. The film shows how they struggle to make ends meet in a community that does not want them. By Tongai Furusa, Swaziland/Zimbabwe, 2008, 24min, drama in English.

NOHO HEWA: THE WRONGFUL OCCUPATION OF HAWAI'I (US PREMIERE)
Thursday, December 3 at 6:00 p.m.
A contemporary look at the impact of militarism, tourism and real estate on the political, economic and cultural world of Hawaiians

BLUES MARCH - SOLDIER Jon Hendricks (US PREMIERE)
Thursday, December 3 at 8:30 p.m.
World-renowned jazz musician Jon Hendricks's story was fighting on two fronts: against the Nazis and against racial discrimination in the US Army, as well as in the United States. Following the screening, Jon Hendricks will be on-hand for a Q&A session with the audience.

HIP HOP STORIES - REBEL RHYMES and BREAKIN' IN: THE MAKING OF A HIP HOP DANCER
Friday, December 4 at Noon
A fast-paced musical drama about an angry, young, rebel rapper; and an edgy documentary goes behind the scenes to follow three young women competing for roles in music videos.

PORTRAITS OF HAITIAN WOMEN - LOOKING FOR LIFE and POTO MITAN: HAITIAN WOMEN, PILLARS OF THE GLOBAL ECONOMY
Friday, December at 3:00 p.m.
An exploration of the strong presence of women in Haitian society, the struggle to understand their complex conditions and what they are doing for themselves. Q & A with filmmakers

PALESTINIAN WOMEN - BRIDES OF ALLAH and OF FLESH AND BLOOD (US PREMIERE)
Friday, December 4 at 6:00 p.m.
A look at women's lives in Palestine from two women filmmakers, one Egyptian and the other Israeli.
Brides of Allah chronicles the lives of Palestinian women serving time in prison for involvement in terrorist attacks in Israel, while Of Flesh and Blood looks at the lives of Palestinians who express different view points from that reflected in the media. Q & A with director of Flesh and Blood after screening.

PAN-AFRICAN CULTURAL FESTIVAL OF ALGIERS
Friday, December 4 at 8:30 p.m.
Eldrige Cleaver, Miriam Makeba, Almicar Cabral and some of the Pan-African leaders appear in this great celebration of planetary proportions.

INTONGA (US PREMIERE)
Saturday, December 5 at 1:00 p.m.
Intonga Siviwe, a rural boy, arrives to his new school in Johannesburg, where he runs afoul of "Knuckles," the local bully. When Father Duze decides to take Siviwe under his wing and teach him some boxing the story goes to another level.

AFRO-COLOMBIAN WOMEN - UPROOTED and SORAYA, LOVE IS NOT ABSENTMINDED
Saturday, December 5 at 3:30 p.m.
The tragedy of uprooting and the power of resilience in these beautifully detailed tales about struggle and resistance; a bittersweet story of loss, love, family and dreams.

PRO-BLACK SHEEP (NY PREMIERE)
Saturday, December 5 at 6:00 p.m.
Anonymous emails to black leaders, criticizing them for undermining the progress of black America sets a young man on a journey to find the voice he needs to make a difference. Q & A after screening with the director

ADERA (US PREMIERE)
Saturday, December 5 at 8:30 p.m.
This heart-wrenching story of an Ethiopian refugee's struggle to survive in the city of Johannesburg depicts the true cost of dreams as her life is changed forever.

Founded in 1993, ArtMattan Productions produces a collection of programs and events promoting Afro-centric theme cultures. Through the ADFF, ArtMattan has long been delighting audiences with U.S. and world premieres of independent films, including features, documentaries, animation and shorts. In keeping with its commitment to present cutting edge feature films and documentaries, The Riverside Theatre joins ArtMattan Productions to present an array of films to teach and inspire diverse audiences.

The Riverside Theatre is committed to serving as a catalyst for cultural connections and social change. Based on the organization's belief that the arts can be a transforming power in people's lives and that, despite their differences, creativity and artistic expression are threads of commonality, The Riverside Theatre, located at the historic Riverside Church, produces work that promotes and deepens cultural and social awareness. Past presentations have included: Power of Drum: Max Roach Tribute; La Boule Blache: A Katherine Dunham Celebration; jazz masters Jon Hendricks and Clark Terry; Forces of Nature Dance Theatre and Earth (H)ours.

Tickets to the African Diaspora Film Festival are $10 general admission and $8 for seniors and students. For more information or to purchase tickets, the public can call (212) 870-6784 or visit www.theriversidetheatre.org.

WHAT: 2009 AFRICAN DIASPORA FILM FESTIVAL

WHEN: THURSDAY, DECEMBER 3 - SATURDAY, DECEMBER 5

WHERE: THE RIVERSIDE THEATRE
91 CLAREMONT AVE. (BET. 120TH & 122ND ST.)
MORNINGSIDE HEIGHTS

COST: $10 GENERAL ADMISSION
$8 SENIORS/STUDENTS

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