The Diaspora Suite

Ephraim Asili is a Filmmaker, DJ, and Traveler whose work focuses on the African diaspora as a cultural force. His films have screened in festivals and venues all over the world, including the New York Film Festival, Toronto International Film Festival, International Film Festival Rotterdam, The United States National Gallery of Art, The Whitney Museum, and The Museum of Modern Art.

Shot on 16mm over the course of seven years in Brazil, Canada, Ethiopia, Ghana, Jamaica, and the United States, Asili’s The Diaspora Suite was described by the Brooklyn Art Museum as a “revelatory cycle of five short films collapsing time and space to reveal the hidden resonances that connect the black American experience to the greater African diaspora.”

Forged Ways
US, 2011, 16mm, digital, 15 min
Photographed on location in Harlem and various locations throughout Ethiopia, Forged Ways oscillates between the first person account of a filmmaker, the third person experience of a man navigating the streets of Harlem, and day-to-day life in the cities and villages of Ethiopia.

American Hunger
US, 2013, 16mm, digital, 19 min
Oscillating between a street festival in Philadelphia, the slave forts and capitol city of Ghana, and the New Jersey shore, American Hunger explores the relationship between personal experience and collective histories. American fantasies confront African realities. African realities confront America fantasies. African fantasies confront American realities. American realities confront African fantasies…

Many Thousands Gone
Toronto Premiere, US, 2015, 16mm, digital, 8 min
Filmed on location in Salvador, Brazil (the last city in the Western Hemisphere to outlaw slavery) and Harlem, New York (an international stronghold of the African Diaspora), Many Thousands Gone draws parallels between a summer afternoon on the streets of the two cities. A silent version of the film was given to jazz multi-instrumentalist Joe McPhee, who in turn produced an interpretive score. The final film is the combination of the images and McPhee’s real time “sight reading” of the score.

Toronto Premiere, US, 2016, 16mm, digital, 12 min
Kindah was shot in Hudson, New York and Accompong, Jamaica. Accompong was founded in 1739 after rebel slaves and their descendants fought a protracted war with the British, effectively leading to the establishment of a treaty between the two sides. The treaty signed under British governor Edward Trelawny granted Cudjoe’s Maroons 1500 acres of land between their strongholds of Trelawny Town and Accompong in the Cockpits, as well as a certain amount of political autonomy and economic freedoms. Cudjoe, a leader of the Maroons, is said to have united the Maroons in their fight for autonomy under the Kindah Tree—a large, ancient mango tree that is still standing. The tree symbolizes the common kinship of the community on its common land.

Fluid Frontiers
US, 2017, 16mm, digital, 23 min
Shot along the Detroit River border region, Fluid Frontiers explores the relationship between concepts of resistance and liberation from the Underground Railroad (the Detroit River being a major terminal point), modern movements such as Dudley Randell's Detroit based Broadside Press, as well as the installation, sculptural, and performance works of local Detroit Artists. All poems read are sourced from original copies of Broadside Press and recorded in one unrehearsed take. The readers of these poems are natives of the Detroit Windsor region.

Image: Ephraim Asili, American Hunger, 2013.

Co-presented with

14 April 2019 09:30PM

Innis Town Hall
2 Sussex Ave