The 14th annual MIBFF features over 70 new, international productions
“This is a dream,” Fabienne Colas, founder and general manager of the Montreal International Black Film Festival (MIBFF), told CBC in early September. Her excitement stemmed from Spike’s Lee agreement to participate in an open discussion with film goers and other filmmakers on Sept. 26. “He chose Montreal, and he chose the Montreal Black Film Festival, so it’s a huge honour for us.”
Lee is an influential figure in black film; his work tends to gravitate toward black issues in the modern world. His most recent film, BlacKkKlansman, won the Grand Prix at the Cannes Film Festival last May. Lee has also been nominated at the MIBFF for Do the Right Thing and 4 Little Girls.
The festival was created by the Fabienne Colas Foundation in 2005 under the name Montreal Haitian Film Festival. In addition to a name change that has broadened the scope of the festival to include all black culture, the festival has gone from presenting three films over three days to screening more than 70 films in English and French over the course of six days.
On Sept. 26, Lee will lead a panel discussing his experience in the film industry as a director and producer, and his views on today’s socio-economic climate. Tickets are available online for $35. A $135 VIP package is also available for those who would want to have a drink with Lee and take a picture with him. The cocktail hour is set at 7 p.m. while the conference starts at 8 p.m.
Throughout the week, theatres around the city will host more than 70 films made by students and professionals alike.
The annual event promotes independent film productions, and the projects are diverse. Among the 70 productions are documentaries, short films, animations and children’s movies that explore the often ignored reality of living as a person of colour. This year, filmmakers from 25 countries have submitted their work. Over the last 14 years, grants and awards have been given out to the winners in efforts to help develop the Canadian and international cinema industries.
Starting off this year’s festival is the British film OBEY, directed by Jamie Jones. The film is centered around a man living in eastern London who is torn apart by his love for a woman while living in an ever-changing and turbulent society. OBEY will make its Canadian debut as a strong, emotional opening to the festival on Sept. 25 at Cinéma Impérial.
Throughout the week, a multitude of films will be presented daily. Festival goers may also participate in a series of Black Market conferences, where a wide range of topics, from social issues to how to navigate the film industry will be covered.
For more information about the schedule, visit montrealblackfilm.com. Tickets for films and conferences can be acquired on the website or in person 30 minutes prior to a screening.