In this romantic drama with a stellar cast that includes Danny Glover, Angela Bassett, Samuel L. Jackson, Julia Stiles, Adam Baldwin, RZA and Giancarlo Esposito. Mr. Esposito narrates a story of greed, jealousy and adultery that explores the morals and temptations of wealth.
Greed and idealism collide in this powerful narrative set in the small southern town of Julia as preparations are made to memorialize the fortieth anniversary of the assassination of civil rights activist Paul Malcolm. Paul’s brother John, played with quiet intelligence by Danny Glover, is urged on by his wife Sarah, the remarkable Angela Bassett, to continue the mission to save the neighborhood of Gospel Hill from developers intent on buying up black owned homes in order to create a golf course for the rich. Actor-director Giancarlo Esposito adds nuance as the ambitious Dr. Ron Palmer, a man willing to seize opportunity at the expense of his community. Tensions of the past resurface, as a town and its people struggle with age-old issues of the politics of prejudice. Images of past and present blend seamlessly as reminders of lessons yet to be learned. (Barbara Pokras, A.C.E.)
Reinaldo Barroso-Spech, Co-Director of the African Diaspora Film Festival explains: “Gospel Hill is an astounding contemporary film that manages to address, in an intimate and powerful way, timeless issues within the historical context of the struggle of African-Americans during the Civil Right Movement. We first saw this film while attending the Berlin film festival last February and it became an immediate contender for the Opening Night slot of the festival. We are delighted to open the 16th edition of the African Diaspora Film Festival with this remarkable film.”
Other highlights of ADFF 2008 include:
– ADFF 2008 Centerpiece screening of the New York premiere of HBO documentary The Black List: Volume One by Timothy Greenfield-Sanders which made its world premiere at 2008’s Sundance Film Festival. In this startling collection of interviews conducted by former New York Times film critic Elvis Mitchell, prominent athletes, authors, actors, musicians, politicians and many others recount their personal journey with bracing warmth, eloquence and candor. Variety called the film “an impeccably mounted survey of voices from across the spectrum of African-American accomplishment…a rich and revealing work of portraiture.” With Tony Morrison, Chris Rock, Sean Combs, Al Sharpton, Keenen Ivory Wayans, Vernon Jordan, Susan Rice, Kareem Abdul-Jabbar, Faye Wattleton, Serena Williams, Lou Gossett Jr., Suzan-Lori Parks, Richard Parsons and many others.
– ADFF 2008 Gala screening of New York Premiere of Prince of Broadway by Sean Baker, winner of the Jury Award at the 2008 Los Angeles Film Festival and of the Best Narrative Feature at Woodstock in October 2008. Prince of Broadway follows two men whose lives converge in the underbelly of New York’s wholesale fashion district. Through the story Levon – an Armenian-Lebanese immigrant who operates an illegal storefront with a concealed back room full of counterfeit goods – and Lucky – an illegal immigrant from Ghana, who must cope with a new domestic dilemma when a child is thrust into his life by a woman who insists the toddler is his son – this charming comedy-drama takes a rare look at immigrant lives in a city where all blend and nobody really does.
– The feature-length documentary The End of Poverty? which won critical acclaim at the 2008 Cannes Film Festival and is narrated by actor Martin Sheen The End of Poverty? Is a daring, thought-provoking and very timely documentary by filmmaker Philippe Diaz. The film takes a hard look at world poverty and challenges capitalism and the American way. In a world of plenty, why are so many families around the world still living in abject poverty? Looking beyond the popular ”solutions” for poverty, The End of Poverty? asks if the true causes of poverty today stem from a deliberate orchestration of resource misallocation started in colonial times.
– Special Event A Night in Egypt with the New York Premiere of the last film directed by internationally renowned Egyptian Director Youssef Chahine who sadly passed on July 27, 2008 after making over 40 films that moved generations of filmgoers all over the world. The screening of Chaos, -Chahine’s last masterpiece co-directed with Khaled Youssef, part of official selection Venice and Toronto film festivals in 2007 – is a poignant portrait of Choubra, a cosmopolitan neighborhood of Cairo. Hatem, a corrupt cop, controls the place as his personal farm. Nour, a young woman he is in love with dares standing up to his abusive behavior. Built around this strange love story, directors Chahine and Youssef created a film that reveals a chaotic society and a population struggling to keep some degree of sanity.
The African Diaspora Film Festival presents an eclectic mix of foreign, independent, classic, and urban films that focus on the humanity of people of African descent across the world through an extraordinary range of subjects and artistic approaches. This 17-day event showcases 70 to 90 films every year, including numerous US and NY premieres. Created in 1993 by ArtMattan Productions, a company that produces a collection of programs and events promoting Afrocentric theme cultures, ADFF has long been delighting audiences with US and world premieres of independent films, including features, documentaries, animation, and shorts.
During an interview on Positively Black on NBC4, writer, filmmaker Nelson George, indicated that “the African Diaspora Film Festival is probably the most comprehensive vision and view of African-American, African-Caribbean, African World culture in New York City every year.” “The ADFF is a bridge,” say the Spechs, “between diverse communities looking for works that cannot be found in other festivals, and talented and visionary filmmakers and works that are part of the African Diaspora.”
The 16th Annual New York African Diaspora Film Festival is made possible thanks to the support of the following institutions and individuals: ArtMattan Productions; ‘Organization International de la Francophonie, the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences 2008 Award; The Office and Diversity and Community and the Office of Outreach and Innovations at Teachers College, Columbia University; the New York City Department of Cultural Affairs; New York City Council Member Inez E. Dickens; New York State Senate Representative Bill Perkins; the French Cultural Services; The Swiss Consulate; The City College of New York Adult and Continuing Education department, L’Oreal USA, The Village Voice; WNYC, and public funds from the New York State Council on the Arts, a state agency.
For a complete schedule for the 16th Annual New York African Diaspora Film Festival, for screeners, press information, and interviews, contact ArtMattan Productions at (212) 678-7428 or (212) 864-1760/ Fax (212) 316-6020 or E-mail firstname.lastname@example.org. Festival web site: www.NYADFF.org.