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‘Winnie’ To Open 8th Montreal International Black Film Festival In September

'Winnie' To Open 8th Montreal International Black Film Festival In September

Months after the Toronto International Film Festival screened it (last September), it’ll be the opening night film for another Canadian film festival (it wasn’t the opening night film for TIFF by the way), this one in Montreal – the Montreal International Black Film Festival specifically. 

None of us has seen it yet, and I hope that changes sooner than later, so that we can get you folks a proper review.

But for our readers in the Montreal area who are interested, Darrell Roodt’s much-discussed Winne Mandela biopic, which stars Jennifer Hudson as the title character, and Terrence Howard as Nelson Mandela, will open the 8th annual Montreal International Black Film Festival on September 19th

As Vanessa posted in May, T.D. Jakes and his company TDJ Enterprises/Film Bridge International are on board to executive produce and develop a domestic marketing and distribution strategy for Winnie.

It’s not yet known what exactly that distribution strategy will be.

In the meantime however, I did come across this revelation via Forbes magazine, which answers two of the many questions I had for TDJ, which were, 1.) just how much TDJ’s involvement will be, and 2.) whether the cut of the film that wasn’t well-received at Toronto last fall is the cut that will be released under this new agreement with TDJ and Film Bridge International:

In fact, Canadian producer Michael Mosca, who made “Winnie” with a South African partner, Andre Pietersee, tells me that Jakes is just putting his name on the film in the same way that celebrities like Oprah Winfrey, Tyler Perry, and Sean Combs have done to garner interest in a project. “We are the producers of the film,” Mosca said, “and it’s all done. Equinoxe Films has the rights in Canada. I think there will be distributor screenings in Los Angeles the first two weeks of May, right before Cannes, for a U.S. distributor. We’ll release it in the fall.” Mosca says that since Toronto, “Winnie” has undergone several changes and that he’s very happy with it.

What exactly those changes are, we’ll find out soon enough.

Details on the Montreal fest opening in the press release below (when we have the rest of the festival’s lineup, we’ll post here):

The highly anticipated film WINNIE by Darrell Roodt will open the 8th edition of the Montreal International Black Film Festival on September 19th, as a Quebec Premiere. Winnie, a Canadian co-production, produced by Quebec producer Michael Mosca from Equinoxe Films, will kick-start the official competition. « We are very proud to open the festival with such a big film produced by a Quebec producer; It’s a deeply moving story that leaves no one untouched » stated Fabienne Colas, President of the Festival.

Winnie stars Jennifer Hudson (Winnie Mandela), Academy Award winner and Grammy Award winner, and Terrence Howard (Nelson Mandela), Academy Award nominee.

Based on the biography by Anne Marie du Preez Bezdrob “Winnie Mandela : A Life”, Winnie is an intimate, in-depth and unbiased film that will take the audience on a remarkable journey of understanding Winnie Mandela, one of the world’s most famous female activists, exploring both her personal and political life. Winnie Mandela is a complex historical figure, appreciated for her role in the struggle against apartheid led by her husband, but whose obscure acquaintances make an equally controversial personality. Through her fierce determination and dauntless courage, Winnie Mandela survived her husband’s imprisonment, continuous harassment by the security police, banishment to a small Free State town, betrayal by friends and allies, and more than a year in solitary confinement – all the while keeping the name of Nelson Mandela alive. A sensitive and balanced portrayal, the film nevertheless thoroughly investigates and honestly examines the controversies that dogged Winnie Mandela in recent years.

South African filmmaker and screenwriter Darrell Roodt, whose film Yesterday was nominated for an Academy Award in “Best Foreign Language Film” category in 2005, made an international name for himself with his debut feature A Place of Weeping (1986), a passionate condemnation of apartheid. Educated at the University of Witwatersrand, South Africa, he gained further acclaim for The Stick (1988), another look at the anti-apartheid struggle. In 1990, he made his first film with American backing, Jobman (1990). Roodt’s best-known film is his adaptation of the anti-apartheid stage musical Sarafina! (1992) starring Whoopi Goldberg. He has made around 30 films ans TV series among which Cry, the Beloved Country starring James Earl Jones and Richard Harris (1995). He has since alternated between making films in Hollywood and South Africa. His latest film Winnie has been officially selected in both Cannes Film Festival and Toronto International Film Festival.

After its Quebec premiere at the Montreal International Black Film Festival, WINNIE, distributed by Equinoxe Films, will hit Quebec screens starting October 5, 2012.

The 8th MIBFF will be held from September 19 to 30, 2012.

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