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Curtain opens on Canada's largest Black film festival in Montreal

Canada's largest Black film festival kicks off Wednesday night at Imperial Cinema.

The Montreal International Black Film Festival (MIBFF) features North American premieres and an Oscar contender.

The festival has been amplifying Black voices for 19 years.

"Black filmmakers, Black producers, they own their story, they tell their own stories from their perspective, which makes it authentic," said Fabienne Colas, MIBFF founder.

One of the films, The Space Race, revisits the history of the first Black astronauts through archives and interviews.

"That was during a time that was so difficult. It was during the great segregation in the South in the United States. And can you believe while they were in the NASA program, while they were astronauts, they could not even go to the same restroom as White people?" said Colas.

Other notable titles include Invisible Beauty, which delves into the life of Bethann Hardison, a Black model and activist whose influence is still felt today. And Goodbye Julia, a Sudanese film that won several awards at the Cannes Film Festival and is Sudan's selection for best international film at the Academy Awards.

The MIBFF also nurtures the next generation of artists by helping them create and screen their first film.

Yet, even though the festival has grown exponentially in 19 years, funding has not, says Colas.

The founder says too much time is spent chasing grants rather than making movies and hopes that changes.

The Montreal International Black Film Festival runs at eight theatres until Sunday. Top Stories

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