Two prominent Barbadians to receive high honors for their contributions to cinema worldwide
Photo Credit: Menelik Shabazz and Cameron Bailey
Festivals , Film

Two prominent Barbadians to receive high honors for their contributions to cinema worldwide

Two Barbadians who have made their mark on global cinema will be honored at the 12th Annual CaribbeanTales Fest (CTFF2017), which celebrates the talents of established and emerging filmmakers of Caribbean heritage who practice their art across the Caribbean Diaspora worldwide – Canada and the Caribbean, Europe, the Americas, Africa, China, India and the Middle East.

Cameron Bailey, Artistic Director for the Toronto International Film Festival, and Menelik Shabazz, award winning film director, producer, writer and pioneer in the development of contemporary Black British cinema, will be celebrated in a special evening presented in partnership with the Consulate Office of Barbados in Toronto.

Menelik Shabazz and Cameron Bailey
Menelik Shabazz and Cameron Bailey

“We are proud to honor two sons of our soil who have excelled in their chosen career in film, and who through their achievements have brought the values of Barbados for all to see,” said Haynesley Benn, Consul General of Barbados in Toronto. “The Government and people of Barbados are extremely happy to contribute to this celebration with the audiences at the CaribbeanTales International Film Festival. We know both Cameron Bailey and Menelik Shabazz are building lasting film legacies. And they have also inspired filmmakers and film programmers in Barbados and across the Region.”

Menelik Shabazz has, for more than three decades, been telling stories through film. Born in St. John Barbados, he emigrated to Great Britain at the age of six. A celebrated artist, Shabazz is recognized as a pioneer of Black British and African cinema. His debut award winning feature film Burning an Illusion (1981) set a landmark as it was the first depiction of a black female lead character in British cinema. He has since produced work for ITV, BBC, Channel 4. This includes Catch a Fire (BBC) which won the Prized Pieces award at the USA National Black Programming Awards (1996). More recently, The Story of Lovers Rock (2011) was hailed in Britain as the highest grossing successful documentary of its year. As a film activist, producer and mentor to many, Shabazz founded published the Black Filmmakers Magazine, and created and ran the BFM International Film Festival for over ten years.

Cameron Bailey probably needs little introduction to those in the film industry across the globe. The son of Barbadian parents, he was born in London, England, and spent his childhood in Barbados before moving to Toronto with his family. He is an award-winning screenwriter, critic and film programmer. He is currently the Artistic Director of the Toronto International Film Festival (which is currently ongoing), widely acknowledged as the most important film festival in the world, where studios and production companies typically unveil their awards season titles.

As well as a Q&A with Cameron Bailey and Menelik Shabazz hosted by Lincoln Anthony Blades, the celebratory event’s audiences will be treated to three films that highlight Menelik’s life and work.

Featurette on Menelik Shabazz (World Premiere): a look at his legacy of filmmaking and his contributions in Barbados, the Caribbean Region and the United Kingdom.

Looking for Love (excerpt) (Canadian Premiere): a documentary that explores what it takes to look for love in a contemporary context.

HEAT (World Premiere): the World Premiere of an original series pilot, commissioned and produced by CaribbeanTales for FLOW. Race and passion clash in tropical Barbados when a wealthy white man kills his wife’s black lover and expects to get away with it. This sets in motion a day of reckoning with the dead man’s wife who has evidence to destroy his empire of lies.

After the screenings, there will be a special presentation: Cameron Bailey in conversation with Menelik Shabazz.

“I am humbled that the CaribbeanTales International Film Festival has chosen me to bless with this beautiful honour,” says Menelik Shabazz. “I am glad for the opportunity to meet Canadians who, like me, relish in cinema from the Caribbean. As I continue with my career, I will hold this honour as a highlight that I will always remember.”

The tribute will take place on Wednesday September 13, 2017 at 6:00 p.m. at the Royal Cinema located at 608 College Street in Toronto.


The 2017 Festival theme, Caribbean Legacy, validates the historical realities that nurture the diversity, imagination and originality of this year’s films.

CTFF is produced by CaribbeanTales Inc., a registered Canadian Charity that aims to connect people through film. The company’s mandate is to foster and encourage intercultural understanding and racial equality, through the creation, marketing and distribution of film programs, events and projects that reflect the diversity and creativity of Caribbean heritage culture.

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