#CBFF21 Opens with Christiaan Olwagen’s POPPIE NONGENA (South Africa)

A necessary ONLINE Festival for our times – Amplifying even more Black Voices with Innovative, Strong, Diverse and Bold programming from May 26 to 30, 2021

The inaugural Calgary Black Film Festival is created by the Fabienne Colas Foundation and co-presented by Global News, with the support of the Ministry of Culture, Multiculturalism and Status of Women, Calgary Arts Development, and Calgary Economic Development

 All Access Passes and Single Tickets on Sale Now at www.CalgaryBlackFilm.com!

Calgary, May 5, 2021 – The inaugural Calgary Black Film Festival #CBFF21 is thrilled to announce the official online program and events lineup, running May 26 – 30, 2021. #CBFF21, the first of its kind in Western Canada, aims to connect authentic Black stories with viewers of all colours and ethnic origins in Alberta, the province that holds Canada’s third largest Black population after Ontario and Quebec.

The Calgary Black Film Festival’s strong, diverse, and bold programming will be available entirely ONLINE across Canada and around the World. Through films and various panels, this inaugural online edition highlights the tales and events that have challenged conventions, left a distinctive mark on our times, and changed how we see the world.

“CBFF is more than just about films, it’s a movement! At this pivotal moment in our history, the people of Calgary have really stepped up as a BLM ally and have shown tremendous support towards their Black communities. As such, we are seizing on this opportunity to help bring even more awareness through concrete actions.” stated Fabienne Colas, President and Founder of the Black Film Festivals in Montreal, Toronto, Halifax, Ottawa and Calgary. “It is vital for us to spread our message of inclusion and diversity off and on camera from coast to coast and celebrate the differences that make us unique and the shared values that bring us together.”

The Festival will open on Wednesday, May 26 at 7pm MDT with Christiaan Olwagen’s POPPIE NONGENA, the true story of a mother’s desperate fight to protect her family during the bitter years of Apartheid in South Africa. Then, as of 10pm MDT, all the films will be accessible online.

CBFF will close with Calgary filmmaker Cheryl Foggo’s feature documentary, JOHN WARE RECLAIMED, about the complex story of a Black cowboy and rancher who settled in Alberta prior to the turn of the 20th century.

This first edition’s highlights include the Fabienne Colas Foundation’s BEING BLACK IN CANADA short film series as well as documentary film BARBARA LEE: SPEAKING TRUTH TO POWER, featuring an all-star cast including Senator Cory Booker, Rep. John Lewis, Rep. Ayanna Pressley, Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez and Van Jones.

The CBFF Black Market – an industry series where renowned industry professionals share real-world experience on today’s most critical filmmaking and social issues – will present an exciting blend of cutting-edge thinking panel discussion.

The #CBFF21 All Access Pass is available for only $49 and gives access to the entire programming and single tickets for individual films and short series are available for $8. Passes and tickets can be purchased on the Festival’s website.  

“Global News is proud to support the Calgary Black Film Festival as co-presenter in its inaugural year,” said Carmela Gentile, News Director and Station Manager, Global Calgary. “Our team recognizes the importance of amplifying Black voices and stories in the community, and we look forward to sharing in the excitement of such an important event.”

“The Calgary Black Film Festival is showcasing the vision of Black filmmakers, giving Black actors a spotlight and sharing the experiences of Black artists with a broader audience of Albertans. Alberta’s Government is proud to be a sponsor of the 2021 Calgary Black Film Festival. I applaud the Fabienne Colas Foundation for their work in bringing the festival to audiences virtually this year, and I wish them every success for this event.” said Minister Leela Sharon Aheer, Minister of Culture, Multiculturalism and Status of Women

Fabienne Colas Foundation’s BEING BLACK IN CANADA

Presented by NETFLIX, in collaboration with the National Bank, and supported by Telefilm Canada, Canada Media Fund, the Canada Council for the Arts and various local partners.

20 Canadian short films from the 2020 cohort will be presented at #CBFF21! The FCF’s Being Black in Canada supported 20 Black Canadian Filmmakers, 18 to 30 years old, in Montreal, Toronto and Halifax in the creation of 20 documentary short films (8 to 10 minutes). The filmmakers received professional coaching for each stage of the audiovisual production process then made a short documentary film under the tutelage of industry professionals. A unique project that ensures inspiring emerging artists from culturally diverse backgrounds. 


The CBFF BLACK MARKET space is dedicated to the cinema industry and raising awareness of today’s social climate with some powerful & FREE panel discussions:

Diversity On And Off-Screen: Industry professionals discuss the underrepresentation of Black talent off and on screen. They will share their experiences regarding the issue and offer ideas and advice to help solve the problem.

Black Stories Matter: Canadian television and film have still not made a significant space for Black artists, nor does it adequately reflect the 22 % of Canadians who are people of colour when it comes to who is both behind and in front of the camera.

Black Artists in Calgary – On the Move: This discussion will feature some of Calgary’s talented emerging Black Artists who are successfully establishing themselves and realizing their projects despite the obstacles and unique challenges they may be faced with.

The inaugural Calgary Black Film Festival, created by the Fabienne Colas Foundation and co-presented by Global News, runs May 26 – 30, 2021, with the support of the Ministry of Culture, Multiculturalism and Status of Women, Calgary Arts Development and Calgary Economic Development.

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About the Calgary Black Film Festival – #CBFF21

The Calgary Black Film Festival (CBFF), a not-for-profit organization created by the Fabienne Colas Foundation, is about discovery and Inclusion. CBFF wants to amplify more Black voices and showcase the most relevant Black films from here and abroad while creating a space to debate major cultural, social, and socio-economic issues. The Calgary Black Film Festival is dedicated to giving unique voices in cinema the opportunity to present audiences with new ways of looking at the world. CBFF’s ambition is to encourage the development of the independent film industry and to promote more films on the reality of Black people from around the Globe.

About the Fabienne Colas Foundation

The Fabienne Colas Foundation is Canada’s largest Black cultural organization. Created in 2005, the FCF is a not-for-profit artistic organization dedicated to promoting Diversity and inclusion in Cinema, Art and Culture in Canada and abroad. Along with Zaza production, the Fabienne Colas Foundation is also the creator of 11 Festivals, including the highly successful Montreal Black Film Festival, the hugely popular Toronto Black Film Festival, the Halifax Black Film Festival as well as the several other successful Festivals in Canada, the USA, Haiti and Brazil. These initiatives/festivals have showcased and supported over 5,000 artists and attracted over 2 million festivalgoers. The Foundation is also the creator of the FCF’s Being Black in Canada program, Canada’s largest incubator dedicated to Black Filmmakers.

For more information, interviews, and promotional material:

Talar Adam



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