The 2nd edition of the Toronto Black Film Festival kicks off in February
The 2nd Edition of the Toronto Black Film Festival will run from February 11-16. In addition to being an excellent way to celebrate Black History Month this year’s festival will also pay tribute to the late Nelson Mandela as well as marking several important anniversaries including 210 years of Haitian independence and the 5th anniversary of Obama’s presidency.
President and founder of the festival, Fabienne Colas started the festival after a frustrating and humiliating experience. She had just immigrated to Montreal from Haiti where she had enjoyed success as an award-winning actress. She attempted to submit her movie Barikad (which had been a huge success Haiti) to an African film festival in Montreal. She was rejected because the film was on VHS and the festival was only accepting digital submissions but the way she was rejected also had a tone of condescension.
“It was Haiti’s Titanic at the time so I wanted to show it in Montreal and I think it’s a film which had been made for less than $100,000 but anyway for us it was the most whatever film and I came to Montreal with a copy of the film that the director gave me and I said don’t you worry we’re going to screen this film everywhere in Canada – because for me Montreal was Canada. They didn’t accept the film because it was in the VHS format. That’s all we had, no DVDs at the time. I didn’t get mad at the way they said ‘No’ because any festival curates and you decide to take what you want but I was humiliated by the way they said ‘No’ to us. It was like, ‘We have way better films then that’. A way just to make me feel less than. So I said you know what? We need another festival in Montreal.”
The Montreal International Black Film Festival was so successful that Fabienne decided to expand. The Fabienne Colas Foundation was set up to promote art, culture and cinema by hosting several different film festivals.
This year TBFF will feature 33 movies from around the world including 9 from South Africa to honour the memory of Nelson Mandela. There are even two romantic films screening on February 14 to coincide with Valentine’s Day, Lobola a romantic comedy about an Afrikaans man who falls in love with a Zulu woman and Nollywood romantic comedy Flower Girl.
Special guests will include Stedman Graham (Yes, Oprah’s Fiance!), South African singer Lorraine Klassen and Angola 3 member Robert Hillary King.
A passport card can be purchased for $129 and will give you access to all the films in the festival. Regular tickets are $10, opening night tickets are $20 and closing night tickets are $15. Tickets can be purchased at The Carlton box office or online at www.torontoblackfilm.com
Photography Credit: Danielle La Valle