The time has officially come…

The 20th annual African Diaspora International Film Festival (ADIFF), here in New York City, kicks off  its 2012 edition (also its 20th anniversary, a milestone year), TONIGHT, November 23rd, running through December 11th.

As noted, this year's event will open with Nigerian filmmaker Tony Abulu's cross-continental drama/thriller, Doctor Bello, a film S&A readers should already be familiar with, as we've been covering it since it began production earlier this year.

The Nollywood/Hollywood collaboration stars Isaiah WashingtonVivica A. FoxJimmy Jean-LouisBern CohenGenevieve Nnaji (maybe the most internationally well-known Nollywood actress), Stephanie Okereke (also a well-known Nollywood actress) and Victor Browne.

The film made its world premiere in September at the Kennedy Center for Performing Arts, in Washington, DC, and it'll now have its New York premiere, as well as the honor of opening the African Diaspora International Film Festival, as it celebrates its 20th anniversary – one of the oldest and most regarded diaspora film festivals in the country, if not the world.

None of us at S&A has seen the film yet, so this will be our first opportunitiy to do so. And of course, we'll share our thoughts about it when afterward.

Other highlights include Moussa Touré's acclaimed immigration/survival drama La Pirogue, which will be making its USA premiere; and alsoPhilippe Niang's 3-hour epic drama Toussaint L'Ouverture!

Both films have received lots of coverage on this site.

There's also the Afro-Colombian drama La Playa D.C centers on a teenager struggling with the difficulties of growing up in a city (Bogota) of exclusion and racism against those who look like him; and on the doc front, a really intriguing documentary from Jeff Lieberman, journalist, producer and documentary filmmaker, titled RE-EMERGING: The Jews of Nigeria, which documents the lives of Igbo people who have embraced Judaism as a part of their legacy, and who believe Igbos are really descendants of Israelites.

The doc follows Sam, now known as Shmuel, on his quest for knowledge about Igbo identity and history – from Igbos' roots in Israel, to their journey during the Atlantic Slave Trade, to the Nigerian-Biafran War.

Other docs include Yanick Letourneau's United States of Africa: Beyond Hip Hop, co-produced (and distributed) by the National Film Board of Canada (we've shared a lot of work from them here on S&A over the years). The film follows Senegalese rapper Didier Awadi as he tours 40 countries as part of a tribute to black leaders, outlining the tragic ends of various African leaders who were thwarted in their progressive aims, often by Western powers.

And one of the few USA-based/set/produced works in this year's lineup is Al Robbins The Next Day, described as character study that explores what happens the day after two seemingly well-adjusted, responsible adults act irresponsibly during a one-night stand. Al is a sometimes commenter on this site, so some of you may know him, or of him already; we've written about his work in the past.

On the short film front, the spotlight this year will be on Namibian cinema, and will include both screenings of films, as well as panel discussions on the Namibian Film Industry.

There are also a series of African American shorts – some that you might recall, like Christina Choe's I Am John Wayne.

This year's lineup comprises of some 60+ films – shorts, features, documentaries, animation, and experimental works.

Check out the complete lineup HERE.

You can purchase tickets online – whether single tickets, or passes: the VAP (Very Artsy Person) Pass which gives access to all festival events, including Opening Night, Closing Night and all special events; and the Regular pass, which gives access to all the regular screenings. 

Tickets can be purchasd HERE.

I'll have reviews for you of as many of these films as I can get to during the 19-day festival's run.