Historical and recent migrations have resulted in the merging of cultures and shared experiences.
With its Migration Stories Film Series, the African Diaspora International Film Festival presents a rich palette of migration stories from around the world.
From Barbadians finding their roots in Panama to Cubans finding their roots in Sierra Leone; with films like “Bound: African Versus African-Americans” and “Borders” ADIFF celebrates our shared experiences from May 31 to June 2 at Columbia University, Teachers College.
Highlighting the program is the U.S. premiere presentation of “Panama Dreams,” which transports the viewer on filmmaker Alison Saunders’ modern-day search for descendants of an ancestor who left Barbados in the early 1900s to build the Panama Canal – one of the seven wonders of the modern world, according to a news release.
It uncovers the complex history of that migration and troubling issues of race and discrimination that faced the West Indians on the Canal Zone and their descendants in present day.
Other fascinating stories of cultural transportation are “They Are We,” the story of a remarkable reunion, 170 or so years after a family was driven apart by the ravages of the transatlantic slave trade.
The film follows the amazing reunion of members of a small Afro-Cuban ethnic group called Ganga-Longoba – who have retained a collection of distinct songs and dances that one of their ancestors brought from Africa as a slave – and members of the village their ancestor called home in Sierra Leone.
In Tunisia, the history of Stambali goes back to the arrival of the first men and women taken as slaves from Mali, Timbuktu specifically.
Practicing their music and worship in the house of their masters, the descendants of these enslaved Africans are now Tunisians and their musical traditions survive to this day.
“Bound: African Versus African Americans (AVAA),” is a hard-hitting documentary that addresses the unfortunate tension that exists between Africans and African Americans.
“AVAA” uses personal testimonials to expose this rift, then it takes us on a journey through the corridors of African and African American historical experiences as it illuminates the moments that divide and those that bind Africans and African Americans.
Recent migration stories include “The Citizen about Wilson,” whose family was killed during an outbreak of civil war in Guinea-Bissau.
He enters Europe as a political refugee and his main desire is to acquire Hungarian citizenship.
“Otomo” counts as a drama that tells the true story of a West African asylum seeker who physically assaulted an intolerant subway ticket-taker; fled, and became the target of a city-wide manhunt in Stuttgart, Germany.
Organizers said another film, “Tazzeka,” represents a feel-good comedy drama that is an ode to good food and friendship.
It follows young Elias, who learned the secrets of traditional Moroccan cuisine from his grandmother and dreams a becoming a Chef in Paris, France.
Two documentaries explore migration stories in the Afro-Latino community.
“Invisible Color: Black is More Than a Color,” is the latest documentary by the Dean of Afro-Cuban Cinema Sergio Giral.
It investigates the black Cuban exile community in South Florida, since the first wave of political refugees in the 1959 revolutionary aftermath, to today.
The film, “The Valley of the Black Descendants,” follows a group of descendants of enslaved men and women brought from Africa who are organizing the first African census in the history of Chile.
The ADIFF Migration Stories film series opened on Friday, May 31, with a free screening of the drama, “Borders,” by Mostefa Djadjam, which follows six men and a woman on the hazardous journey from Senegal to Morocco in a bid to slip illegally into Europe to escape from the poverty and internecine warfare of Africa.
The ADIFF Migration Film Series takes place at Teachers College, Columbia University – 525 W 120th St. Tickets are $11 and $13. Weekend Pass is $40.
For more information, go to http://www.NYADIFF.org.