The 15th annual Montreal International Black Film Festival (MIBFF) promises to again entertain, but most importantly to inspire through thought-provoking films. Held this year from September 24 to 29, moviegoers will get the chance to watch 90 uncut, quality films from 25 countries.

MIBFF will open Tuesday, Sept. 24 with the long awaited biopic Harriet, which tells the extraordinary story of Harriet Tubman’s escape from slavery and transformation into one of America’s greatest heroes. Her courage, ingenuity, and tenacity freed hundreds of slaves and helped change the course of history. The film, directed by Kasi Lemmons and starring Tony-winning Broadway actor Cynthia Erivo, will be a Quebec Premiere following its world premiere at TIFF, and will hit theatres across Canada on November 1.

On Thursday, Sept. 26, the festival will pay tribute to Yusef Salaam and Kevin Richardson of the Central Park Five, whose story was told in Ava Duvernay’s Emmy Award nominated Netflix series, When They See Us. On April 19, 1989, a young woman was brutally raped and left for dead in New York City’s Central Park. Five boys of colour were tried and convicted of the crime in a frenzied case that rocked the city. Their convictions were vacated in 2002 after spending between 7 and 13 years of their lives behind bars. The convictions were eventually overturned and they were exonerated.

The event will be moderated by Fabienne Colas, President and Founder of the MIBFF, whose mission is to give minorities a voice on and off screen and to shine the spotlight on diversity within the industry.

“We created this festival in 2005 in order to showcase filmmakers who otherwise wouldn’t be seen or heard in Montreal,” stated Colas. “By giving a voice to the marginalized and showing films that shatter taboos, our festival’s aim is to promote professional collaboration and foster the development of independent film.”

This year the festival will also pay tribute to César-winning director Euzhan Palcy; César-winning actor Isaach De Bankolé; Iconic Quebec filmmaker Jean-Claude Lord; and Haitian-American Hollywood star Jimmy Jean-Louis.

For full descriptions and tickets, visit www.MontrealBlackFilm.com

— Anthony Bonaparte

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