An eclectic lineup is on tap from March 15 through April 5 at N.C. State's Witherspoon Theater and Raleigh's Richard B. Harrison Library. A mixture of hard-to-find efforts from such points as Cuba and Senegal along with better known films such as the 1992 Whoopi Goldberg vehicle Sarafina! and last year's art house hit Rabbit-Proof Fence, this festival's theme is "Afri-Optimism."
The festival will kick off on March 15, when Cuban filmmaker Gloria Rolando's Eyes of the Rainbow will screen at Witherspoon. A 47-minute study of one-time Black Panther Assata Shakur, this film traces the flight from U.S. prosecution of this fiery radical--who would later become known as the mother of Tupac Shakur--and her 15 years of exile in Cuba. Dr. Lisa Brock of the School of the Art Institute of Chicago will introduce the film.
Playing on March 18 is Senegalese avant-garde director Djibril Diop Mambety's The Little Girl Who Sold The Sun, a tale of a young girl who scrapes together a meager existence hawking newspapers. Elsewhere on the program, American director Peter Bratt will be on hand March 22 to discuss Follow Me Home, a 1996 Sundance selection with Alfre Woodard about a multi-racial group of artists who take a road trip to the White House. Wrapping up the festival on April 5 is Jonathan Robinson's Every Child is Born a Poet: The Life and Work of Piri Thomas. This hour-long documentary explores the life of an important Puerto Rican, or Nuyorican, poet in 1960s downtown New York.
All screenings of the 3rd Annual African Diaspora Festival are free. Check www.ncsu.edu/chass/ mds/AFSFilmFestival04 for schedules and additional links.