February is Black History Month so it’s fitting that the 5th annual Toronto Black Film Festival will take place February 15-19, 2017. The festival will feature film screenings, special events and workshops and will premiere Emmy winner Stanley Nelson’s Tell Them We Are Rising at the Isabel Bader Theatre. Nelson’s film is an official 2017 Sundance Selection.
Founded by Haitian-Canadian actress, director and producer, Fabienne Colas, the Toronto Black Film Festival showcases the best films that focus on the experiences of black people from diverse communities.
Here is a sampling of some of the films that will be screened at the festival:
Across The Tracks – Feb. 19, 2017, 3 p.m. – Carlton Cinema (Short Films)
Across The Tracks is the story of two African-American sisters who grow up in 1960s Georgia. One of the sisters has fair skin. When schools integrate in their town, she decides to pass for white.
ELLA’s VOICE: Pure Love – The Voice of Ella Fitzgerald – Feb. 19, 2017, 1 p.m. – Carlton Cinema (Feature and Mid-Length Documentary)
The great Ella Fitzgerald had a three-octave range, perfect pitch and perfect intonation. Fitzgerald’s interpretations of classic songs by American composers George and Ira Gershwin, Cole Porter, Harold Arlen and Duke Ellington are the gold standard for generations of singers. Musicians, singers, critics discuss the magic of Fitzgerald’s voice, what motivated her to sing as she did and the impact her voice had on many.
Tell Them We Are Rising – Feb. 15, 2017, 7:30 p.m. – Isabel Bader Theatre (Feature and Mid-Length Documentaries)
A haven for Black intellectuals, artists and revolutionaries—and path of promise toward the American dream—Black colleges and universities have educated the architects of freedom movements and cultivated leaders in every field. For the first time ever, their story is told.
Couples Night – Feb. 17, 2017, 6:30 p.m. – Jackman Hall, Art Gallery of Ontario (Narrative Feature Films)
A bored housewife, who becomes obsessed with her argumentative neighbors, starts a Couples Night to the chagrin of her introvert husband.
The House on Coco Road – Feb. 18, 2017, 4 p.m. – Jackman Hall, Art Gallery of Ontario (Feature and Mid-Length Documentaries)
The House on Coco Road focuses on Fannie Haughton, an activist and teacher who moves her children from Oakland, California to participate in the Grenada Revolution, only to find her family in harms way of a U.S. military invasion.
The Suit – Feb. 19, 2017, 7 p.m. – Carlton Cinema (Shorts Films – Narrative Shorts)
Based on the short story by South African investigative journalist and author Can Themba, The Suit is set in 1950s Johannesburg, against the apartheid regime’s forced removals under the Group Areas Act. Philemon finds his wife, Matilda, in bed with a lover. The lover escapes, leaving behind his suit. Philemon punishes Matilda to treat the suit as a guest who must eat with them, go on walks and accompany them to church. The theme of the film is the impact of oppression on personal relationships. It also explores how intolerance and revenge are self-destructive.
The Toronto Black Film Festival runs Feb. 15-19, 2017. Individual tickets for Toronto Black Film Festival screenings range from $10-$25 and can be purchased here.
Share your experience of the festival using #TBFF17 on social media.