The Force at work / La Force en action

The Force at work / La Force en action
Read the whole story now being read around the world! / Lisez toute l'histoire maintenant lue autour du monde!

Monday, October 1, 2012


(L to R) Harry Belafonte, Fabienne Colas, Stedman Graham, Raymond Santana, Yusef Salaam.  Photos ©  Lena Ghio, 2012

What a week of emotion at the 8th Montreal International Black Film Festival. It began with an exciting opening evening in the presence of HARRY BELAFONTE, a legendary artist, humanitarian and activist. What a thrill it was for all of us present to honor his life achievement with the first ever Humanitarian Award given by the Festival.

The evening continued with the screening of the film WINNIE starring JENNIFER HUDSON and TERENCE HOWARD. The movie, directed by DARRELL ROODT, is superb with exquisite cinematography by MARIO JANELLE. Jennifer Hudson takes us through the hellish experiences endured by a woman who very young upheld her husband's, NELSON MANDELA, struggle for human rights in South Africa. I was shocked by what I discovered Winnie Mandela had gone through. I had never looked beyond the persona photographed in newspapers and although I did support her words for human rights, I never imagined the cost to her. I am astonished by her bravery. I was in tears when the end credits rolled down and we could see real pictures of Winnie, her eyes overflowing with grief.

I enjoyed several movies. One of them was Umkhungo a short film that recounts the story of a young boy with a magical gift who is hunted by his terrified family. A street thug, who at first wants to sell the boy, helps him instead and finds resolution for one of his own greatest regrets. I adored this movie rich with superb performances correct timing and eternal themes. The other Slavery by another Name reveals the truth about how blacks were treated in the United States after slavery was supposedly eradicated : very hard to watch images of public lynching of young men while ladies stand around in fancy dresses chatting!!!! Surfing Soweto also moved me tremendously. Very young boys risk their lives creating challenges to develop their skills by surfing on moving trains. The footage is mind blowing and their skills are amazing but some of them die. The closing film The Central Park Five was a strange echo of the movie Slavery by another Name five young boys aged between fourteen and seventeen were accused of the horrific rape of a female jogger in New York at the end of the eighties. Two of the boys, now men still trying to rebuild normal lives were with us Sunday September 30 and shared with us where they are at now. We were so moved!

Finally we had the enormous joy of meeting STEDMAN GRAHAM, a business man, author, humanitarian who gave a conference "THE NINE STEP PLAN FOR SUCCESS" based on his best selling books. In this context M. Graham received the first 2012 Career Achievement Award.  I had the opportunity to ask him a question on all our behalf, that he answers on this link the answer is very to the point and I was very inspired by his words. If you need a dose of encouragement, do listen!

Now we will have to wait a full year to see what the Festival will come up with next!


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