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These 5 Black Directors Are Set To Premiere Films at TIFF 2018

From Amma Asante to Barry Jenkins, this year's Toronto International Film Festival is in for stand-out, fresh perspectives in black cinema.

The Toronto International Film Festival (TIFF) returns in its 43rd year of transforming the way people see the world through film.

The festival recently announced it's first batch of films for the Gala and Special Presentation programs that include 21 world premieres, seven international premieres, eight North American premieres and 11 Canadian premieres, according to the press release.

"We have an exceptional selection of films this year that will excite Festival audiences from all walks of life," Piers Handling, TIFF CEO and director says. "Today's lineup showcases beloved auteurs alongside fresh voices in filmmaking, including numerous female powerhouses. The sweeping range in cinematic storytelling from around the world is a testament to the uniqueness of the films that are being made."

Out of these films, five by today's top black directors stood out as must-watch films to catch if you plan on attending TIFF this year.

Check them out, with synopses from TIFF, below.


Where Hands Touch | Amma Asante

Photo via TIFF.

Amandla Stenberg stars in director Amma Asante's (A United Kingdom) disquieting coming-of-age romance about a Black German teenager who falls in love with a member of the Hitler Youth.

World Premiere

Widows | Steve McQueen

Photo via TIFF.

A heavyweight cast—including Viola Davis, Daniel Kaluuya, Liam Neeson, Jacki Weaver, Colin Farrell, and Michelle Rodriguez—propels Steve McQueen's white-knuckle thriller (co-written by Gone Girl's Gillian Flynn) about four women left in a deadly lurch when their criminally connected husbands are all killed.

World Premiere

The Weekend | Stella Meghie

Photo via TIFF.

An acerbic comedian (Sasheer Zamata) becomes romantically entangled with her ex (Tone Bell), his new girlfriend (DeWanda Wise), and another guest (Y'Lan Noel) during a weekend getaway, in the newest feature from Stella Meghie (Jean of the Joneses).

World Premiere

If Beale Street Could Talk | Barry Jenkins

Photo via TIFF.

Director Barry Jenkins' ambitious follow-up to Moonlight adapts James Baldwin's poignant novel about a woman fighting to free her falsely accused husband from prison before the birth of their child.

World Premiere

Monsters and Men | Reinaldo Marcus Green

Photo via TIFF.

When a Black man is shot dead by police, three members of his community face different but serious consequences if they reveal their knowledge of the murder or the systemic corruption behind it, in writer-director Reinaldo Marcus Green's bracing feature debut.

Canadian Premiere

The 43rd Toronto International Film Festival runs from Sept. 6 to 16, 2018. Visit their website for more information.

Photo: Sundance Film Festival

South African Director Oliver Hermanus on Remaking a Classic

The award-winning director behind Skoonheid and Moffie tackles his first film set outside his home country -- a reworking of auteur Akira Kurosawa’s Ikiru -- which is premiering at this year's Sundance Film Festival.

In Living, Oliver Hermanus’ latest film, Bill Nighy takes on the role Takashi Shimura earned a BAFTA nomination for playing in the 1952 classic, Ikiru. Except Nighy's not Mr Watanabe, he’s Mr Williams, a British version of Shimura’s workaholic who finds out he only has a short time left to live. Revered auteur Akira Kurosawa’s film made its premiere at the Berlin International Film Festival in 1954, where it would go on to win him a special prize of the senate of Berlin, before garnering acclaim for many more years to come. So, too, is Hermanus' remaking of the story bowing at a film festival, and so far, it's also been earning the South African director high praise.

Born in Cape Town, Hermanus has steadily built his career on South African-centric stories. Whether it’s the portrait of a Mitchell’s Plain mother caught between poverty and violence in Shirley Adams or the experience of gay recruits conscripted into the army in Moffie, Hermanus’ films speak to various realms of South African life. Living is his first venture outside of South Africa – not just in storyline, but in cast and crew too. The screenplay is by Nobel and Booker Prize winner Kazuo Ishiguro (The Remains of The Day) and Hermanus was brought on as director by the producers.

From debuting his first film Shirley Adams in 2009 in competition at the 62nd Locarno Film Festival, followed by Skoonheid (Beauty) at the 64th Cannes Film Festival, and The Endless River at the 72nd Venice Film Festival, where it was the first South African film to be invited to the main competition, to his fourth feature, Moffie at the 76th Venice Film Festival in 2019, Hermanus has cemented his reputation as a filmmaker to watch.

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Photo by Ahmet Emin Donmez/Anadolu Agency via Getty Images

AFCON Stampede Leaves 8 Dead, 40+ Injured In Cameroonian Stadium

The unfortunate event took place Monday, ahead of the host country Cameroon's match against Comoros.

At least six people have died after a stampede broke out outside of Olembe Stadium in Cameroon's capital, Yaounde. The stampede erupted ahead of the host country's match against East African islanders Comoros, during this year's African Cup of Nations competition. Forty more were injured, while Naseri Paul Biya -- governor of the central region of Cameroon -- said there could be more casualties announced as the night progresses. “We are not in a position to give you the total number of casualties,” he said.

The violent event took place at the same stadium which hosted the tournament's opening ceremony, on January 9. The 60,000 capacity stadium was built while the host country got ready for the delayed tournament, and saw fans get crushed as they tried to make their way into the stadium. Several eye-witnesses have claimed that the disturbance took place at the stadium's entrance. Reports of injured children being crushed during the incident were also reported.

Despite the ruckus, the match went on. Minnows Comoros is ranked 132nd in the world and was diluted down to ten men... seven minutes into the game. Midfielder Najdim Abdou being dismissed during the opening exchanges for stomping on the back of Cameroon's Moumi Ngamaleu's ankle definitely didn't set the game off to an optimistic start.

Meanwhile, officials at the Messassi hospital close to the stadium said that they had received at least 40 injured people at their health center alone. Said officials spoke of their hospital being incapable of treating all of the wounded who were rushed in by police and civilians.

Photo: Mainimo Etienne

The Rwandan Woman Who Made Football History

We talked to Rwandan referee Salima Mukansanga, who is the first woman to officiate a match in the Africa Cup of Nations' 65-year history.

On the 18th of January, 2022, a woman stepped into the Ahmadou Ahidjo Stadium in Yaoundé, Cameroon, whistle in hand, a walkie-talkie tucked behind her shorts. Taking up her post as central referee for the Zimbabwe-Guinea game, she would make history as the first woman to officiate a match in the Africa Cup of Nations. Chit-chat occupied the stands, as spectators waited for the curtains to be drawn at 17:00 hours for the match to begin. Whispers of “Hope she will deliver,” could be heard, as Salima Mukansanga prepared to take to the field.

During the match, some spectators counted the 34 yellow cards she handed out at the end; others found her soft and tender with no serious refereeing issues in the game. Mukansanga leads a quartet of women match officials for this year's AFCON, with Carine Atemzabong, from Cameroon, Fatiha Jermoumi and Bouchra Karboubi, both from Morocco, present as assistant referees. Until this year’s tournament, in its 65-year history, an all-women team of refereeing officials had yet to be designated for an Africa Cup of Nations match.

With this accomplishment, 35-year-old Mukansanga has emerged as a trailblazer for other women who aspire to step out and break sporting bounds. Her role in this year’s tournament signals a major moment in the development of women refereeing in football, on the continent and for the sport as a whole.

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