A woman of action and creative spirit, Fabienne Colas is a charismatic leader with an unwavering persistence who makes things happen. She used both her passion and her frustrations to become an unstoppable force in her niche. Her mission is to foster diversity off and on screen, inspire people to take action that leads to change, as well as giving a platform to invisible creators of color.
Recipient of the 2019 Canada’s Top 100 Most Powerful Women award, named 2018 Canada’s Top 40 under 40, Winner of Prix 2019 Prix Relève, Femme d’Exception (Mercuriades) from The Federation of Quebec’s Chambers of Commerce, named La Presse’s Newspaper 2018 Person of the Year (Arts & Culture), award-winning actress, filmmaker, speaker, business owner and consultant, Fabienne Colas works tirelessly and passionately to support and promote Diversity off and on screen around the globe.
Having completed her Executive MBA at McGill-HEC Montreal, Fabienne Colas is the ‘Queen of Festivals’ who created and manages 11 successful festivals between Montreal, Toronto, Halifax, New York City, Salvador (Bahia, Brazil) and Port-au-Prince – including the Montreal International Black Film Festival, which has become not only Canada’s largest black film festival, but also a key player in cultural diversity in Quebec and Canada; as well as the very popular Toronto Black Film Festival – Canada’s largest celebration of Black History Month through films and so much more.
Besides attracting close to 2 million festivalgoers over the years, and showcasing over 3,000 artists, those events have also welcomed and/or paid tribute to top celebrities from around the globe such as: Spike Lee, Harry Belafonte, Stedman Graham, Danny Glover, Martin Luther King III, Dany Laferrière, Wyclef Jean, Alfre Woodard, Souleymane Cissé, Arcade Fire, Bobby Brown, Isaiah Washington, Louis Gossett Jr. and more.
Also named Personality of the Week by La Presse in 2018, her primary mission is to continue to create platforms that show a diversity of voices, faces and points of view. As chairman and founder of the Fabienne Colas Foundation (FCF), she supports, awards grants and promotes independent films and artists who, otherwise, would have remained invisible.
In 2015, Fabienne was awarded a Medal from Quebec’s National Assembly recognizing her leadership and contribution in the fight against racism and discrimination in Quebec. In 2017, she received the prestigious Harry Jerome Arts and Culture Award from the Black Business Professional Association in Toronto. In 2018, Femmes en Cinéma, Télévision et Média Numériques (FCTMN) paid tribute to Fabienne for her exceptional contribution in the Quebec Film Industry (2018). Nominated and chosen by the U.S. State Department as the 2017-woman leader to represent Canada in the 3-week exchange leadership program: The International Visitor Leadership Program (IVLP).
In 2019, she received the Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Achievement Award from the Black Theatre Workshop; joining Oscar Peterson, Oliver Jones, Dany Laferrière, Gregory Charles, Doudou Boicel, Charlie Biddle, Tony Lee Williams… who have previously received this award.
Colas is the CEO of the Media & Business consulting company Zaza Production, and also sat as a board member on the Society for the Celebrations of Montréal’s 375th Anniversary. She has been part of many juries among which the Canada Council for the Arts, Prix Gémeaux, Conseil des Arts et des Lettres du Québec.
In 2008, she made her first film, Minuit, a narrative film on voodoo in which she also played the leading role. Considered by many as the most popular actress in Haitian cinema, Fabienne started out as a model, was crowned Miss Haiti in 2000 and has represented Haiti in numerous beauty contests around the world. In 2003, she was awarded the Ticket d’Or (golden ticket) in Haiti for best actress for her role in the film Barikad (directed by Richard Sénécal) and was also nominated for this same role at the Haitian Entertainment Awards in Florida. She has acted on both the big and the small screens in a number of productions in Quebec, Canada (Watatatow, l’Auberge du chien Noir, Comment Conquérir l’Amérique en une nuit…).
Fabienne is a member of both Canadian professional acting unions: the Union des Artistes (UDA) and the Alliance of Canadian Television and Radio Artists (ACTRA). She won the Black History Month Award in 2010 for her great involvement in her community following the earthquake in Haiti.
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