Black Film Festival starts tonight with special guests Martin Luther King III and Pras Michel

Fabienne Colas, left, founder of the Montreal International Black Film Festival, speaks to journalists at the festival's press conference. (Don't let the empty seats fool you - the event was quite well attended, but many guests chose to sit at the back of the room. )
Fabienne Colas, left, founder of the Montreal International Black Film Festival, speaks to journalists at the festival’s press conference. (Don’t let the empty seats fool you – the event was quite well attended, but many guests chose to sit at the back of the room. )

The Montreal International Black Film Festival starts tonight, Tuesday, Sept. 29, 2015 and runs until Sunday, Oct. 4.

The films include features, shorts and medium-length works, from Canada, Benin, Brazil, Bahamas, Colombia, Cuba, Dominican Republic, France, Germany, Guadeloupe, Haiti, Mali, South Africa, Senegal, Spain, Swaziland, Trinidad and Tobago, the U.S., the U.K., and Zambia.

There are dramas, documentaries, and animation, including Battledream Chronicle, the first feature-length animated film from Martinique.

In addition to the fims, there will be panel discussions, a film market and dance parties.

Guests include Martin Luther King III, musician Pras Michel, filmmakers Paul Haggis and David Belle (who will be honoured on Friday Oct. 2, 2015), filmmakers Souleymane Cissé, Moussa Touré, Abderahmane Sissako, and Pierre Magny (who will take part in a panel discussion on North-South collaboration on Saturday, Oct. 3, 2015.)

Graduates of the Ciné Institue, in Jacmel, Haiti, will present their films on Friday, Oct. 2, 2015.

Tuesday’s opening film is the documentary Sweet Micky For President, in which Pras Michel of The Fugees travels to Haiti to help the presidential campaign of musician Michel Martelly, (aka Sweet Micky). Martin Luther King III will be given a 2015 Humanitarian Award before the film screening. These events take place at the Imperial Cinema.

The closing film, on Sunday Oct. 4, is Black Panthers: The Vanguard of the Revolution, in the Hall Theatre of Concordia University. Other films will be shown at Concordia’s DB Clarke Theatre, Cineplex Quartier Latin, and the former National Film Board cinema on St. Denis St.

Admission to the opening film is $25, the closing film costs $20, and others are $10. Several packages are available as well. Check the Montreal International Black Film Festival web site, www.montrealblackfilm.com/ for further pricing details, the film schedule, film synopses and trailers.
The Montreal International Black Film Festival has a Facebook page, too.

Montreal International Animated Film Festival – lots to see in four days

108 Demon Kings is based on the classic Chinese novel The Water Margin.
108 Demon Kings is based on the classic Chinese novel The Water Margin.

Montreal has dozens of film festivals, but it seems that there’s always room to squeeze in another one.

The Montreal International Animation Film Festival starts tonight, Thursday, April 16 and will run until Sunday, April 19, 2015. The festival will include animated features, shorts, panel discussions, a masterclass, a market AND time for partying.

The screenings and discussions will take place at the downtown campus of Concordia University; the partying will be at Restaurant Rosalie, a short walk away at 1232 de la Montagne.

The films come from Australia, Brazil, Bulgaria, Canada, China, Colombia, France, Germany, Hungary, India, Iran, Israel, Japan, Luxembourg, Poland, Portugal, Romania, Singapore, Slovenia, South Africa, South Korea, Switzerland, Taiwan, Turkey and the U.S.

Local animators taking part include Gerald Potterton, Co Hoedeman and Steven Woloshen.
The opening night film is described this way on the MIAFF web site: “The Land of the Magic Flute is a captivating browser-experience produced by the Interactive Media Foundation in Berlin. . . .sound-artist Philippe Lambert will be performing an intuitive and impressionistic rendition of his soundtrack composition. Playing with elements of Mozart’s original composition recorded by the Vienna Symphonic Orchestra, Lambert creates a soundscape that takes the opera into new spheres.”

Descriptions of some of the other feature films on the program are below.
108 Demon Kings is set in12th century China and based on the classic novel The Water Margin. It’s directed by Pascal Morelli who also directed Corto Maltese, which was a popular selection at the Fantasia Film Festival several years ago.

108 Demon Kings is set in 12th century China and based on the classic novel The Water Margin.
108 Demon Kings is set in 12th century China and based on the classic novel The Water Margin.

Aunt Hilda! (Tante Hilda!) is the botanist heroine of an ecological fable from France/Luxembourg that has genetically-modified organisms running rampant over the planet.

Giant plants run amok in Aunt Hilda!
Giant plants run amok in Aunt Hilda!

Hungarian film Manieggs: Revenge of The Hard Egg is about a guy who’s seeking revenge after spending two weeks in prison for a crime he didn’t commit. All the characters are said to be eggs, though they also remind me of Minions and mini-Lego characters, too. The film looks like bizarre fun, at any rate.

Manieggs: Revenge of The Hard Egg.
Manieggs: Revenge of The Hard Egg.

According to its trailer, Anima Buenos Aires is “full of art, magic and humour.” Tango music, too.

On Friday afternoon there will be a screening of Gerald Potterton’s Heavy Metal (1981). The six episodes within the film feature an evil green orb, swords and sorcery, sci-fi, stoners, zombies, and giant breasts, with music from Black Sabbath, Blue Oyster Cult, Cheap Trick, Devo, Donald Fagen, DonFelder, Grand Funk Railroad, Journey, Nazareh, Sammy Hagar, and Stevie Nicks, and voice work provided by SCTV guys John Candy, Eugene Levy, Al Flaherty, Harold Ramis, Al Waxman, John Vernon, and former Lovin’ Spoonful member Zal Yanovsky.

There are several short film programs arranged by theme: Death & Horror, Emerging Cinema, ExPeRimEnTal, He(art), I Have an Issue, Offspring Kid Program and La femme.

“Best of Ottawa” has nine shorts “Recommended For Mature Audiences Only” from the Ottawa International Animation Festival, “Best of Annecy”  has eight shorts from the famous festival in France, while “Best of Kanata” is a selection of 12 films by Canadian Aboriginal filmmakers.
Visit the website lemiaff.com for prices and more information.

MIAFF schedule 1024