Spike Lee, Clement Virgo, Maya Angelou, Black Lives Matter Headline 12th Montreal International Black Film Festival
Photo Credit: S & A

Spike Lee, Clement Virgo, Maya Angelou, Black Lives Matter Headline 12th Montreal International Black Film Festival


The Montreal International Black Film Festival (MIBFF) will be held from September 28 to October 2, 2016, and features 40 films from around the globe, most of which will be shown in the Cinéma Impérial, Cinéma du Parc, the former ONF cinema, and the Concordia University Theatre Hall. Created by the Fabienne Colas Foundation, the biggest black film festival in Canada is back for a 12th edition, which promises to be inspiring and breathtaking, starting with the return of Spike Lee, who won the MIBFF Precursor Award in 2014.

Lee is back at the Montreal International Black Film Festival this year to pay tribute to the King of Pop. The documentary “Michael Jackson’s Journey from Motown to Off the Wall” will be a premiere in Canada and a Q&A session will follow: an unmissable opportunity for film-lovers and fans of Spike Lee and Michael Jackson. This “Special Evening with Spike Lee” on Saturday 1st October at 7:00 p.m. at the Concordia University Theatre Hall, will give fans the chance to spend a whole evening with the filmmaker, who has helped to revolutionize contemporary black cinema.

“We are delighted and honoured to have Spike Lee back at the Festival, which is a testament to his great support for the MIBFF – another huge achievement for Montreal. Spike Lee is a pioneer and a source of inspiration and motivation for a whole generation. His commitment to independent cinema, his strength, determination, and activism in achieving social justice really make a difference in a world that, too often, tends to silence us.” – Fabienne Colas, president and founder of the MIBFF.

Also, author, composer, singer, and actor Manuel Tadros, who has enjoyed a 40-year career in Quebec, and singer Valérie Daure, who performed magically on the La Voix series and dabbles in comedy, are the spokespeople for this 12th edition of the festival. Monique Jérôme-Forget, former Quebec finance minister and currently serving as special advisor in Osler, president of the Board of Directors of the McCord Museum, and honorary member of the Board of Directors of the Fabienne Colas Foundation, is the festival’s honorary president.

The objective of the Montreal International Black Film Festival has always been to promote diversity and give minorities a voice by opening our eyes to certain realities in the world through the 7th art.

“Today, more than ever, we want to challenge the many inconsistencies, inequalities, and injustices that still claim many victims,” explained Mrs. Fabienne Colas, president of the festival. “The fact remains that not everyone has access to opportunities. We cannot pretend everything is okay. Everyone has a part to play if we want things to change.”

“Speak up” / “Exprime-toi” is the underlying theme for this new edition. Through the films selected, special events, round tables, and guests of honor, the 2016 program has attempted to showcase a story, a person, or a movement that is not afraid to be heard, has been able to overcome conventions, and has not been afraid to make demands and change the state of affairs. The official poster of the 12th MIBFF (image above), an original work of art by Sandro França, is a reflection of this.

Included in this year’s lineup is “Maya Angelou and Still I Rise,” “Le Gang des Antillais,” “Walk All Night: A Drumbeat Journey,” “Lambadina,” “Bois d’Ébène,” “Agents of Change,” “Dirt and Deeds in Mississippi,” “Black,” “Michael Jackson’s Journey from Motown to Off the Wall” (with Spike Lee), “Southside with You,” “Dieu Merci,” and “Stay Woke: The Black Lives Matter Movement,” which will be followed by a round table with distinguished guests to discuss a movement that affects us all.

Also included is a Black Fem’Art exhibition that highlights black femininity through the work of ten young female artists from Montreal.

The rest of the story from the press release below:


By Bob Hercules and Rita Coburn Whack

Official selection at the 2016 Sundance Film Festival

Wednesday 28th September – 7:00 p.m. – Cinéma Impérial | $25

Maya Angelou and Still I Rise will kick off this year’s edition as a premiere in Quebec. The opening of the festival will be dedicated to Maya Angelou, a Pulitzer-nominated writer, poet, and artist who has received a medal from Barack Obama—a symbol of the struggle for civic rights in the United States. The documentary explores how historical, cultural, and artistic events have shaped Dr. Maya Angelou’s journey and how she, in turn, has shaped our view of the world through her tales and activism. There will be a tribute to Canadian director Clement Virgo before the screening.


Wednesday 28th September – 7:00 p.m. – Cinéma Impérial

The opening evening will pay tribute to CLEMENT VIRGO, one of the most highly acclaimed directors in Canada. Best known for directing the Canadian mini-series The Book of Negroes – broadcast on CBC – which has won 11 Canadian Screen Awards, Clement Virgo also directed the entire first season of the OWN network drama Greenleaf (2016), for which he is the executive producer alongside Oprah Winfrey. He will receive the 2016 MIBFF Career Excellence Award in recognition of his stunning, prolific career. The tribute will be followed by the film Maya Angelou and Still I Rise.


By Adil El Arbi and Bilall Fallah

Winner of the Dropbox Discovery Programme Filmmakers Award at TIFF 2015

Sunday 2nd October – 7:00 p.m. – Theatre Hall Concordia | $20

Black is an immensely rich film. Love, betrayal, friendship, violence, immigration, and uprooting are just some of the topics that this film, which will round off the 2016 MIBFF, is built around. Two gangs from the suburbs of Brussels, the Black Bronx and the 1080, are engaged in a merciless conflict. Mavela falls in love in Marwan, a rival gang member. The two lovers become entangled in an intense, forbidden, and dangerous passion.


Saturday 1st October – 1:00 p.m. – Former ONF cinema | $10

The MIBFF Black Market is back with a master class/workshop that you won’t want to miss if you want to succeed in the film industry. Established filmmakers from Canada and abroad will come to share their experiences in film creation, financing, production and distribution, and in the festival circuit.


Sunday 2nd October – 1:00 p.m. – Former ONF cinema | $10

This year, we want to place particular emphasis on a movement that affects us all: The Black Lives Matter Movement. For the first time, a round table will be held to discuss this movement after the documentary directed by Laurens Grant, winner of several Emmy Awards, and produced by Jesse Williams Stay Woke: The Black Lives Matter Movement. Through the experiences of activists and local celebrities, a parallel will be drawn between the situations in the USA and Canada on issues such as racism, racial profiling, diversity, and the representation of visible minorities.


23rd September – 1st October 2016 from 10:00 a.m. to 6:00 p.m. – Espace Mushagalusa | Free

The BLACK FEM’Art exhibition highlights work by 10 young, black women from Montreal during the 12th edition of the Montreal International Black Film Festival (MIBFF). The festival wishes to showcase these multitalented young artists to the public and increase their visibility with the aim of promoting artistic diversity in Montreal and supporting these artists in their work. With each artist bearing her own personality, background, and style, visitors will be treated to a delightful panel of “made in Montreal” creations and forms of expression.


Feature-length films, fictions: Kristian Hodko, actor and scriptwriter; Marie-Évelyne Lessard, actress; Michael Challenger, actor, dancer, founder of Anu Productions

Feature-length films, documentaries: Honey A. Dresher, president of Culture. Diversity. Communications; Carel Pedre, producer, radio, and television host; Jérôme Pruneau, doctor of social and cultural anthropology (ethnology), director general of Diversité artistique Montréal (DAM)

Medium-length and short films: Phyllis Gooden, actress; Caesey Shakes, scriptwriter and director; Jhonattan Ardila, actor and director



VIP Card Total Access: VIP Package – See details on website: $195

Passport Card Access to all films: Cinéma du Parc + former ONF cinema: $95


Regular film ticket – $10 | Opening evening – $25 | Closing evening – $20

Special events – $15-$35 | After Party–$15


Cinéma Impérial: Centre Sandra and Leo Kolber: 1430, rue de Bleury, Montréal

Old ONF cinema (Judith-Jasmin Annexe): 1564, rue St-Denis

Concordia University, Theatre Hall 1455, boul. de Maisonneuve O., Montréal

Cinéma du Parc 3575, av. du Parc, Montréal

Galerie Mushagalusa 533, rue Ontario E., Montréal

The 12th Montreal International Black Film Festival (MIBFF), the brainchild of the Fabienne Colas Foundation, will be held from 28th September to 2nd October 2016.

Visit www.montrealblackfilm.com for more information and to buy tickets to this year’s events.

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