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A Conversation with Toronto Black Film Festival Creator Fabienne Colas

On January 19, the ninth annual Toronto Black Film Festival (TBFF), presented by TD Bank in collaboration with Global News, announced the official online program and events lineup running February 10-21, 2021. Created by the Fabienne Colas Foundation, TBFF returned for an impactful ninth edition, which amplifies more black voices through a record number of 154 films from 25 countries and various special events. 

Fabienne Colas at the TBFF in 2016

Colas, a young Black immigrant who came to Canada and didn’t see herself represented in the country’s media, decided to forge and foster a space to showcase black and brown independent filmmakers. She has remained committed to changing the landscape of TV and film by making it more diverse and equal, and by creating opportunities for black creatives to thrive and be seen.

Colas and company at the eighth Annual TBFF

In 2019, Colas was named to WXN’s Canada’s Most Powerful Women: Top 100, and was named one of Canada’s Top 40 under 40 in 2018. She now manages nine festivals (globally), all devoted to amplifying Black voices and perspectives. This includes the Montreal International Black Film Festival, Canada’s largest Black film festival, in addition to TBFF which is entering its ninth year. I had the pleasure of discussing the festival with Colas, as well as the events of previous festivals, including the presentation of the 2020 TBFF Lifetime Achievement Award to Spike Lee.

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