After landing Spike Lee as a guest for last year’s edition, The Montreal International Black Film Festival had nowhere to go but up, and this year’s slate of screenings and guests is perhaps the strongest in the festival’s 11-year history.
Running from Tuesday, September 29 through Sunday, October 4, the festival will showcase over 60 features and shorts from around the world, and welcome guests including Pras Michel of The Fugees, Martin Luther King III and filmmaker Paul Haggis.
Below are a handful of recommendations for this year’s edition. For tickets and more information, visit montrealblackfilm.com.
Sweet Micky for President
After a massive earthquake rocked Haiti in 2010, Pras Michel of the Fugees returned to his homeland to lend his support to presidential hopeful and local musician Michel Martelly (aka Sweet Micky). Navigating the corrupt governmental waters of Haiti’s political system is challenging enough, but things get even stickier when Pras’ ex-bandmate Wyclef Jean also throws his hat into the presidential race. The screening features a Q&A with Pras, as well as a tribute to Martin Luther King III, who will also be in attendance. September 29 at Cinéma Impérial (1432 Bleury), 7:00 pm, $25.
3 1/2 Minutes, Ten Bullets
The implications of America’s controversial “Stand Your Ground” self-defence law are examined in this eye-opening documentary on the shooting of 17-year old Jordan Davis in Jacksonville, Florida on 2012’s Black Friday. Friday, October 2, Former NFB Cinema (1564 Saint-Denis), 9:00 pm, $10.
Dennis Rodman’s Big Bang in Pyongyang
Re-live Denis Rodman’s perplexing journey to North Korea in 2014 to participate in a basketball game for his “friend” Kim Jong-un, the supreme leader of the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea. Was Rodman’s trip an act of diplomacy, or was he simply catering to the unmitigated ego of a tyrant? Hopefully the film sheds some light on one of the strangest international media stunts ever. Saturday, October 3, Quartier Latin (350 Emery), 5:00 pm, $10.
The Black Panthers: Vanguard of the Revolution
The festival’s closing film is director Stanley Nelson’s documentary on the Black Panther Party, which is somehow the first feature film to tackle the subject. Featuring new interviews with members of the party, along with members of the FBI, informants and journalists, the film showcases the violence and prejudice that led to the formation of the party, and the unprecedented (and often tragic) law enforcement response. With the current Black Lives Matter movement, there is no better time to examine the influence and ramifications of this pivotal moment in history. Sunday, October 4, Concordia Hall Theatre (1455 Maisonneuve Ouest), 7:00 pm, $20.