‘AFRICA UNITED’

The 18th Annual New York African Diaspora International Film Festival ADIFF presents the U.S. premiere of upbeat family film “Africa United,” which will screen at the Anthology Film Archives, 32 Second Ave. (2nd St. & 2nd Ave.) on Saturday, Dec. 4, 4:40 p.m. and on Tuesday, Dec. 7, 8:30 p.m

Starting in Rwanda, this road movie follows a group of children en route to South Africa to attend the World Cup.

Already called the next ‘Slumdog Millionaire’ by industry insiders, “Africa United” is a positive film that, rather than focus on the ills of the continent, looks towards its youth as its hope for a better future. Together with the incredible success of the World Cup, “Africa United” offers a brighter outlook for the continent and all its peoples.

Two films set in Kenya showcase a strong collaborative work between the Germans, the French and the Kenyans. The uplifting “Soul Boy” and the evocative “Masai: The Rain Warriors,” illuminate the incredibly rich talent blossoming in that country.

“Soul Boy,” a cooperative effort between Germans and Kenyans, is the charming magically realist story of a boy, his family and his girl friend in the Kibera ghetto of Nairobi. Far from being a miserable depiction of life in the ghetto, the film narrates a story of fascinating diversity that unfolds adroitly, exposing us to a very creative set of people. Abila (Samson Odhiambo) discovers one morning that his father has lost his soul. He then undertakes seven challenges, giving his all to find the cure to his father illness. Each of these seven challenges tests Abila in a different way and each one of them demands from him and his friend Shiku a great deal of imagination, creativity and heart.

Directed by French filmmaker Pascal Plisson, “Masai: The Rain Warriors” is a story of initiation, friendship, teamwork and sacrifice set on the vast ochre savannah of Kenya. A group of boys must grow up quickly as they are the only ones who can save their village, confront the Red Lion, and bring back the rain.

The Boys’ Stories program focuses on boys in different parts of the world. The films tell us about boys on a mission to find new horizons and be in charge of their destiny. In “Choice,” Micah, a teen from Pensacola, Florida sings and talks about the challenges of life and how he found his voice by doing volunteer work.

Straight from Botswana, “Rebel Rhymes” is a story of rap, broken dreams and the challenge of missing one’s parents and reaching adulthood earlier that expected. Completing the program is “The Great Bazaar,” set in Mozambique, about Paito and his tribulations to get his money back from the local gang.

Through Authoring Action: The Documentary, African-American filmmaker and educator, Nathan Ross continues his work with young people in Winston, Salem, North Carolina. This time, he brings a documentary of his work with a set of very talented young people who use art, creative writing and their incredible imaginations to find their voice.

In the Girl Stories program, three short films about girls in the United States and Chad deal with issues of child labor, American history, magic and slavery. “Childhood Betrayed” tells the story of Mariam who, in a practice too frequent in many societies, works full time at the tender age of 11, only to come home to her own abusive family.

Set during the XIX century, “Mother Of The River” is a rare portrayal of slavery from a young woman’s perspective. A slave girl befriends a magical woman in the woods called Mother of the River. This friendship is educational in many ways.

“Southern Cross” by Kameishia Woolen evolves around the symbolism in the history of the United States of America and how history is interpreted in different ways by different groups of people. Built around a pillow and a confederate flag, the film helps us understand that in the most unexpected moments the simplest object can have the deepest meaning.

Completing the selection of family oriented films are crowd favorites such as “Kirkou and the “Sorceress” by Michel Ocelot about little Kirikou and his fight against Karaba the Sorceres; “Goodbye Momo,” an Uruguayan film about a Black boy in the streets of Montevideo who sells newspapers and dreams of being a great soccer player;

The program U.S. Latino Stories, which presents “White Like The Moon,” the story of a girl who fights her mom in order to keep her identity and the incredible “Every Child is Born A Poet: The Life and Work of Piri Thomas,” both films are about the Latino experience in the United States.

The African Diaspora International Film Festival (formerly the African Diaspora Film Festival) is an eclectic mix of foreign, independent, classic and urban films representing the global Black experience through an extraordinary range of subjects and artistic approaches.

Schedule & Venue

“Soul Boy” will screen

Wednesday, Dec. 1, 6:30 p.m., Anthology

Saturday, Dec. 4, 1:00 p.m., Anthology

Sunday, Dec. 5, 4:00 p.m., Thalia

Thalia Theatre at Symphony Space, 2537 Broadway at 95th Street in Manhattan

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