Click to Skip Ad
Closing in...
"Your Legacy Is More Than a Name" - Watch Michael B. Jordan in First Trailer for 'Creed' "Your Legacy Is More Than a Name" - Watch Michael B. Jordan in First Trailer for 'Creed' 'Extant' Returns to CBS 7/1. Get Caught Up w/ This 1-Minute Recap + Read What Critics Are Saying 'Extant' Returns to CBS 7/1. Get Caught Up w/ This 1-Minute Recap + Read What Critics Are Saying Today, 26 Years Ago, 'Do The Right Thing' Opened in Theaters. Watch the Cast & Crew Reunite Today, 26 Years Ago, 'Do The Right Thing' Opened in Theaters. Watch the Cast & Crew Reunite Chiwetel Ejiofor, Nicole Kidman & Julia Roberts Seek Justice in First Trailer for 'Secret in Their Eyes' Remake Chiwetel Ejiofor, Nicole Kidman & Julia Roberts Seek Justice in First Trailer for 'Secret in Their Eyes' Remake Issa Rae's HBO-Bound 'Awkward Black Girl'-esque Comedy Gets a Director Issa Rae's HBO-Bound 'Awkward Black Girl'-esque Comedy Gets a Director Watch Trailer for Fascinating New Documentary About Black Men and Chess - ‘Sideline’ Watch Trailer for Fascinating New Documentary About Black Men and Chess - ‘Sideline’ The Irresponsibility of 'What Happened, Miss Simone?' The Irresponsibility of 'What Happened, Miss Simone?' Full List of BET AWARDS Winners (Taraji P. Henson & Terrence Howard Take Actor Nods) Full List of BET AWARDS Winners (Taraji P. Henson & Terrence Howard Take Actor Nods) Zadie Smith Will Make Her Feature Screenwriting Debut, Teaming up w/ Claire Denis for Sci-Fi Project Zadie Smith Will Make Her Feature Screenwriting Debut, Teaming up w/ Claire Denis for Sci-Fi Project Review: Arriving on Netflix TODAY, Definitive Nina Simone Documentary, 'What Happened, Miss Simone' Review: Arriving on Netflix TODAY, Definitive Nina Simone Documentary, 'What Happened, Miss Simone' Haiti and the Dominican Republic - A Conflict Captured on Film Haiti and the Dominican Republic - A Conflict Captured on Film A Muscle-Bound Michael B. Jordan Hitting a Speed Bag w/ Stallone's Encouragement in Pic from 'Creed' A Muscle-Bound Michael B. Jordan Hitting a Speed Bag w/ Stallone's Encouragement in Pic from 'Creed' Apparently, Many of You Aren't Pleased With the "All-New" 'Single Ladies'... What's Going on? Apparently, Many of You Aren't Pleased With the "All-New" 'Single Ladies'... What's Going on? Starz Announces Return Date for Original Series 'Power' + New Key Art + Trailer Starz Announces Return Date for Original Series 'Power' + New Key Art + Trailer Why Was Janet Hubert (Aunt Viv) Really Replaced on 'Fresh Prince of Bel-Air'? Buzzfeed Investigates Why Was Janet Hubert (Aunt Viv) Really Replaced on 'Fresh Prince of Bel-Air'? Buzzfeed Investigates Why Aren’t We Talking About the Sexual Assault in 'Beyond the Lights'? Why Aren’t We Talking About the Sexual Assault in 'Beyond the Lights'? 'Supremacy' Director Deon Taylor Talks Race, Horror, and Working With Lela Rochon (LAFF Premiere) 'Supremacy' Director Deon Taylor Talks Race, Horror, and Working With Lela Rochon (LAFF Premiere) Aaron McGruder Finally Explains Why He Left 'The Boondocks' Aaron McGruder Finally Explains Why He Left 'The Boondocks' Netflix Explains Why It Doesn't Always Have That Film Or TV Show You Really Want To See (Video) Netflix Explains Why It Doesn't Always Have That Film Or TV Show You Really Want To See (Video) Tichina Arnold Says She Talked To Martin Lawrence About Doing A 'Martin' Movie... Tichina Arnold Says She Talked To Martin Lawrence About Doing A 'Martin' Movie...

A Black Film Festival Undressed - A Conversation w/ African Diaspora International Film Fest Co-Founder Diarah N'daw-Spech

Photo of Tambay A. Obenson By Tambay A. Obenson | Shadow and Act December 6, 2011 at 3:45PM

Another new content feature I've long intended to incorporate into the site are profiles of black film festivals and the people at the top who run them. I think it's crucial that we get to know these men and women behind these yearly events, who invest quite a lot of time, energy, and other resources into putting their individual celebrations of black cinema together. Given how long I've been writing about black cinema on the web, I've noticed that we (as audience members, filmmakers and writers) can be rather quick to criticize black film festivals and those who run them, without really, fully understanding what happens behind the curtain, so to speak. And I say it's time to demystify some of that process, and get inside the heads of the folks who manage these sometimes mammoth annual events. 
3
ADIFF

Another new content feature I've long intended to incorporate into the site are profiles of black film festivals and the people at the top who run them. I think it's crucial that we get to know these men and women behind these yearly events, who invest quite a lot of time, energy, and other resources into putting their individual celebrations of black cinema together. Given how long I've been writing about black cinema on the web, I've noticed that we (as audience members, filmmakers and writers) can be rather quick to criticize black film festivals and those who run them, without really, fully understanding what happens behind the curtain, so to speak. And I say it's time to demystify some of that process, and get inside the heads of the folks who manage these sometimes mammoth annual events. 

I interviewed Jeff Friday of the American Black Film Festival over the summer, and penned a piece based on what I learned from our conversation (read that HERE if you missed it); but I'd like to do more than relay chats I have with festival founders/directors, and instead have you hear from them directly.

And I'm starting with the African Diaspora International Film Festival, which is currently underway here in New York City, its 19th year, by the way! 

The African Diaspora International Film Festival is one of the few black film festivals in the entire world with a consistently true diasporic offering of films annually, living up to its name. In any given year, you'll find a lineup of narrative films and documentaries about people of African descent from countries almost all over the world - a  feat that I find impressive. 

I had the pleasure of talking to one of its co-founders, Diarah N'daw-Spech (her husband Reinaldo Spech is the other founder) about 1 1/2 weeks ago, and videotaped the entire conversation. Initially I planned to summarize the footage into a 5-minute profile of the festival, but, as I watched and listened to it, I felt that the entire 40-minute chat was worth sharing, and you're encouraged to watch it below.

We covered quite a bit of ground, including: the festival’s origins and mission as a tool for edutainment and uniting the Diaspora here in the USA, how they find their films, considering the festival's relevance after 19 years, whether the process has gotten any easier, the state of black film festivals, the perception from black filmmakers of black film festivals, on being a hub for distributors/market activity, challenges in getting their films (via their distribution company Artmattan) into theaters, challenges in attracting audiences – especially black audiences – to challenging Diasporic content… and more.

Speaking of Artmattan, I should note that, yes, they are in a somewhat unique position as a film festival, with a distribution company that operates as a separate entity, but also in conjunction with the festival.

You can learn more about this year's festival - the films in its lineup and such - by clicking HERE.

Watch our lengthy though insightful conversation below, and thanks to Diarah for the time.

This article is related to: Festivals, Interview


Shadow & ActNewsletter