Well people.. the time has come. I called and asked for help to over 2,000 people and companies, and nothing, no support other than good luck, or I will buy tickets to come out (never happened).
So with this, I give sad news, that I am canceling the festival for 2017. We fell short only $3500. but I could not get any nibbles. we were short over $10,000 back in August, and now only short $3500. This was part of up front costs that cannot wait.
I want to say thanks for the many volunteers, and people who became my friend on the different social media platforms, and the huge moral support I have been given this year. But it was simply not enough.
The festival is not dead, just cancelled for 2017. All me and my staff can do is plan for 2018 and keep going. This festival is part of my life that I will never let go and will keep going until I cannot. I will never give up, and just because I have fallen, it only means I will get up and try again.
I want to thank, the filmmakers and the sponsors like Idievue.com, iPitch.tv and CreativeDeals.com, KYConcierge.ca, and the others who came to support. I wish all the best for everyone, thanks to all.
Toronto African Film & Music Festival
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The Last Days Of The City Opening Festival Film
Director: Tamer El Said
Tamer El Said is an Egyptian filmmaker. He wrote, produced and directed numerous films including Take Me (2004), an award winning documentary about five friends who unwittingly became political prisoners in Morocco, and the short film On a Monday (2005) on an old married couple who rediscover their relationship. His first fiction feature In the Last Days of the City was shot in Cairo, Berlin, Baghdad and Beirut and is currently in post-production. He is co-founder of several independent initiatives in Cairo, including Cimatheque Alternative Film Centre, Mosireen, and Zero Production.
As a filmmaker in Cairo deals with a loss in his life, he struggles to make a movie that captures the soul of the city.
Director: KPage Stuart Valdes
KPage Stuart Valdes is a New York-based filmmaker, writer, and musician. She has received fellowships and commissions from Yaddo, Jerome Foundation through Voice and Vision Theater, Atlantic Center for the Arts, HERE Arts Center, Blue Heron Arts Center, Brooklyn Arts Exchange, and Tisch School of the Arts. Her screenplay, Borderline ‘73, was a finalist for the Sundance Writer’s Lab, and an Academy Award Nicholls Screenwriting Fellowship Semi- Finalist. Her screenplay, Psychotropia, won Best Screenplay at the California Women’s Film Festival, second place at the LA Underground Film Festival screenplay competition, was a finalist for the Sundance Writer’s Lab, and a Semi-Finalist at the Rhode Island International Film Festival. Talking Piece, a short which she wrote, produced, and directed, premiered at Detroit's Charles H Wright Museum of African American History and screened at multiple festivals nationally and internationally winning the Complex Cultural Currents Award from Stories by the River Festival. Her music-theater pieces have been presented by the Obie Award winning Ice Factory Festival, HERE Art Center where she was an artist in residence, Atlantic Center for the Arts, Princeton’s McCarter Theater, Dixon Place, PS 122, and featured in the openings section of the New Yorker magazine. Her music has been presented by Brooklyn Academy of Music, Lincoln Center for the Performing Arts, and in countless smaller clubs. She holds a BFA in Acting from NYU’s Tisch School of the Arts and an MFA from their Graduate Musical Theater Writing Program where she wrote both words and music.
Abike, a Nigerian born oil industry executive and a Christian, is driving to a friend's country house when she realizes her tank is needling towards empty. She pulls into the only station she can find where she is greeted by Scott, a local who inherited his business from his grandfather. Scott has never met anyone like Abike, which leads him to make assumptions about her based on stereotypes and unexamined biases. When Abike challenges him, with a mixture of bold humor and equally bold gravitas, he is left to ponder their commonalties and her power. Full Service explores the effects of globalization on local economies and culture, our propensity to stereotype others, and the fact that we are all more complex than we seem.
Shepherds and Butchers
Director: Oliver Schmitz
Oliver Schmitz was born in 1960 in Cape Town, South Africa. He is a director and writer, known for Paris, je t'aime (2006), Life, Above All (2010) and Shepherds and Butchers (2016).
A lawyer takes on a case of a prison guard in South Africa who is traumatized by the executions he's witnessed.
Nobody Dies Here
Director: Simon Panay
SIMON PANAY (Mâcon, FRANCIA 04/29/1993) He made his first fiction short film « Drôle de Guerre » at 19 and get more than 50 official selections, 15 awards and two TV screenings (Eurochannel, Shorts TV). 2012, he shot his first documentary film in Africa : Tontines, une affaire de femmes (52min) and 2014 his second documentary « Waiting for the (t)rain » (26min). This film get more than 85 Official Selections all over the world, 17 Awards. 2014, he received a prize of best talented young director of the year from the prestigious organization ARP. His first feature film project is produced by Gérard Krawczyk (Je Hais les Acteurs, l'été en pente douce, Taxi 2,3,4, Wasabi, Fanfan la Tulie, l'Auberge Rouge...).
Perma, Mina de oro de Benin. Unos sueñan con encontrar algo, otros se dan cuenta que no hay nada que encontrar. Algunos cavan sin descanso deseando convertirse en ricos, otros mueren el proceso. Y unos pocos dicen que allí, nadie muere.
Perma gold mine, Benin. Some dream to find something, others realized there was nothing to be found. Some dig relentlessly hoping to become rich, others died in the process. And a few of them say that here, nobody dies.
Tourments d'amour (Torments of Love)
Les Saintes, Caribbean
Director: Caroline Jules
After Caroline Jules graduated as an assistant director in 1997 in Paris, she worked on several short movies while developing her own projects. In 2003, she won the Best Script Prize at Creteil Women Film Festival (France) for her short film "PARIS-DAKAR', which she directed a couple of years later. The film has been awarded in several french and international festivals.
In 2006, "TORMENTS OF LOVE" a family chronicle about father-daughter relationships, received two prizes for the Best Script - Overseas Department. She shot the film a few years later in Guadeloupe with Caribbean and Guyana actors.
Meanwhile, Caroline Jules built up her carrier in television. She joined the Canal+ Group in 2014 and has been working at the Short Movies Department.
This film, shot in a tiny island of fishermen named LES SAINTES, is about a universal theme, family love, the unspoken between to sisters in their thirties and their Father. This film wants to highlight childhood injuries and repercussions in adulthood. How they can love each other without being able to say it. How to sisters can be interconnected in their contradictions and paradoxes... "Torments of love", the title of the film, is, of course, the painful relationship between each member of this family, but it's also the name of small cakes that are found only on this island. I tried to use the peculiarities of cinematographic art (by embodying emotions, for example) in order to tell this story as close as possible to the emotions that I myself could feel as a child or as an woman.
Ce film, tiré dans une petite île de pêcheurs nommée LES SAINTES, concerne un thème universel, l'amour de la famille, le non-compris entre les soeurs de la trentaine et leur Père. Ce film veut souligner les traumatismes et les répercussions de l'enfance à l'âge adulte. Comment ils peuvent s'aimer sans pouvoir le dire. Comment les soeurs peuvent-elles être interconnectées dans leurs contradictions et leurs paradoxes ... "Torments of Love", le titre du film, est bien sûr la relation douloureuse entre chaque membre de cette famille, mais c'est aussi le nom de petits gâteaux que Ne se trouvent que sur cette île. J'ai essayé d'utiliser les particularités de l'art cinématographique (en incorporant des émotions, par exemple) afin de raconter cette histoire aussi près que possible des émotions que je pourrais ressentir comme enfant ou comme femme
The Cursed Ones
Director: Nana Cbiri Yeboah
Nana was born in Accra, Ghana and moved to London at the age of 18. At 36, he directed his first feature film. Nana’s primary aim as a filmmaker is to present West- African stories with the quality and authenticity that he insists is so lacking in representations of Africa made by African and non-Africans alike. Nana has a degree in digital filmmaking from the SAE institute London. He is based in London and is currently developing a feature-length screenplay.
A series of misfortunes lead a West African village to accuse a young girl of witchcraft. The Pastor's (Fred Amugi) compelling rhetoric incites fear into the people as he insists that salvation lies in her exorcism and death.
Christiane Badgley is a director and editor of award-winning documentaries and multimedia work. Christiane began her career in the San Francisco Bay Area where she was a frequent collaborator of acclaimed African American director, Marlon Riggs (she worked with him until his death in 1994, completing his last film, Black Is…Black Ain’t, posthumously).
Christiane first worked in Ghana more than 25 years ago and has continued working on projects in Africa and with prominent African directors since that time. In recent years Christiane has focused her attention on the extractive industries and controversial U.S. investments in West and Central Africa, writing and producing film and new media work for multiple broadcast and online outlets. Guangzhou Dream Factory, Christiane’s latest documentary (with producing partner, Erica Marcus), was made with funding from The National Endowment for the Humanities and The National Endowment for the Arts.
Immigration, globalization, Chinese factories and African dreams…GUANGZHOU DREAM FACTORY weaves stories of Africans chasing alluring, yet elusive, “Made in China” dreams into a provocative critique of 21st century global capitalism.
Guangzhou, a.k.a. Canton, is southern China's booming commercial center. A mecca of mass consumption, the city’s vast international trading centers attract more than half a million Africans each year. Most are doing business – in China to buy goods they’ll sell back in Africa. But some choose to stay, and for these Africans China looks like the new land of opportunity, a place where anything is possible. But is it?
Featuring a dynamic cast of men and women from Cameroon, Kenya, Nigeria and Uganda, GUANGZHOU DREAM FACTORY provides a rare glimpse of African aspirations in an age of endless outsourcing.
Gayle Nosal is the founder and director of NeeNee Productions. Before entering filmmaking in 2012, she worked in advertising, sales, writing, and teaching. Gayle’s work in advertising in New York City spanned ten years and she understands the art of branding, publicity, and new product development. She later spent twelve years working and capacity building within local, national, and international non-profit organizations, where she guided grassroots non-profits to adopt capacity-building strategies and fundraising plans, and helped larger organizations build social enterprise designs. Gayle also has a long teaching career that spans from the secondary to university level.
The refugee crisis in Uganda’s Kyangwali Refugee Settlement isn’t new. For the people of this camp, being a refugee is a protracted circumstance endured for decades. “Sauti” (“Voice” in Swahili) follows the efforts of five young women who were brought to the Settlement as children and who, as they approach adulthood, strive to pursue their dreams for a future beyond the constraints of a protracted refugee situation in an underdeveloped host country. Though safer than they were before, little else has changed since fleeing war and persecution years ago in their home countries of Rwanda, Democratic Republic of Congo, and South Sudan. Transcending the label ‘refugee’ has been especially challenging for the women of Kyangwali.
The Thinking Garden
South Africa / Canada
Director: Christine Welsh
Metis filmmaker Christine Welsh was born and raised in Saskatchewan and studied filmmaking at the University of Regina with the late Jean Oser. She began work in the film industry as an assistant editor on Allan King’s prairie classic Who Has Seen the Wind and worked as a film editor in Toronto for ten years before moving to Vancouver Island in 1989. Christine wrote and produced her first film, Women in the Shadows, in 1991 and has gone on to direct, write and produce several other award-winning films that document the experience of Indigenous women in Canada. They include Keepers of the Fire (1994), The Story of the Coast Salish Knitters (2000), and Finding Dawn (NFB, 2006), a feature-length documentary on the epidemic of murdered and missing Indigenous women in Canada.
Christine’s films have been broadcast nationally on CBC, CTV and APTN, and have been featured at major film festivals in Canada, the U.S., France, Australia and New Zealand, as well as the 51st United Nations Commission on the Status of Women in New York. In 2009, her body of work was honoured with the WIFTV (Women in Film and Television Vancouver) Artistic Achievement Award for filmmaking excellence in telling women’s stories. In addition to her filmmaking, Christine has spoken widely and published a number of articles that have appeared in Canadian Literature, Descant, Feminisms in the Cinema, and Screening Culture: Constructing Image and Identity. She is an Associate Professor Emerita in the Department of Gender Studies at the University of Victoria where she taught courses in Indigenous Women’s Studies and Indigenous Cinema.
This is a film about resilience -- three generations of older women in a village in South Africa who came together in the dying days of apartheid to create a community garden. Filmed against the backdrop of an epic drought gripping southern Africa, The Thinking Garden tells the remarkable story of what can happen when older women take matters into their own hands, and shows how local action in food production can give even the most vulnerable people a measure of control over their food and their futures.
Director: Onyinye Jessica Anyaeji
Onyinye was born and raised in Kano, Nigeria and has always had a solid interests in African films and well told stories.
Jamie, in her attempt to save her son loses more than she bargains for.
Director: Peter McNeil
Peter McNeil was born and raised in Brooklyn, New York City. He began his postal career in the early nineties as a temporary clerk before transitioning over to letter carrier for Cooper Postal Station in Lower Eastside, Manhattan. During that tenure, he held the title of Acting Supervisor for three months before returning to letter carrier so he could concentrate on penning his first novel. He currently resides in Charlotte, North Carolina with his wife Pamela and children Justin, Jordan and Milahn.
Adapted from the novel series bearing the same title, Cadina Wilson, a thirty-somethingish lady with a sketchy past, lands a position as a letter carrier at a Manhattan post office. As she realizes how physically and mentally demanding the position is, Cadina begins to learn a great deal about her fellow co-workers. The alcoholic, Freeman Souls, and his decision to cheat on his fiancee with the mysterious sexpot, Velour Patterns.
The arrogant Lexington VanGuard and his quest of becoming a supervisor in order to rule the station with an iron hand. And the beloved James Richards, who finds himself fighting for custody of his daughter Janae and falling in love all at once. Soon, Cadina finds herself knee-deep in everyone's unstable world. But when a bitter employee makes a startling discovery, all hell really begins to break loose which results in an unforgettable, mind-blowing climax!
Director: Craig Detweiler
Craig Detweiler’s documentary, (un)Common Sounds, premiered on ABC in 2013. His films have won the CINE Golden Eagle, the Heartland Film Festival, the Breckenridge Festival of Film, and the Tallahassee Film Festival. Craig was recently named Variety’s 2016 Mentor of the Year for his work as a film professor and creative director of the Institute for Entertainment, Media, and Culture at Pepperdine University.
Henry, a Ugandan boy, is losing hope, languishing in prison, awaiting trial for two murders he didn't commit. Jim's comfortable life as a Los Angeles lawyer and law professor nearly ensured he and Henry would never meet. REMAND tells the true story of how Tumusiime Henry and Jim Gash, separated by an ocean, thousands of miles, and differing cultures, worked together to inspire justice reform for an entire country.
Two Ways to Heaven CLOSING NIGHT FILM
Ethiopian / Canada
Director: Dawit Addisu
English and Amharic language with English subtitles
Director Bio: Dawit Addisu is an independent film-maker deeply interested in the whole process of crafting a motion picture. He is one with a keen mind for stories and eyes for art. Dawit recently completed Two Ways to Heaven. It is a movie he wrote, directed and acted in, and also played a major role on the details of camera, editing and colour correction.
Dawit was born in Ethiopia during the Communist era. While only 10 years old, the hardships of life and fear of eventual military conscription led his mother to pick up and immigrate his whole family on foot in the hopes of a better life somewhere else. His deep experiences through this trek continue to colour his perspective of the world. He is determined to bring more stories into the film world in a unique and entertaining format.
A case of two missing youth joins the fates of a group of Ethiopian immigrants, a low level drug dealer, a corrupt cop and a business tycoon during the most scandalous time of the city and its mayor.