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Preview: Montreal International Black Film Festival

Posted by Christine / September 19, 2012

2012-MIBFF1.jpg The Montreal International Black Film Festival (MIBFF) begins tomorrow and concludes on the 30th of the month. This year's installment boasts two exceptional celebrity events: a special evening with Harry Belafonte at Concordia University and a conference and tribute to Stedman Graham at the Hyatt Regency Montreal.

Founded in 2005, the MIBFF has experienced impressive growth. With its bilingualism (films are subtitled in either French or English), international press coverage, increasing audience base, ample amount of countries represented, and growing number of films shown year-to-year, this festival is truly one to experience and enjoy.

Below is a selection of films that will screen at the MIBFF, their showtimes, and a brief description as articulated on the festival's official website.

Hopelessly in June:

"Even with the help of his buddies, Daleon has little success with women. But Cupid won't deny him for much longer. It's June, and ironically, he meets his flower, a beautiful, educated business woman. She's tired of games, and upon her parents' insistence, she tries dating again. After meeting Daleon, June finds out that love has mysterious ways. In spite of Daleon's series of errors and insecurities, he remains persistent. But there is one more step: it's time for their parents to meet. The Myers are bible toting Christians, and the Flowers are extremely liberal. Friction ensues as they introduce their parents at dinner. In spite of obvious conflicts, the parents get along, but Daleon and June's relationship does not weather the storm well."

September 21st. 9:00 p.m. Cinema du Parc.

Hearts Gamble:

"Hearts Gamble is an intimate, thought-provoking and humorous film depicting the friendship of four men as they question relationships, fidelity, and love. Cards are dealt, drinks are poured, secrets surface and conflicts arise."

September 26th. 9:00 p.m. Cinema du Parc.


"ALASKALAND tells the story of Chukwuma, an Alaskan-raised Nigerian struggling to balance the expectations of his traditional Nigerian parents and the larger world around him. After a tragic car crash, Chukwuma is separated from his younger sister, Chidinma, who moves to Nigeria with their uncle until she reaches legal age. Two years later, the siblings reconnect to find their estrangement has created new personal and cultural frictions in ways that bring them closer to each other and their roots, and that help them define what it means to be a Nigerian in Alaska."

September 28th. 9:00 p.m. Cinema du Parc.


"Daniel Stroop doesn't see colours. His passion for 1950s Film Noire always gave him the chance to escape his condition. Now an old school and cynical officer with the Montreal Police, he seems to come straight out of the movies. Everything changes for him one night, when he shoots a man after a racially-profiled arrest. A film full of contrast, without colour, and with dark humour."

September 21st. 7:00 p.m. Cinema du Parc.

Etre Soi-Meme:

"Three young Afro-Caribbean gays and lesbians living in Montreal explain how they had to face various preconceived ideas and stereotypes linked to homophobia and racism before they were able to assert themselves and their personalities."

September 25th. 5:00 p.m. Cinema du Parc.

Paving Forward:

"The film reflects on the road travelled for the recognition of LGBT rights in South Africa and how the ANC was involved; however, the film questions whether these rights are under threat because a current leader makes public homophobic statements. Are they taking us back to square one?"

September 24th. 7:00 p.m. Cinema du Parc.

Rouleur de Journaux:

"On a mystical island, a young marijuana dealer meets a mysterious girl one night and falls in love, but is drawn into a dark and irreversible story."

September 23rd. 7:00 p.m. Cinema du Parc.

Le Bonheur d'Elza:

"Bernadette, a single mother in Paris, tries to fulfill her daughters' needs. She is thrilled when her eldest daughter, Elza, is the first in the family to earn a master's degree summa cum laude. But Elza breaks her mother's heart by running away to their native Guadeloupe in search of a distant childhood memory: the father she barely remembers."

September 21st. 7:00 p.m. Cinema du Parc. September 28th. 7:00 p.m. Cinema du Parc.

From Zimbabwe to Santa Fe:

"Zimbabwean villagers, Matron, Gogo and Sindiso take us along for the ride when they set off to sell their baskets at the world's largest folk art market, held one weekend a year in Santa Fe, New Mexico. These unique and appealing heroines reach beyond their personal and cultural boundaries for a better life. Their creativity, persistence and humour in the face of the unexpected twists and turns, inspire us to rethink our own notions of sustainability, success and prosperity."

September 24th. 7:00 p.m. Cinema du Parc.

On the Wings of Men:

"A film about the first Prime Minister of the Bahamas and his fight against US foreign policy in the 1980s."

September 28th. 9:00 p.m. Cinema du Parc.

Le Chant de la Brousse:

"Every year, from May to November, hundreds of men go into the woods all over Quebec for "commercial brush cutting" work. But since the early 2000s, a small revolution is growing in our forests. 80% of new lumberjacks are from Africa. Their names are Mamadou, Asani or Drissa, and for six days a week, ten hours in the field, armed with a dangerous machine, they make their way through a field of obstacles. At the end of the road: lots of black flies and quite a bit more cash than at a factory, which lets them provide a better future for their children and families back in Africa. With the bonus of being proud of contributing to the development of Quebec's future."

September 23rd. 7:00 p.m. Cinema du Parc.

Otelo Burning:

"South Africa, 1988. Three Zulu Boys discover surfing as an escape from the harshness of apartheid. But as Mandela is freed, they discover that greed, jealousy and violence lurk beneath the surface of their newfound freedom."

September 23rd. 9:00 p.m. Cinema du Parc. September 28th. 7:00 p.m. Cinema du Parc.

Ballplayers: Pelotero:

"For 16-year-old Dominican baseball players, or Peloteros, the only real chance to escape crushing poverty comes every July 2nd, the day they become eligible to sign professional baseball contracts. Ballplayer: Pelotero provides an intimate portrait of two prospects as they navigate the calculating, mercenary and often corrupt elements that surround Major League Baseball's recruitment of the island's top talent."

September 22nd. 5:00 p.m. Cinema du Parc.

Strong Bones:

"The "beautiful game" hasn't gone unnoticed in the tiny rural town of Bungeni, Limpopo: even the grannies play. As dedicated footballers, Joyce and her teammates meet under a tree to practice because the chief of their village sold the soccer field - also used by the local school. The field is now being used as a car wash. Without access to a field, the team asks their mayor for help, and within a week the Tshitatshi field hosts to the epic clash between the Maindis and Mbokota grannies. By half-time the Maindis are up two nil!"

September 29th. 9:00 p.m. Cinema du Parc.

The Prince of Denmark:

"Themba started BMX when he was nine years old. Now eighteen, he has made it to the Elite Division, and has made the South African team at the world championships in Denmark in July 2011. Despite the challenges he faces, he keeps working hard so that he can one day provide for his family, especially his younger siblings."

September 29th. 9:00 p.m. Cinema du Parc.


"MacPherson is about the Depression-era friendship between young poet Felix Leclerc and Jamaican-born chemist Frank Randolph Macpherson - a bond that later inspired Leclerc's song about a black log driver. Part fiction, part documentary, MacPherson brings Leclerc's famous ditty to life in its sensitive evocation of the feelings between the Jamaican engineer and one of the poet's young sisters."

September 21st. 9:00 p.m. Cinema du Parc. September 29th. 7:00 p.m. Cinema du Parc.

Calypso Rose:

"Calypso Rose finds her roots in the twilight of her life. During a concert, Calypso Rose, the undisputed queen of Calypso in Trinidad and Tobago, nearly 70, reveals her extraordinary journey. Calypso Rose, imbued with the music of her island, shows how the story of her life and Calypso are intertwined. At the crossroad of cultures, music and generations, this slave's granddaughter shows us her universe, and in the twilight of her life, the strong will to uncover her roots: "Back to Africa.""

September 26th. 5:00 p.m. Cinema du Parc.

The Girls in the Band:

"They wiggled, they jiggled, they wore low-cut gowns and short shorts, they kow-towed to the club owners and smiled at the customer... and they did it all, just to play the music they loved. This film tells the poignant, untold stories of female jazz and big band instrumentalists and their fascinating, ground-breaking journeys from the late 30s to the present day. These incredibly talented women endured sexism, racism and diminished opportunities for decades, yet continued to persevere, inspire and elevate their talents in a field that seldom welcomed them. Today a new breed of gifted young women are taking their rightful place in the world of jazz which can no longer deny their talents." -The filmmakers. Starring Gerri Allen, Jessie Bailey, Carla Bley, Clora Bryant, Melba Liston and more than a dozen others.

September 22nd. 7:00 p.m. Cinema du Parc. September 25th. 9:00 p.m. Cinema du Parc.

Promotional image for the MIBFF by Jamel Ben Mahammed. Post-edited by yours truly.



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