14th edition of MASSIMADI: Online and Free! Montreal’s Afro LGBTQ+ Film and Arts Festival Runs February 11 – March 11

100% Free & Online Across Canada

February 11 to March 11, 2022

Since 2009, the Massimadi Foundation has been bringing together lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, and queer (LGBTQ+) people of African-descendant backgrounds through its various arts-based community initiatives. Over the past two years, Massimadi has seen its mission evolve in the face of the COVID-19 pandemic. In hopes of standing strong with its communities, Massimadi continues to focus on the arts as a way to regain joy and wonder for life through these difficult times. Art and its healing power, pushes us to question our society to move it forward. These two years of the pandemic have been particularly difficult for the community and arts sectors and of course, for members of the Black and LGBTQ+ communities.

With this in mind, Massimadi invites the Canadian public to its 14th annual Afro LGBTQ+ Film and Arts Festival during Black History Month. Presented online by TD Bank Group from February 11 to March 11, 2022, as a part of TD Ready Commitment.

“In a year where we all have once again gone virtual, organizations in Black communities across Canada have continued to pivot, innovate, and advocate for change. Through the TD Ready Commitment, we are proud to support opportunities like the Massimadi Festival that bring people together and help further empower, inspire and strengthen Black communities.”  Sylvie Demers (Chair, Quebec Market, TD Bank Group)

“In the creative process, our sufferings can be transformed into beauty. Sharing these experiences with our community and others promotes transcendence. The arts also allow us to move beyond trauma by giving life to worlds that liberate us from our social conditions and the political spheres that compartmentalize our identities.” Laurent Lafontant (President, Massimadi Foundation). For this reason, Healing & Euphoria have been chosen as the themes of this 14th edition of Massimadi which is financially supported by the Conseil des Arts de Montréal.

This year’s selection of both short and feature films will be presented for a second consecutive year at massimadi.ca. The Festival team hopes this line-up will help all of us deepen our understanding of society while asking us to reshape it, as powerful art always does. Massimadi supports and applauds the imagination and craft of artists who do not often have access to mainstream platforms, and allows for the creation of an archive of this Afroqueer culture.

26 films16 shorts7 features & 3 medium-length films
Strong and diverse categories: Renaissance, Links That Unite Us, Shared Stories, Body Affirmation, Initiation, Rebels
100% free and accessible throughout Canada at massimadi.ca

Films from around the world, from 12 different countries (United States, Nigeria, Kenya, Canada, Germany, Netherlands, South Africa, Haiti, Costa Rica Dominican Republic, and Israel), including 6 Canadian films

A live discussion with Stephen Winter, the director of the film Chocolate Babies
(Full programming available soon at massimadi.ca, check the festival
Facebook & Instagram for upcoming announcements!)

Chocolate Babies [83 min] | Directed by Stephen Winter | Fiction | United States | 1996

Chocolate Babies is an American movie directed by Stephen Winter that follows an underground band of HIV-positive, queer, urban, genderqueer, activists of colour making headlines in New York City. In an effort to expose political corruption surrounding the AIDS epidemic, these urban guerrillas stage a series of surprise attacks against conservative politicians whom they believe are collecting secret lists of HIV-positive individuals.

Mama Gloria [75 min] | Directed by Luchina Fisher | Documentary | United States | 2020

Black Chicago trans icon Gloria Allen, now 70 years old, has paved the way for transgender people like few others before her. A product of Chicago’s South Side drag culture in the 1960s, Gloria overcame violent trauma to become a proud leader in her community. Most notably, she created a charm school for transgender youth, which inspired the hit play Charm. Luchina Fisher’s touching and engaging documentary is not only a portrait of a revolutionary legend, but also a celebration of unconditional love, the love Gloria received from her own mother and now gives to her chosen children.

Can You Bring It: Bill T. Jones and D-Man in the Waters [94 min] | Directed by Tom Hurwitz & Rosalynde Leblanc | Documentary | United States | 2020

This documentary brings to life the creative process behind choreographer, dancer and director Bill T. Jones’ D-Man in the Waters, one of the most important works of art to come out of the AIDS crisis. In 1989, D-Man in the Waters gave physical expression to the fear, anger, grief, and hope for redemption that the emerging Bill T. Jones/Arnie Zane company felt in the face of the AIDS epidemic. In reinterpreting the work, a group of young dancers from the present deepen their understanding of its power—exploring what is at stake in their personal lives to engage with it and perform it successfully. Through an extraordinary collage of interviews, archival material, and uniquely powerful cinematography, this lyrical documentary uses the history of this iconic dance to illustrate the power of art and the triumph of the human spirit.

The Legend of the Underground [86 min] | Directed by Nneka Onuorah & Giselle Bailey | Documentary | Nigeria & United States | 2021

A timely documentary that reveals the rampant discrimination in Nigeria while exploring the lives of several unusual men who must choose to live in danger in their country or flee to the United States.

I am Samuel [60 min] | Directed by Pete Murimi | Fiction | Kenya, United Kingdom, USA, Germany, Netherlands, Canada, South Africa | 2020

Filmed in the of “cinéma vérité” over a period of five years, I am Samuel is an intimate portrait of a gay Kenyan man torn between his duty to his family and his dreams for the future, in a country where his love is criminalized.

All Boys Aren’t Blue [40 min] | Directed by Nathan Hale Williams | Hybrid Documentary |  United States | 2020

Bernard David Jones, Dyllon Burnside, Thomas Hobson, and Jenifer Lewis bring George M. Johnson’s words to life in this dramatic reading of his book, All Boys Aren’t Blue. Each of the characters represent Johnson at different stages of his life. The memoir is an up-close account of the trials, turbulence, and triumphs that have made Johnson the person he is today.

Fierceness Served! The ENIKAlley Coffeehouse Documentary [35 min] | Directed by Michelle Parkerson | Documentary |  United States | 2021

This documentary focuses on the history of a black LGBTQ performance venue, rehearsal space for artists, and meeting place for political organizations in Washington, DC from the 1980s to the mid-1990s. ENIKAlley Coffeehouse was the epicentre of a cultural renaissance parallel to the Harlem Renaissance.

Masisi Wouj [22 min] | Directed by Zé Kielwagen, Marcos Serafim, Steevens Simeon | Documentary | Haiti | 2021

Haitian artist and activist Sanba Yonel creates a queer tribute to the Lwa, the gods and goddesses of Voodoo who once inspired a revolution. In Haiti, men perceived as feminine are called ‘masisi’. This word is often used as an insult to queer, trans and non-binary people. Sanba Yonel discusses the struggle of masisis who, in the face of prejudice and hostility, find refuge in the religious context of Voodoo.

Body Politics [9 min] | Directed by Aisha Fairclough | Documentary | Canada | 2021

In a world preoccupied with body image, Dr. Jill Andrew, educator, activist and eccentric cat-lady turned politician, leads her fight for body justice, human rights, representation, access and equity as the first Black queer person elected to the provincial legislature. It is a glimpse into a 40-year history told through the eyes of her directing partner.

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