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To open the 7th annual Toronto Black Film Festival as a Canadian Premiere

Based on True Events: a Troubled Relationship Between a Mother and Her Drug Addicted Son

Selected as the South African entry for the 2019 Golden Globe Best Foreign Film award.


Wednesday, February 13, 2019 – 8PM at Isabel Bader Theatre

Tickets on sale now at www.torontoblackfilm.com


Toronto, January 10, 2019 – The Toronto Black Film Festival – TBFF will launch its seventh edition with the Canadian Premiere of Daryne Joshua’s Ellen: The Ellen Pakkies Story on Wednesday, February 13 – 8PM at Isabel Bader Theatre. South Africa’s official selection to the 2019 Golden Globes (Best Foreign Language Film category), the film had its world Premiere at the Rotterdam International Film Festival in 2018 to rave reviews. TBFF19, founded by the Fabienne Colas Foundation, is presented by TD Bank in collaboration with Global News from February 13 – 18, 2019. Tickets to the opening night are on sale now here.

“It’s a true privilege to be able to open #TBFF19 with such a poignant film. Over the years, South Africa has offered us the most touching and out of the ordinary stories on screen. Having said that, Daryne Joshua’s ‘Ellen: The Ellen Pakkies Story’ is one of a kind!” – Fabienne Colas, President and Founder of TBFF

Based on true events, Ellen: The Ellen Pakkies Story tells of the troubled relationship between a mother and her drug-addicted son – a relationship that will eventually drive her to the edge and lead to his murder. In 2007, the death of 20 year old Abie Pakkies created a stir in South Africa and the world. The most disturbing part of the case was that the murderer was his mother, Ellen.

Ellen’s story is incredibly heart-breaking, and the film effortlessly takes audiences through her case while giving insight into the array of emotions and events that life throws at her. It’s easily the best film to come out of South Africa in 2018 and one of the best local productions ever made.” – People Magazine South Africa

Daryne Joshua is a writer, director, producer and co-founder of Gambit Films. In 2016, his debut feature film, Noem My Skollie, was South Africa’s official entry into the 89th Academy Awards, in contention for Best Foreign Language Film. Noem My Skollie went on to win numerous accolades at various international film festivals including the Pan African Film Festival De Cannes and Black Star International Film Festival. Skollie was also nominated for 7 African Oscars and won 5 SAFTA awards. Daryne’s second feature, Ellen: Die Ellen Pakkies Stories premiered at the Rotterdam International Film Festival in 2018 to rave reviews.

The seventh annual Toronto Black Film Festival is presented by TD Bank in collaboration with Global News from February 13 – 18, 2019.


#TBFF19 will be announcing all celebrity guests and the program line-up for this year on January 23 at 10:30 AM, Carlton Cinema (20 Carlton Street).  

RSVP: Jessica Glover:  jessica@glocommunications.ca

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To learn more, please visit:



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For Media Inquiries:

Jessica Glover, publicist | jessica@glocommunications.ca  | 416-892-4833

Talar Adam, Press Relations Director
| Press@TorontoBlackFilm.com  | 514-833-0274


About the Toronto Black Film Festival

Founded by the Fabienne Colas Foundation, TBFF is dedicated to celebrating the very best in cinematic work dealing with the experiences of black people from a diversity of communities. Our mandate is to provide an opportunity for filmmakers from all ethnic backgrounds to shine the spotlight on authentic stories that reflect the realities of black experiences. Along with its sister festivals, the Montreal International Black Film Festival (now in its 13thyear) and the new Halifax Black Film Festival, TBFF showcases new voices in cinema and encourages audiences to see the world in new ways. In connecting black films with diverse audiences, we recognize the differences that make us unique while celebrating the shared values that bring us together.


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