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Sports Brownstein: 17th Montreal Black film festival opens with a wallop

01:55  22 september  2021
01:55  22 september  2021 Source:   montrealgazette.com

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17 th Montreal International Black Film Festival Kicks Off With the Quebec Premiere of Glenn Kaino & Afshin Shahidi’s WITH DRAWN ARMS Tuesday September 22, 2021 – 7pm – Imperial TheatreThe 17 th Montreal International Black Film Festival (MIBFF) The Fabienne Colas Foundation’s Being Black in Canada program – Canada’s largest incubator dedicated to Black Filmmakers - is thrilled to be back with a call for applications for its 2021 edition. Thanks to the support of Netflix, the National Bank

The 15th edition of the Montreal International Black Film Festival kicks off Tuesday with a screening of the biopic Harriet, focusing on pioneering escaped slave, abolitionist and political activist Harriet Tubman. Canada’s biggest black film festival will showcase 90 movies from 25 countries until it wraps Sunday, but one of its most anticipated events doesn’t entail a screening, but rather a Thursday discussion moderated by MIBFF founder and president Fabienne Colas with two members of the Central Park Five, Kevin Richardson and Yusef Salaam.

It is said that a single image can help move the world forward. And one of the most iconic images over the last six decades did just that.

a person standing on a beach: American Olympian Tommie Smith recreates his memorable clenched fist on the podium after winning gold at the '68 Mexico games. The image is from the documentary With Drawn Arms, being presented Wednesday at the Montreal International Black Film festival. © Provided by The Gazette American Olympian Tommie Smith recreates his memorable clenched fist on the podium after winning gold at the '68 Mexico games. The image is from the documentary With Drawn Arms, being presented Wednesday at the Montreal International Black Film festival.

It was a shot of U.S. Olympic sprinters Tommie Smith and John Carlos with clenched, gloved fists raised over their heads on the podium at the 1968 Mexico City Olympics. Smith had just won gold and Carlos, bronze. But it was their gestures, not their medals, that triggered worldwide attention, putting the world on notice with their stance on racial inequality.

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Montreal Black Film Festival . Thanks to everyone who helped make #MIBFF20 - our first totally virtual festival - a resounding success! montrealblackfilm.com/en. Black Market 201.

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Smith’s harrowing ordeals following the Olympics are the focus of the documentary With Arms Drawn, which kicks off the 17th Montreal International Black Film Festival (MIBFF), Wednesday at 7 p.m. at the Imperial theatre. It is a staggering yet ultimately uplifting story about the price Smith paid to make a difference.

The documentary, co-directed by artist Glenn Kaino, includes conversations with late U.S. politician/civil-rights advocate John Lewis and ex-San Francisco 49ers quarterback Colin Kaepernick, both of whom endured more than their share of prejudice and could relate to the hell Smith underwent.

“Those were the days and times we lived through, and, sadly, we’re still living through them now,” says Smith in a phone interview. “We were two young guys trying to help the world understand, but psychologically and mentally we had to go further than we ever had to go on the track. We had no other choice. But this wasn’t about violence. It was about peace.”

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Montreal Black Film Festival . 9,094 likes · 21 talking about this. We bring you the best in new & independent black from around the Sections of this page. Accessibility Help. Press alt + / to open this menu. Facebook. Email or Phone. See more of Montreal Black Film Festival on Facebook.

The Montreal Black Film Festival opens with the film The Cuban, starring legendary Oscar winner Louis Gossett Jr. The film ’s director Sergio Navarretta joins Global’s Kim Sullivan.

a man standing on a stage:  In this Oct. 16, 1968, file photo, Australian silver medalist Peter Norman, left, stands on the podium as Americans Tommie Smith, centre, and John Carlos raise their gloved fists in a human rights protest during the American national anthem. (AP Photo, File) In this Oct. 16, 1968, file photo, Australian silver medalist Peter Norman, left, stands on the podium as Americans Tommie Smith, centre, and John Carlos raise their gloved fists in a human rights protest during the American national anthem. (AP Photo, File)

Smith was targeted with much hate from certain quarters for his actions. He was largely shunned on his return from Mexico City. The best he could do on the job front for a period was washing cars.

“The world is doing a little better, but we still have so many steps to go through today, even if those steps sometimes lead us into a hole. Back in my athletic days, I knew that something was going on, but I really didn’t know what to do about it. I had just been taught to run track and to keep my grades up so I could run track. And then one day it just hit me: ‘Why am I doing this? Where is this going to lead me?’

“Then it dawned on me that even in the athletic world, we have more to say and do than just changing spikes, bouncing balls or throwing things. We have to use another part of our body, our frontal lobes, to think about our lives and to think about where we’re going.”

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17 th Montreal International Black Film Festival Kicks Off With the Quebec Premiere of Glenn Kaino & Afshin Shahidi’s WITH DRAWN ARMS Tuesday September 22, 2021 – 7pm – Imperial TheatreThe 17 th Montreal International Black Film Festival (MIBFF) The Fabienne Colas Foundation’s Being Black in Canada program – Canada’s largest incubator dedicated to Black Filmmakers - is thrilled to be back with a call for applications for its 2021 edition. Thanks to the support of Netflix, the National Bank

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Smith, 77, is still very active, mostly on the academic front, where he is teaching young students on race relations.

“But I’m still on the track, too, although the ground doesn’t move nearly as fast under me now.”

Credit for landing With Arms Drawn here goes in part to Joyce Fuerza, the MIBFF’s head programmer.

“Our mission has always been to bring diversity on screen, to bring awareness to social and political events happening in Black communities around the world,” Fuerza says. “This is from an event that happened in 1968, and yet we can still feel that same tension happening today from a racial inequality point of view.

“Look at the backlash that Colin Kaepernick had to deal just for taking a knee during the national anthem. It ended his career. This is what basically happened to Tommie so many years ago. We’re still fighting to have our voices heard.”

Omar Sy wearing a suit and tie:  Omar Sy is being honured at the Montreal International Black Film Festival.Photo credit: Naj Jamai Omar Sy is being honured at the Montreal International Black Film Festival.Photo credit: Naj Jamai

This year’s MIBFF, running until Oct. 3 both online and at several city cinemas, features 134 films from 30 countries, including 17 world premières. The principal focus will be on the Francophonie, and one of the French world’s biggest stars, Omar Sy, will be presented — online — with the MIBFF’s 2021 Career Achievement Award. Sy, star of the addictive Netflix series Lupin, will also be featured in an online conversation with festival president and founder Fabienne Colas. Plus, he can be caught at the fest in the family film Le prince oublié.

Also being honoured and in conversation with Colas will be Haitian-Canadian artist and filmmaker Martine Chartrand and Guadeloupean/French activist and actress Firmine Richard.

In years past, the fest has attracted the likes of Spike Lee and Danny Glover, but it has also drawn luminaries from far outside the Hollywood realm.

Adds Fuerza: “Not to take away from the Hollywood scene, but there are many other talents out there, and we’re trying to put a spotlight on Black voices from all over the world.”

bbrownstein@postmedia.com

Twitter.com/billbrownstein

AT A GLANCE:

The Montreal International Black Film Festival runs online and at several city theatres until Oct. 3. For information on programming, passes and prices, go to MontrealBlackFilm.com

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