Speak up and tell stories of diversity

Montreal’s International Black Film Festival (#MIBFF17) begins Sept. 27 with a 7 p.m. screening of Kalushi at Cinéma Impérial. Photo courtesy of the Montreal International Black Film Festival.

This year’s edition of the Montreal International Black Film Festival encourages people to fight for their rights

Audiences at the 13th annual Montreal International Black Film Festival (MIBFF) can expect thought-provoking, moving and entertaining films at this year’s event. Spanning from Sept. 27 to Oct. 1, the festival kicks off with a 7 p.m. screening of Kalushi, a film directed by Mandla Walter Dube, at Cinéma Impérial.

The opening film is inspired by the story of a young South African soldier, Solomon Kalushi Mahlangu. Now considered a hero, Mahlangu was convicted of murder and hung in 1979. Mahlangu’s fight for his rights inspired the MIBFF’s theme—Speak Up! This year’s films explore social and racial injustice, police brutality and racial segregation throughout history.

Featuring 66 films from 25 countries, the MIBFF will also facilitate a variety of events including discussions, “masterclasses” and workshops. According to the festival’s founder, Fabienne Colas, these events are aimed at young filmmakers to encourage them to get involved in the industry by providing them with the opportunity to do so.

Events include:

  • “Black Market” conferences on Sept. 28 and 29 at 5:30 p.m., and on Sept. 30 and Oct. 1 at 11 a.m., at L’institut national de l’image et du son, or L’Inis (301 Maisonneuve Blvd. E.).
  • “Movie-talks” about Mariannes Noires on Sept. 30 at 1 p.m., and Marvin Brooker was Murdered  on Sept. 30 at 5 p.m. at Cinéma du Parc (3575 Park Ave).

The festival aims to support independent films and filmmakers, professionals and students alike, Colas said. When the actress first came to Montreal, she was disappointed by the lack of diversity in the city’s film industry. She said she created the festival to help support Haitian films and actors, but it later grew to include all black cultures. Today, anyone can submit their film to the festival. To do so, the only requirement is that the work include people of colour.

This year, to celebrate Montreal’s 375th anniversary, the festival will highlight the diverse cultures and peoples living in Montreal. Colas said she hopes to inspire and educate audiences while creating a cultural, social and socio-economic dialogue among viewers.

Among the 66 films, 12 are Canadian-made, with several based in Quebec and Montreal. Colas said she is very excited to feature Poussière (Dust), a silent film directed by a Concordia communications student, Evangéline Kabuya. The film will be screened at Ancien ONF (1564 St-Denis St.) at 1 p.m. on Sunday, Oct. 1.

At the same event, two other Montreal-made films, D’encre et de Sang by Alexis Fortier Gauthier, Francis Fortin and Maxim Rheault, and C’est Moi by Howard J. Davis, will be screened.

Other must-see Canadian films include:

  • Oliver Jones: Mind, Hands & Heart by Montrealer Rosey Edeh, on Sept. 30 at Cinéma du Parc at 3 p.m. General admission is $20.
  • Reaching for Zion by Concordia alumna Irene Angelico, on Sept 30 at Ancien ONF at 3 p.m.
  • Black Lives Matter by Joseph Oesi, on Sept. 30 at Cinéma du Parc at 7 p.m.
  • Color Blind by Vladimir Philogène, on Oct. 1 at Ancien ONF at 3 p.m.

Most of the events at the Montreal International Black Film Festival are general admission, which costs $10. Stay tuned for reviews of some of the films in next week’s issue of The Concordian.

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