To commemorate its 10 year anniversary, COMMFFEST ups the ante by screening over 80+ local, national and international films, and for the first time expanding into a full-on multi-disciplinary celebration of the arts.
“The worlds of visual art, music, dance or film are all inextricably linked,” says festival founder and CEO Sandie de Freitas. “To set ourselves apart from other film festivals whose sole focus is film, we’ve made a committed effort to reflect this multi-disciplinary synergy not just by presenting other art forms but by reflecting various artistic disciplines in the films themselves.”
The 10th Annual COMMFFEST Global Community Film and Arts Festival kicks off with a World Music night (Sept. 25, St. Lawrence Centre for the Arts) featuring Canada’s most accomplished reggae band, multiple Juno Award-winning Messenjah debuting songs from their forthcoming new album We’ve Had It. Legendary Soul/R&B music iconoclasts Crack of Dawn – the first black music band ever to be signed to a major recording contract in Canada – also join the bill for this one night only affair.
COMMFFEST’s International Art Exhibit showcases the works of 20 international visual artists and launches alongside World Music Night inside the St. Lawrence Centre for the Arts, with select pieces of artwork from this exhibit being displayed in the Metro Hall rotunda (55 John Street) throughout the duration of the festival.
COMMFFEST’s film line-up includes selections from across Canada and many countries across the map including Spain, Brazil, Taiwan, Australia, France, Belgium, USA, India, Russia, Trinidad & Tobago and Italy among others. Also, for the first time, COMMFFEST will be screening films across various PAL (Performing Arts Lodge) chapter locations. This move comes as a natural extension of the festivals roots launching in 2005 as the PAL Place Film Festival inside one of Canada’s long running arts organizations and housing community for artists.
This years’ Signature film screening is the World Premiere of Forgotten by Toronto-based director Elaine McGrath. What began with a fire at 295 George Street in Toronto became the catalyst for this documentary about the forgotten history of over 100,000 children who came to Canada as indentured farm labour and domestics.
Other film program highlights include:
P.S. I Can't Breathe:
A landmark protest sparks a revolution where people are demanding justice in the Eric Garner, Michael Brown, Akai Gurley, and many other cases where excessive police force, hostility, and brutality led to death of unarmed black men. This uncensored glimpse inside December's Million March NYC imparts raw interviews and footage to deliver a realistic perspective of why the marchers passionately became involved and the rise of the #BlackLivesMatter hash-tag. Screening followed by a panel discussion with George Brown College committee’s “Black Lives Matter” representatives.
Wheels of Soul:
Wheels of Soul is the only racially mixed 1% outlaw motorcycle club in the world, and the predominantly black bikers club must contend with not only the social stereotyping against bikers in the “civilian” world, but with the racial bias in the violent world of outlaw bikers. This documentary allows the audience a voyeuristic peek into the lives of these private men and their families. The members speak frankly on racism, the history of the club, the biker lifestyle and day-to-day struggle on the mean streets of Philadelphia.
When Voices Meet: One Divided Country; One United Choir:
A powerful documentary about how when the late Nelson Mandela was finally released from prison, South African musician and music therapist Sharon Katz joined with singer/educator Nonhlanhla Wanda to form a 500 member multiracial choir comprised of Black and White youth that would break through Apartheid’s barriers, despite bomb threats and fear. South African singers from the film will be in attendance for a panel discussion and performing on the World Music Night bill.
COMMFFEST’s Closing Night film Archie Alleyne: Jazz Talking Blues honours the late legendary drummer who’s played with Billie Holliday, Lester Young, Coleman Hawkins and Stan Getz, and whose entrepreneurship, philanthropy and musical mentorship touched the lives of hundreds throughout Toronto.
In addition to the festival’s film screenings, music concert night, art exhibit, panel discussions and workshops, the MADA Awards (Making A Difference Awards) show honors those whose works champions’ social good and community enrichment.
The 10th Annual COMMFFEST Global Community Film and Arts Festival runs September 23-30, 2015 at Toronto’s Rainbow Cinema Market Square (80 Front Street Ave) with limited supplementary local area community screenings also being held at Malvern Library (30 Sewells Rd – September 20) and the Performing Arts Lodge (110 The Esplanade).
For ticket info go to: www.commffest.com or call 416 362 5570. Advance ticket holders for the World Music Night get a 20% discount off all festival screenings. Festival ticket holders receive 10% discount vouchers for the Marche Restaurant (Brookfield Place, 181 Bay St C350). Ticket holders for morning “Breakfast with COMMFFEST” screenings receive a free breakfast voucher.
Festival Sponsors: TD Bank, Royal Bank, City of Toronto, PAL, Rainbow Cinema.
Community partners: George Brown College, Edit One Video, Kids Up Front Foundation, Marche Restaurant, The British Canadian Chamber of Trade and Commerce, SCAGO, Passion for Life, Breast Cancer Society.
For more information about the films and to view select trailers go to commffest.com
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