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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 by Don Paulsen/Michael Ochs Archives/Getty Images

Hugh Masekela's New York City Legacy

A look back at the South African legend's time in New York City and his enduring presence in the Big Apple.

In Questlove's magnificent documentary, Summer of Soul, he captures a forgotten part of Black American music history. But in telling the tale of the 1969 Harlem Cultural Festival, the longtime musician and first-time filmmaker also captures a part of lost South African music history too.

Among the line-up of blossoming all-stars who played the Harlem festival, from a 19-year-old Stevie Wonder to a transcendent Mavis Staples, was a young Hugh Masekela. 30 years old at the time, he was riding the wave of success that came from releasing Grazing in the Grass the year before. To watch Masekela in that moment on that stage is to see him at the height of his time in New York City — a firecracker musician who entertained his audiences as much as he educated them about the political situation in his home country of South Africa.

The legacy Masekela sowed in New York City during the 1960s remains in the walls of the venues where he played, and in the dust of those that are no longer standing. It's in the records he made in studios and jazz clubs, and on the Manhattan streets where he once posed with a giant stuffed zebra for an album cover. It's a legacy that still lives on in tangible form, too, in the Hugh Masekela Heritage Scholarship at the Manhattan School of Music.

The school is the place where Masekela received his education and met some of the people that would go on to be life-long bandmates and friends, from Larry Willis (who, as the story goes, Masekela convinced to give up opera for piano) to Morris Goldberg, Herbie Hancock and Stewart Levine, "his brother and musical compadre," as Mabusha Masekela, Bra Hugh's nephew says.

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Music

The Fugees Will Be Playing Live Concerts In Ghana & Nigeria

Ready or not.

The legendary Fugees have announced that they will be reuniting for their first shows in 15 years for a string of concerts across North America, Europe and West Africa.

The reunion tour will be celebrating the anniversary of their classic 1996 album, The Score.

Ms. Lauryn Hill, Wyclef Jean and Pras Michel will be embarking on a 12-city global tour, which will have them landing in Nigeria and Ghana for a pair of December show dates — we'll have more details on those to come.

The tour starts this week with a 'secret' pop-up show at an undisclosed location in New York City on Wednesday (9/22) in support of Global Citizen Live. The rest of the dates will kick-off in November and see The Fugees playing concerts across Chicago Los Angeles, Atlanta, Oakland, Miami, Newark, Paris, London, and Washington DC, before finishing off in Nigeria and Ghana.

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Interview

This Compilation Shines a Light On East African Underground Music

We talk to a few of the artists featured on the Music For the Eagles compilation from Uganda's Nyege Nyege.

Nyege Nyege, a label in Kampala, Uganda is channelling the confidence brimming over a whole continent. Africa is no longer the future. For dance music, its time is right now.

Music For the Eagles is a compilation released in conjunction with Soundcloud to showcase the best new acts that East Africa has to offer outside the mainstream. A new wave of artists firmly blasting non-conformist energy for you to spasm to. Music that takes you places. Otim Alpha's high BPM wedding frenzy of incessant rasping vocals accompanied by feverous violin will have you clawing the walls to oblivion. Anti Vairas' dancehall from a battleship with super galactic intentions doesn't even break a sweat as it ruins you. FLO's beautiful sirens call, is a skittish and detuned nursery rhyme that hints at a yearning for love but reveals something far more unnerving. Ecko Bazz's tough spiralling vocal over sub-bass and devil trap energy is an anthem that can only be bewailed. And Kidane Fighter's tune is more trance-like prayer. These are only some of the highlights for you to shake it out to.

We got to chat with a few of the artists featured on the Music For the Eagles compilation as they took a break from the studio below.

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