In just two short years the Toronto Black Film Festival (TBFF) has managed to generate an annual buzz most decade-old cinematic carnivals could only dream of. Dedicated to providing a platform for black filmmakers from around the world, its mission is already a roaring success with the festival now Toronto’s premier showcase for diverse and dynamic black movie-making.
The inaugural TBFF, presented by Global Montreal, took place in February 2013 and was created by the not-for-profit organization Fabienne Colas Foundation, which is committed to promoting cinema, art and culture in Canada and abroad. An offshoot of the incredibly successful Montreal International Black Film Festival, which is now in its ninth year and also organized by Fabienne Colas, TBFF is planned to coincide with Black History Month to further support and celebrate the best and most powerful black films each year, and offer a space for debate centred around major cultural, social and socio-economic issues.
Taking place over a crammed six days, the 2014 Toronto Black Film Festival screened over thirty feature-length films, narrative shorts and documentaries of varying lengths from over twenty countries, and utilized three of the city’s theatres – the famed TIFF Bell Lightbox, the Carlton Cinema, and the university’s Isabel Bader Theatre – while the penultimate night saw a live concert celebrating South Africa by Lorraine Klaasen at the Al Green Theatre. Adding to the immersive nature of the festival were a number of special events, panels and discussions focusing on film, plus a tribute to Nelson Mandela in the form of a selection of documentaries.
For 2015, the TBFF runs from February 10 to the 15th and will again screen dozens of entries in both its Competitive and Out-of-Competition sections, along with the ‘For a Certain Perspective’ segment which includes specially invited films and curated retrospectives. With yet more exhibitions, conferences and workshops, along with opportunities for attendees to meet speakers, artists and filmmakers from around the world, the Toronto Black Film Festival is clearly going from strength to strength.