Toronto Fest Singles Out Black Cinema, Adds Group of Titles to ’05 Roster
by Eugene Hernandez
Organizers of the Toronto International Film Festival have announced a handful of titles that will join the lineup for the upcoming event, singling out a group of international black films. The move to highlight international black cinema follows a recent festival decision to phase out its Planet Africa sidebar; black cinema is being showcased across all festival section.
“We’re committed to showcasing the best in global black cinema,” said Cameron Bailey, International Programmer with the Festival. “The outstanding films we’re announcing today reflect our ongoing interest in bringing great world cinema home to a great world city.”
Added to this festival lineup are Wayne Beach‘s American film “Slow Burn” in the Special Presentations section, the world premieres of Jean-Pierre Bekolo‘s “Les Saignantes” and Khalo Matabane‘s “Conversations on A Sunday Afternoon” in the Visions section, Lee Daniels‘ directorial debut “Shadowboxers” in the Contemporary World Cinema section, and the North American premiere of Gavin Hood‘s “Tsotsi.” Already set to screen at the festival is Mark Dornford-May‘s “U-Carmen Ekhayelitsha,” also from South Africa.
Wayne Beach’s “Slow Burn” marks the director’s feature film debut and is described as a “sexy action-driven thriller” starring Ray Liotta, Jolene Blalock, LL Cool J, Taye Diggs, Chiwetel Ejiofor, and Mekhi Phifer.
Two films newly added to the lineup are from South Africa. “Conversations On A Sunday Afternoon” is the first feature from documentary filmmaker Khalo Matabane, the story of “a young black writer named Keneiloe who is trying to make sense of the issues that have become central to contemporary urban reality, including war, exile, and displacement.” Gavin Hood’s “Tsotsi,” based on Athol Fugard’s novel and described as tracing “six days in the lonely, violent life of Tsotsi (meaning “thug”), a ruthless, young gang leader.”
Jean-Pierre Bekolo’s “Les Saignantes” is described as “an erotic, provocative spin on politics, sex, and magic in Cameroon, circa 2025.” It is a world premiere along with Lee Daniel’s “Shadowboxers,” which stars Helen Mirren as “a contract killer who is silently dying from cancer.” The film also stars Cuba Gooding, Jr. and Vanessa Ferlito.
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