In 1993 ArtMattan Productions launched the first African
Diaspora Film Festival (ADFF). One of the purposes of the festival was that
of presenting to New Yorkers a more varied choice of films depicting the human
experience of people of color in a context different from the usual museums,
cultural centers and universities to which these films have been relegated in
the past ten years.
We conceived the ADFF as an open event which would be a way
to encourage a critical analysis of people's lives here in the United States
as well as being an open window to other people's lives all over the world.
. The producers of the ADFF wanted to contribute to a more sophisticated analysis
of the interaction between art and entertainment.
The African Diaspora Film Festival was from the start a cultural
event aimed at refusing the marginal status that some narrow minded people have
tried to impose on Black art and culture in this country.
We have encountered a number of obstacles to materialize this
goal. Namely movie theaters unwilling to house the festival because of the population
it attracts, inappropriate facilities in our communities, lack of financial
support from many entities that regularly do business in our communities and
pose as supportive and advocates of people of color engaged in positive activities
in the Black community, the regular sabotage of other festivals in the city
who do not hesitate to write letters of disapproval to film makers who let their
film participate in our festival or letters of warning to potential participants.are
a few of the hurdles in front of us in this endeavor.
Moreover, we understand that in a democratic society information
is a valuable tool, therefore the need for Blacks in the US to know about Black
people in other parts of the world as a way to reflect upon and reconnect with
the Blacks of the universe no matter how diverse they might be. The Black experience
is global. So we have remained committed to our mission.
The ADFF is today an internationally known film festival that
has gained the respect of those interested in Black films in particular and
good films in general. In the past five years ADFF has presented more than 150
films focusing on the richness and diversity of the life of people of color.
Some of those films are now distributed in the United States and Canada by ArtMattan
With no intention of defining a canon, the films in the catalog
are as diverse in genres and styles as any contemporary artistic expression
can be. From the strong "Faraw!, mother of the dunes" by Malian filmmaker
Abdoulaye Ascofare to the joyous "Journey of the Lion" by Fritz Bauman
these films are snapshots to the incredible range of the lives of people of
color whose life and place in history have been marked by a distinctive sign:
the color of the skin.
These films have enjoyed acclaim in different festivals all
over the world including the African Diaspora Film Festival. They are components
of a movement that has created a strong and diverse cinematic body of work.
The next aim is that of having these films enjoy a theatrical
release and be supported by the respectable purchasing power of people of color
in the United States of America so we can have a more regular viewing of those
stories that enrich our human experience and enhance our vision of the world.
Give me your hands to lift us up!
Give me your eyes to see us grow!
Give me your soul and we'll have inspiration
To go forward and get out of this hole
Out of ignorance!
Out of disbelief!
Out of those evils that don't let us
live and be free