Harry Belafonte and Stedman Graham to appear at Black Film Festival
Legendary singer and activist Harry Belafonte, and renowned business executive, motivational speaker and author Stedman Graham will be in Montreal to be honored for their respective cultural and philanthropic contributions at the 8th annual Montreal International Black Film Festival (MIBFF), which takes place from September 19-30. Belafonte will be given Stuart Nulman Grapevine the 2012 Humanitarian Prize for his tireless efforts in the Civil Rights Movement during the 60s, as well as his efforts in conquering injustice and promoting social justice and equality, at the opening night ceremonies of the festival on September 19 at the Imperial Theatre. The following day, he will be present at the screening of "Sing My Song", a documentary that tells the story of Belafonte's life and career,in Room H-110 of the Hall Building of Concordia University starting at 7 p.m. Graham will receive the festival's 2012 Career Achievement Award, in recognition of his efforts in the corporate and non-profit worlds through his unique training methods that deal with identity development, leadership, diversity training, personal wellness, and personal and professional branding, on September 27 at the Hyatt Regency Hotel starting at 7 p.m.As well, he will present his "The Nine-Step Plan For Success" conference that same night at the Hyatt. "What is the secret behind the success of this festival? It has the best team a festival can associate itself with,with volunteers who are motivated and enthusiastic, a president who thinks the sky's the limit and a curious public who want to see the films that we're presenting," said Fabienne Colas, the MIBFF's lively, dynamic president,whose foundation is presenting the festival along with Global Montreal. The MIBFF will be presenting a total of 115 films from 40 different countries in 10 categories ranging from drama, to comedy, to Haiti, to human conditions, to the changing face of Africa. Popular Quebec radio and TV personality Sonia Benezra was named as this year's MIBFF spokesperson and marveled at how the festival celebrates diversity, human struggles and human triumphs through the films that it will be featuring."It is with great pride and humility that I accept being the festival's spokesperson.I hope I do you proud," she told a gathering of press, sponsors, festival personnel and jury members at a press conference held last week at the Cinematheque Quebecois. Some of the films that will be showcased at the 8th annual Montreal International Black Film Festival include: * "Winnie", the biopic about Winnie Mandela and how she fought against apartheid in South Africa alongside her husband Nelson Mandela, starring Oscarwinning actress/singer Jennifer Hudson in the title role. Darrell Roodt, the film's director, will be present at the opening screening on September 19. * "Sonny Boy", the true story about a forbidden love affair between a Dutch mother of four and a young Surinamese man in the Netherlands during World War II. * "The Girls in the Band", a documentary that profiles several female jazz and big band instrumentalists from the 1930s to today, and their struggles to gain respect and acceptance for their musical talent. -"The Central Park Five", the powerful feature documentary that will close the festival on September 30 at 7 p.m. at the Imperial Theatre. Directed by Ken Burns ("The Civil War", "Baseball"), David McMahon and Sarah Burns, it tells about the five Black and Latino teenagers who were accused of one of the most horrific crimes in the history of New York City, when a young white female was severely beaten and raped while jogging in Central Park in 1989, and the sensational trial that followed the crime.Sarah Burns will be present at the screening. Individual tickets for MIBFF screenings are $10 each. As well there are different types of passes for those who want to attend multiple screenings: $70 for a 10-film pass, $100 for a Movie- Buff Pass, $150 for a Movie Passport,and $300 for a Prestige Pass (which also includes admission to the Harry Belafonte and Stedman Graham events). The majority of the screenings will take place at the Cinema du Parc, located at 3575 Avenue du Parc. For more information about the Montreal International Black Film Festival, go to their website at: montrealblackfilm.com . * * * If you can't get enough of the local theatre scene, then check out Quebec Drama Federation's (QDF) Fall Calendar Launch event on Septem- ber 17 at the Centaur Theatre, located at 453 St.Francois Xavier in Old Montreal; doors open at 6:30 p.m. and the event starts at 7 p.m., and admission is free. Hosted by Robin Henderson of the local dance troupe "Dance Animal", the evening will feature preview performances of 16 productions from 16 of Quebec's independent English language theatre companies that are going to be presented throughout this fall. Some of the productions to be previewed at the launch include: "Guys and Dolls" (Segal Centre for the Performing Arts),"Jabber & Whispers in the Air" (Geordie Productions), "Richard III" (Metachroma Productions), "The Widow Schwartz" (Hudson Players Club), "The Butler Did It" (Lakeshore Players), and "Good People andAugust:AnAfternoon in the Country" (Centaur Theatre). The QDF Fall Calendar Launch will also serve as the launching point for the jury process of the upcoming Montreal Theatre Awards, which will honor the best in Montreal English language theatre on an annual basis. The first awards ceremony is slated to take place next September. For more information about the launch or the QDF,go to www.quebecdrama.org. * * * Fans of stand-up comedy will be pleased to learn that Jerry Seinfeld, who has made an entire superstar career from his comic observations about "nothing and everything", is bringing a whole new show of new observations on December 1 for two performances at Place desArts (7 p.m. and 9:30 p.m.). Seinfeld returned to his stand-up comedy roots after his mega-successful sitcom "Seinfeld" signed off in 1998 after nine years on NBC, and has been playing to sold out houses ever since (including four sold out shows at Toronto's Sony Centre this past spring). Tickets for the live Seinfeld shows in Montreal, which are being presented by Just For Laughs and JS Touring, cost $65.50, $85.50 and $99.50 and are now on sale.To purchase tickets, call 514-842-2112, or go to: laplacedesarts.com. * * * The Lakeshore General Hospital Foundation is launching their 6th annual fundraising campaign on September 18, 9:30 a.m., in the main rotunda of the hospital, located at 160 Stillview in Pointe Claire. This year's campaign theme is "Life Can Change in an Instant" and will focus on quality healthcare that can be done close to home. All donations raised during the 2012-2013 campaign will go towards the foundation's mandate to elevate the hospital's quality of care. Present at the launch will be this year's Campaign Chairman Senator Larry Smith, foundation president Silvana Orrino, and foundation board of directors chairman Nick DiTomaso.The public is also invited to attend the launch event and refreshments will be served. For more information, go to www.lakeshorefoundation.ca. * * * Stay tuned to next week's Grapevine for a full report from the 2012 Montreal Comiccon. * * * If you have an event that you want publicized in the Grapevine, please send the information to my attention at: bookbanter @hotmail.com .
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