The Calgary Black Film Festival offers you the chance to see the world from new perspectives! Featuring films depicting authentic Black experiences and characters – something rare on the Canadian media landscape – our film selection gives you a glimpse into the lives of Black people from all over the world.
Brazil 🇧🇷 | The Spinning Top
Helena is a woman from the favela trying to recover from a tragic loss, but her mind keeps returning to the painful memories of her family. An urban fable revealed on a spinning top about loss, love and longing.
Directed by Karina Mello | Presented in Portuguese (with English subtitles)
Co-Presented by Calgary ReggaeFest
Canada 🇨🇦 | H.E.N.R.I.
After the tragic loss of his father Simon turns to his home Artificial Intelligence communicator to seek answers. Meanwhile, his mother Mary-Anne and twin sister Sophie try to readjust to their new reality.
Directed by Katarzyna Kochany | Presented in English
Democratic Republic of the Congo 🇨🇩 | From Patrice To Lumumba
An intimate portrait of Congolese politician, independence leader, and Prime Minister Patrice Lumumba painted using his own words from a private letter to his wife, written while he awaited his fate. This film offers the rare glimpse of the man behind the political emblems, facing a destiny that gradually escapes him.
Directed by Patrick Kabeya | Presented in French (with English subtitles)
Co-Presented by Alliance Française Calgary
France 🇫🇷 | Kokokids Of Paris
Two girls get away on a dreamy adventure until they face the harsh reality surrounding their lives, and the lives of a growing number of kids in Paris – The Kokokids of Paris: Glowing on the inside, while living in the shadows.
Directed by Alexia Colette | Presented in French and Lingala (with English subtitles)
Co-Presented by Cité des Rocheuses
Nigeria 🇳🇬 | Gone
Ani leaves his wife, toddler, and unborn child back in Nigeria as he searches for a better life in New York as a boxer. He gets entangled with the mob and spends 25 years in jail, leaving his estranged family to believe he’s dead. He returns to Nigeria determined to reclaim his family, only to discover his wife in the arms of another man.
Directed by Daniel Ademinokan | Presented in English
Co-Presented by the Calgary Foundation and the Immigrant Council for Arts Innovation
South Africa 🇿🇦 | Poppie Nongena • #CBFF21 Opening Film
Based on the award-winning book, “Poppie Nongena” tells the true story of a mother’s desperate fight to protect her family during the bitter years of Apartheid in South Africa, when Black women were ripped away from their homes.
Directed by Christiaan Olwagen | Presented in English and Afrikaans (with English subtitles)
Co-Presented by Topic
United States 🇺🇸 | The Subject
Phil Waterhouse (Jason Biggs, Orange is the New Black, American Pie movie series), a successful white documentary filmmaker, deals with the fallout from his last film – which caught the murder of a Black teenager on tape. Now, someone else is videotaping his every move, threatening his idyllic life.
Directed by Lanie Zipoy | Presented in English and Spanish (with English subtitles)
Co-Presented by the Calgary International Film Festival and Glenbow Museum
Venezuela 🇻🇪 | The Special
Chou, a profoundly charming young man, must navigate the challenges of early adulthood with Down Syndrome as he seeks to build a life of independence from his troubled father. Long separated by an ocean of silence and shame, will the two men be able to assemble a common future?
Directed by Ignacio Márquez | Presented in Spanish (with English subtitles)
Zimbabwe 🇿🇼 | Shaina
Zimbabwean teenager Shine learns about forgiveness, friendship, and the power of girls supporting girls.
Directed by Beautie Masvaure Alt | Presented in English
Co-Presented by Calgary Cinematheque and Woezo Africa