Danielle La Valle
Diverse stories from around the world will be featured at the second annual Toronto Black Film Festival.
At a Jan. 21 press conference at the Carlton Cinema, which will host the majority of films during the Feb. 11-16 run of the festival, founder and director Fabienne Colas announced the lineup of films.
The festival coincides with Black History Month and also honours the late Nelson Mandela. It also marks several important anniversaries, including the fifth anniversary of Obama’s presidency and the 20th anniversary of the end of apartheid.
Tristan Laughton, founder and editor of Scenecreek.com, an online film magazine, said even in the past three years since he started the website, diversity on Canadian screens has improved.
“We definitely do a better job than Hollywood, we take more chances, we take more risks,” Laughton said.
“If you’re a black actor in Hollywood, they really do put you in a box,” he said.
His background is in graphic design and computer programming but a passion for film inspired Laughton to start Scenecreek.com.
“I wanted to provide an outlet for Canadian content, since there weren’t really a lot of blogs out there, and represent Canadian cinema since I feel it’s important that we go out and support our own films,” he said.
Laughton is looking forward to watching Blue Caprice, a dramatization of the events during the 2002 Beltway sniper killings in Washington D.C., at this year’s TBFF.
Humber supports the next generation of filmmakers with the diverse student body that makes up the Film and Television Production program.
Michael Glassboug, coordinator of the program, said he always tries to encourage students not to tell Hollywood stories but to tell their own stories because those are always the most interesting. Over the years he has seen the diversity of Film and Television students increase.
“It’s absolutely improved. I mean just look at our student body – and I’m not talking about Humber in general – I’m talking about film and television production,” Glassbourg said.
“When I first started teaching here 23 years ago I think there was one person of colour and there may have been two or three visible minorities, and now I would say a good 10 to 20 per cent of our student body are visible minorities,” he said.
Adedoyin “Dosh” Osholowu, president of the Humber African Caribbean Association, believes events like TBFF help to promote diversity on Canadian screens.
“Especially in the Black community, obviously it gives a platform for them since it’s kind of hard for those movies to get (Toronto International Film Festival) support,” Osholowu said.