The Force at work / La Force en action

The Force at work / La Force en action
As the past is removed, a new beginning emerges.

Thursday, October 1, 2015

The 11th International Black Film Festival Opening Night

Martin Luther King III speaking on the September 29th 2015 opening ceremonies of the Montreal Black Film Festival.
Photo © Lena Ghio 2015

The day started with the press conference where we could ask questions to MARTIN LUTHER KING III who was in the city to receive the 2015 Humanitarian Award and host a panel after the screening of the extraordinary movie Selma that depicts one of the incredible battles won by his father MARTIN LUTHER KING Jr. I listened to the various questions being asked as I had not formulated a specific inquiry, I was simply amazed that a person who experienced the crushing racism of the American South including the slaying of his own father, could see the world with such inner light.
Martin Luther King Jr and family, Ralph Abernathy
and family 1965

MLK III- I want to present a positive but realistic image of the events that happened. In 1965 there was a lot of turbulence but there was also a lot of hope. But we must always remain vigilant. In 2013 the Supreme Court eviscerated the voting law instigated in 1940 and this opened the door in many states to deny certain people or groups of people of their right to vote.

When asked about the shooting of 9 in house of worship in Charlestown last June 17th 2015he replied:

-Although it appeared like the beginning of a new racial crisis, I noticed that Americans of all nationalities and religions came together in a spirit of great love to condemn the act of violence committed in a house of worship. I felt the shift in perception.

MLK III was asked about "islamophobia" and how it affected the black community:

-There is a percentage of the black community that is Muslim and a percentage of them that are in leadership positions in the community. The struggle and the aims remain the same, that we must find a way to co-exist regardless of our ethnic or religious differences.

About continuing the legacy of his famous father:

-When I was young, I wanted my father all to myself but I began to accept that my dad belonged to the world. He was always looking for the good in people and always tried to bring it out of them. I would say that the movie Selma does a good job of representing my father as a human being. There are some important people missing from the story. This only means more stories should be told. We must become engaged in diversity because we are much more alike than unlike. Finally the film Selma underlines the importance of having a strategy that works with the current legislation, of creating lines of communications with the the powers that be, in my father's case with the White House, so you can become empowered to change the laws on the books.

The last victory of MLK Jr occurred 10 days after his assassination with the fair housing legislation in 1968.

Left to right: Fabienne Colas, Martin Luther King III, Pras Michel and Fabienne Colas
Photos © Lena Ghio 2015

That evening I saw the PRAS MICHEL documentary film  Sweet Micky For President where we see an outline of Haiti's history that sets the stage for the chaotic situation in current time. I was able to put in better perspective the brief conversation I had with the multi talented artist on the previous day. He is clearly disappointed   that the island still has no roads or that still 98% of the population can't read or write. The picture above right shows the emotions Haitians have been living with since their ancestors stepped onto and were born on the ill fated country. Yet I feel like FABIENNE COLAS, her partner EMILE CASTONGUAY, founders of the festival, PRAS MICHEL and MARTIN LUTHER KING III that the best is still ahead and that no one should give up.

That night I saw a lot of positive energy, a lot of talent, some good passionate arguments, all the natural ingredients needed to keep going towards realizing the dream.

The Montreal International Black Film Festival is on-going with an opportunity to participate in the evening that will pay tribute to PAUL HAGGIS and DAVID BELLE this Friday October 2nd 2015.


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