Showcasing a dynamic collection of films that shine a spotlight on the realities of Black people around the globe, the Calgary Black Film Festival aims to connect Black stories with viewers from all walks of life in Alberta—the province with the third largest Black population after Ontario and Québec.

Calgary Black Film Festival

May 26–30
Virtual screenings / $49 all-access pass
CalgaryBlackFilm.com

 

Showcasing a dynamic collection of films that shine a spotlight on the realities of Black people around the globe, the Calgary Black Film Festival aims to connect Black stories with viewers from all walks of life in Alberta—the province with the third largest Black population after Ontario and Québec.

 

Presented by the Fabienne Colas Foundation, a not-for profit organization dedicated to promoting Black art, cinema and culture in Canada and around the world, the stacked lineup includes everything from documentaries to feature-length films, plus an additional 20 selections from Being Black in Canada, the largest incubator in Canada for young Black filmmakers focusing on racial and social justice stories.

 

Exciting panel discussions will also take place at the Black Market, featuring conversations with renowned industry professionals on the cutting edge of their craft. Full program online.

Black cowboy John Ware

John Ware Reclaimed

71 minutes
Director: Cheryl Foggo / Country: Canada
Available on demand from May 26–30
Trailer: vimeo.com/445607505

 

Unearthing the suppressed history of a thriving Black presence in the Prairies, Calgary filmmaker Cheryl Foggo investigates the mythology surrounding Black cowboy John Ware, who settled in Alberta before the turn of the 20th century. Drawing from her personal experience with racism growing up in Calgary, and her own Indiana Jones-style archeological and historical digging, Foggo sets the record straight on the often-racist retelling of Ware’s story.

Woman holding photo of her child

Since I Been Down

105 minutes
Director: Gilda Sheppard / Country: United States
Available on demand from May 26–30
Trailer: youtube.com/watch?v=SL7eHbqD-KA

 

Under the Clinton administration in 1993, Washington State voters passed a three-strikes law—which saw children sent to prison for life without parole. In 2020, 16 states continued to uphold this rule. In a film applauded by legendary civil rights activist Angela Davis, director Gilda Sheppard shares the story of these brave children— now adults—as they pave a path to justice and try to heal from inside prison walls.

Screenshot from The Special

The Special

Director: Ignacio Márquez
Country: Venezuela
Available on demand from May 26–30
Trailer: vimeo.com/420205718

 

In this cerebral and emotional film, the charming young Chuo navigates the challenges of early adulthood with Down Syndrome. He begins to feel the need for independence from his father, José, who struggles to care for his son while grappling with his past demons and the disappointment of unfulfilled dreams. Caught in a tangle of silence and shame, father and son try to break free and fulfill their dreams while building a common future.

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