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Toronto Black Film Festival celebrates 10th year with stellar lineup

Click to play video: 'New documentary explores Blackness, Queer identity and religion' New documentary explores Blackness, Queer identity and religion
Toronto filmmaker Sharon Lewis discusses her new documentary ‘With Wonder.’ The film showcases artists trying to reconcile their religious beliefs with their Queer identities. She speaks with Liem Vu about the upcoming doc – Feb 15, 2022

The Toronto Black Film Festival (TBFF) launches its 2022 edition Wednesday, celebrating its 10th anniversary and Black History Month with a stellar lineup of Canadian talent and internationally acclaimed films and music.

For the second year in a row, the festival is being offered entirely online, allowing for comfy couch screenings at one’s leisure.

The festival, which runs from Feb. 16 to 21, is host to 18 world premieres, 28 international premieres and 60 Canadian premieres.

Keke Palmer and Common’s Alice kicks off the festival on Wednesday evening, following an acclaimed debut at the Sundance Film Festival.

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Alice is the story of an enslaved woman in the antebellum South who escapes her hidden plantation, only to realize she’s not living in the 1800s – rather it’s 1973. Based on a true story, the main character becomes hellbent on exposing the plantation’s secret and freeing her family.

The film festival closes on Feb. 21 with Paul Tom’s documentary Alone – a film that follows three unaccompanied minors as they leave their home countries for a chance to have a better life in Canada.

This year’s event has been dedicated to the late actor Sidney Poitier, and his achievements and contributions to the entertainment industry will be celebrated throughout the festival.

Ticketholders not only receive access to all screenings, but also have the opportunity to check out bonus events like the Black Market – a series of free panel discussions with industry professionals, who will discuss today’s most critical filmmaking and social issues.

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Family Day, Feb. 21, will see the return of the TBFF Kids Festival, with activities for the family, including dance workshops, craft tutorials, storybook readings and kid-friendly yoga.

The festival will also have a Live Performance Series, with Black artists and musicians showcasing their talents on Facebook Live.

Thirty-five of Canada’s up-and-coming Black filmmakers from Canada’s largest cities will also screen the short films they’ve created while working with the Fabienne Colas Foundation’s Being Black in Canada program.

The Toronto Black Film Festival (TBFF) was created in 2013 by the Fabienne Colas Foundation, a not-for-profit that works to promote film, art and culture in Canada.

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Last week, the Fabienne Colas Foundation announced the launch of the Festwave Institute to support underserved Black talent, in addition to its mentorship and film festival programs. It’s funded in part by Ottawa’s Ecosystem Fund, which launched in 2020 to strengthen Black entrepreneurship in various sectors.

The foundation has also created Black film festivals in Montreal and Halifax, as well as the Fade to Black Festival and the Quebecois Film Festival in Haiti.

The Toronto Black Film Festival runs from Feb. 16 to 21. Tickets and schedules can be found online.

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