If you go to a fair number of films then you know that after a while they all begin looking the same. The Montreal International Black Film Festival aims to change that. Diversity is the name of the game here whether it be colour of skin, topic, language (English and French), part of the world that the film comes from, or budget size. It is the only officially bilingual film festival of its kind in the world.
The 11th annual Montreal International Black Film Festival, created by the Fabienne Colas Foundation, endeavours to give a voice to films that deal with the socio-economic, cultural and social issues within the world’s black community. Issues that are important to that section of the population will anger, shock, make you laugh, and educate the viewer. Films from all over the world are screened at the festival which lasts six days.
Some of the films presented will be well-known like last year’s Oscar nominated Selma by filmmaker Ava DuVernay while the bulk of the films are by independent filmmakers. This is another goal of the festival – to make people aware of films by filmmakers just starting out or those without the benefit of the budget of a big studio behind them.
The whole thing kicks off with the opening film, Sweet Mickey for President, which presents the story of Pras Michel’s, former member of musical group The Fugees, recent run for president of Haiti. The Grammy Award-winning rapper will be at the opening night screening as well as hosting the kick-off party that night at L’Olympia. After the film there will be a change to engage Pras Michel in dialogue as there will be a Q&A session.
There are 12 films that will screen during the festival. Some that have caught my eye include: Terrible Love by Christopher Thomas (about a veteran returning home after a tour in Iraq with PTSD), The Black Panthers: Vanguard of the Revolution by Stanley Nelson (the first feature length documentary that looks at the Black Panther Party), Game Face by Michiel Thomas (about athletes who have chosen to come out), and Dennis Rodman’s Big Bang in Pyongang by Colin Offman (former NBA star’s attempt to broker peace between the U.S. and North Korea).
Some special events will also be taking place during the festival. Celebrating 60 Years of Konpa Music, Tribute to Martin Luther King III, Movie Talk: The Power of Non-Violence, and Exhibition: We Have a Dream plus some after parties and the Black Market.
-Dates: September 29 – October 4, 2015
-Venues: Cineplex Quartier Latin (350 Emery), Imperial Cinema (1430 Bleury), Concordia University – D.B. Clarke and Hall Theatres (1455 de Maisonneuve West), Judith Jasmin Annexe (1554 St. Denis), L’Inis (301 de Maisonneuve East)
-Ticket Purchase: www.montrealblackfilm.com
-Ticket Prices: Platinum Card – $300.00
Gold Pass – $195.00
Passport – $135.00
Black Market Pass – $20.00
After-Party Pass – $30.00
Opening Night – $25.00
Closing Night – $20.00