Sonia Sanchez and Chicago’s Neighborhoods Headline This year’s African Diaspora | Teachers College Columbia University

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Sonia Sanchez and Chicago’s Neighborhoods Headline This year’s African Diaspora Film Festival


The 23rd Annual African Diaspora International Film Festival, co-sponsored by Teachers College’s Vice President’s Office of Diversity and Community Affairs, is going into its final weeks, with some big screenings still to be held on TC’s campus.

On Sunday, December 6th, in an afternoon themed “Let’s Talk About Chicago,” the festival will air two films about the Windy City in 179 Grace Dodge Hall. The documentary “70 Acres in Chicago: Cabrini Green,” which follows the story of a community displaced when its neighborhood is torn down, will show at 4:30. It will be followed by a reading by the journalist Elaine Hegwood Bowen from her book, Old School Adventures from Englewood-South Side of Chicago. At 6:30, viewers can watch the New York premiere of “Takin’ Place,” described as “a fly-on-the-wall approach to discovering everyday life and culture” on Chicago’s South side “in all its glorious diversity and complexity.” There will be a panel discussion and reception afterward.

On Saturday, December 12th, at 8:30 p.m., the documentary “If Only I Were That Warrior,” about the Italian occupation of Ethiopia in 1935, will have its U.S. premiere in TC’s Cowin Conference Center. There will be a discussion afterward with the director, Valerio Ciriaci, followed by a reception.

And on Sunday, December 13th – the festival’s closing night – at 6 p.m., the Cowin Center will be the venue for a screening of “BaddDDD Sonia Sanchez,” a documentary about the poet, playwright, activist and seminal figure in the 1960s Black Arts Movement. Sanchez, now 80, will be on a hand for a discussion afterward, followed by a catered reception.

Created and run by the husband-and-wife team of former TC faculty member Reinaldo Spech and former TC budget director Diarah N’Daw-Spech, the three-week African Diaspora International Film Festival is an eclectic mix of foreign, independent, classic and urban films representing the global Black experience. Its mission is to “present these films to diverse audiences, redesign the Black cinema experience, and strengthen the role of African and African-descent directors in contemporary world cinema."

Published Thursday, Dec 3, 2015

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From left: Poet and activist Sonia Sanchez, festival director Diara N'Dawspech and film editor Geeta Gandbhir.