Feb 23, 2009

Best of African Diaspora Film Festival @ BAM

This past weekend and throughout the waning days of Black History Month, the Brooklyn Academy of Music showcases the best of last fall's New York African-Diaspora Film Festival, the country's oldest festival devoted to representations of Africans and their extra continental descendants. A wide range of works by both northern, middle eastern and sub-Saharan Africans are on display, along with work by such African-American notables as Charles Burnett and Giancarlo Esposito.

Esposito, who's made a name for himself as a dynamic character actor in films such as Do The Right Thing and The Usual Suspects, is here with his directorial debut Gospel Hill, a look at gentrification in a small Southern town that was once a beacon of the Civil Rights Movement. He stars in the picture, along with Angela Bassett and Danny Glover, who also reunites with Burnett (he stared in the director's 1991 masterpiece, To Sleep With Anger) in the 160 minute Namibia: The Struggle for Liberation. Not surprisingly, neither film has domestic distribution.

Other works on tap include Sean Baker's Spirit Award nominated The Prince of Broadway, Phillippe Diaz's doc The End of Poverty?, which screened at last year's Cannes' International Critic's Week and Jerome Laperouz's Made in Jamaica, a doc about Reggae that's been kicking around the festival circuit for awhile and feels like a companion piece of sorts to Adam Bhala Lough's fabulous look at Lee "Scratch" Perry, The Upsetter, which BAM showcased at last summer's Afro-Punk Film Festival.