Shaka Ilembe

Shantaye’s World

The 31st Annual African Diaspora International Film Festival Best Of (BEST OF ADIFF) returns with a curated selection of ten films at Teachers College

The mission of ADIFF is to expand the traditional views and perceptions of what the Black experience is by showcasing award-winning, socially relevant films about people of color”

— ADIFF New York

NEW YORK, NEW YORK, USA, December 21, 2023 / — The 31st Annual African Diaspora International Film Festival Best Of (BEST OF ADIFF) returns to Teachers College, Columbia University, featuring a curated selection of ten films that garnered both critical acclaim and popular recognition during the festival. Additionally there will be a selection of ten films that will screen virtually. Established in 2005, the Best Of ADIFF provides an opportunity to revisit or catch up on the standout films from the previous year’s festival.

Highlighting diversity and women’s contributions, six of the ten films in the selection are directed by women filmmakers. Shantaye’s World by Mathurine Emmanuel and Guillaume Rico (St Lucia), winner of the ADIFF 2023 Public Award for the Best Film Directed by a Woman of Color, is a historical drama chronicling the compelling journey of a young girl from St. Lucia who, as a young woman, finds herself in war-torn England.

Spotlighting significant yet lesser-known historic African American stories, Move When the Spirit Says Move: The Legacy of Dorothy Foreman Cotton by Deborah C. Hoard and Ry Ferro unveils the powerful jouney of Dorothy Foreman Cotton, a charismatic and courageous figure overlooked in the annals of the Civil Rights Movement. Hope of Escape by Amy Gerber, ADIFF 2023 Opening Night Film, narrates the true story of an enslaved mother and daughter’s incredible journey to escape before facing permanent separation.

In Big Little Women, director Nadia Fares pays tribute to her beloved Egyptian father, offering a chronicle of the condition of women in Egypt and Switzerland while engaging in a dialogue with Egyptian feminist intellectual Nawal El Saadawi, linking past and present feminist struggles. Otiti by Ema Edosio Deelen (Nigeria) follows a seamstress with commitment issues who cares for the ailing father who had abandoned her as a child, while her half-brothers position themselves to take over his property. I Am Berta by Katia Lara (Honduras) unravels the incredible story of Berta Cáceres, an indigenous leader fighting for justice in Honduras.

Also included in The BEST OF ADIFF is The Survival of Kindness (Australia), Rolf de Heer’s latest cinematic venture after almost a decade. Inspired by the dual forces of the Covid-19 pandemic and the Black Lives Matter movement, the film emerges as a poignant reflection on the current social and political landscape. Nome by Sana Na N’Hada (Guinea-Bissau) skillfully blends astute political commentary with breathtaking cinematography, immersing viewers in Guinea-Bissau’s turbulent socio-political environment. Claude McKay from Harlem to Marseille by Matthieu Verdeil (France) celebrates the life and work of Caribbean writer and poet Claude McKay.

Closing out the program are two episodes from the super popular South African TV Series Shaka ILembe by Angus Gibson that retells the story of one of the greatest African warriors, King Shaka, and his quest to fight for his throne.

For more information about the BEST OF ADIFF and to see the full line-up, please e-mail [email protected]. Festival web site:, Facebook and twitter is @nyadiff, Instagram: ny_adiff

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



WHEN: January 12 – 14, 2024

WHERE: TEACHERS COLLEGE, COLUMBIA UNIVERSITY – 525 W 120th St.- The Chapel & 408 Zankel

TICKETS: $11 & $13


Friday, Jan. 13 – Chapel

6:00pm Hope of Escape

8:30pm Otiti

Saturday, Jan. 14 – Chapel

1:00pm Berta Soy Yo

3:30pm The Survival of Kindness

5:30pm Nome

8:00pm Shantaye’s World

Sunday, Jan. 15

1:00pm Big Little Women

3:00pm Move When the Spirit Says Move: The Legacy of Dorothy Foreman Cotton

5:30pm Claude McKay, de Harlem à Marseille

7:30pm Shaka iLembe


Established in 1993, the African Diaspora International Film Festival (ADIFF) is a Harlem based minority-led not-for profit international film festival that presents, interprets and educates about films that explore the human experience of people of color all over the world in order to inspire imaginations, disrupt stereotypes and help transform attitudes that perpetuate injustice.

The mission of The African Diaspora International Film Festival (ADIFF) is to expand the traditional views and perceptions of what the Black experience is by showcasing award-winning socially relevant documentary and fiction films about people of color, from Peru to Zimbabwe, from the USA to Belgium and from New Zealand to Jamaica

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 Best of ADIFF is made possible thanks to the support of the following institutions and individuals: ArtMattan Productions; the Office of the Vice President for Diversity and Community Affairs, Teachers College, Columbia University and the New York City Council in the Arts.

Diarah N’Daw-Spech
ArtMattan Films
+1 212-864-1760
email us here

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