Toronto Black Film Festival unveils line-up

TORONTO – The inaugural Toronto Black Film Festival (TBFF) will open Feb. 13 with the first film ever submitted by Kenya for Oscar consideration.  

Nairobi Half Life, a drama about an aspiring actor whose life takes an unexpected turn when he moves to the big city, will be presented at the TIFF Bell Lightbox.

The line-up for the TBFF, running Feb. 13 to 17, was announced Tuesday morning at the Carlton Cinemas by programming director Emile Castonguay.

The festival is an off-shoot of the Montreal Black Film Festival, which was founded in 2005 and last year screened 115 films from more than 40 countries.

Founder Fabienne Colas, referring to this year’s 50th anniversary of Martin Luther King Jr.’s famous “I Have A Dream” speech, said this was the ideal time to bring the festival to Toronto.

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The closing night film, Last Flight to Abuja, tells the true story of a group of travelers on the final Flamingo Airways flight from Lagos to Abuja in 2006. It will screen Feb. 17 at the Royal Cinema.

Feature films scheduled to be part of the TBFF include France’s Case Depart (Back to Square One), Kenya’s Inside Story, Denmark’s Lost in Africa, the Netherlands’ Sonny Boy, and South Africa’s Lucky and Otelo Burning.

Canada is represented by Martin Laroche’s Maneges Humains and Kim Nguyen’s Rebelle (War Witch), which is nominated for Best Foreign Language Film at this year’s Academy Awards.

Two documentary features from the U.S. will also be screened: Charles Bradley: Soul of America and Slavery by Another Name.

The TBFF schedule includes short films Of Mary (England), Not Like the Commercials (U.S.) and Umkhungo (South Africa).

Passes and individual tickets are available at the TIFF Bell Light Box and Carlton Cinema or online at

The Toronto Black Film Festival is presented by Global Toronto.