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ADIFF 2023 Opening Night

Another appearance at the ADIFF and this year's opening night film is a great one. A Hope Of Escape which is a docudrama based on the journey of a mother and daughter who are enslaved and try to find a way to escape to their relatives up north only to be thwarted by someone they trusted. Directed by Amy Gerber who is a descendant of the main character in the movie and also wrote the screenplay from her family archives, Hope Of Escape is a great thinking piece of what the railroad above ground like or the lengths families were willing to go to free their enslaved loved ones. Mizan Kirby plays Diana Williams who is a slave for many years and have two daughters, Juliana and Cornelia lives in the Read household and after the passing of the patriarch becomes a free slave but the patriarch grandson wants her for himself and there is the race to freedom begins. Inbetween the struggle to get to freedom is Cornelia's budding romance with a fellow slave named Wilby who himself wants to head north for freedom but faces obstacles along the way. Also in the story is Diana's two sisters who are living free lives in the Northern U.S. and worries about their sister often only to see their plan to get Diana and Cornelia being derailed.

The movie is also a time travel piece where the audience sees the characters from the year they met to when they get sold to when they are being seeked out by the family for being on the run. The acting here is brilliant as you feel Mizan as Diana through her facial expressions and mannerisms. She did a great job of emboding someone who is struggling with her own situation and making her daughter aware of what lies ahead. Kendra Chideya and Marley Gregory who plays the budding couple Wilby and Cornelia are great in their roles and of course are the director's great great grand parents suits them well as they go from being awkward to each other then to expressing their feelings as they grow closer. The screenplay which is based off Amy's family archives and newspaper clippings of the time is well written and thought out well for the time piece that its representing. The cinematopography is brilliant as you can see you are in the late 1800s and the landscapes represent the time period well. For us Hope of Escape is a great film that is not your standard slavery time piece film. It is a refreshing alternative that deserves praises for being outside the box a bit. For now the film is starting their festival run and we recommend highly that you get a chance to see it.

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