February 12 - 17, 2025

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Article From theStar.com :

Fabienne Colas started black film festivals in Montreal and Toronto to address the same diversity issues plaguing the Academy Awards, as Hollywood navigates bold-face boycotts and an intensified repeat of last year’s #OscarsSoWhite social media protest.

“It’s like déjà vu but the difference this time is you need to do something about it,” said Colas, a Haitian-Canadian actress and filmmaker, who announced the lineup for the fourth Toronto Black Film Festival on Wednesday.

“Every year we keep saying the same things: be nice and understanding — and nothing is happening. It’s getting worse,” said Colas.

She was reacting to the evolving story out of Hollywood where Will Smith has announced he’ll join his wife, Jada Pinkett Smith and filmmaker Spike Lee in skipping the Feb. 28 Oscars after nominations revealed all 20 Academy Award acting nominees are white.

“We need to act. Something must be done,” Colas said, adding she doesn’t think a boycott is “the most powerful way” to make a statement. Visibility is the key.

TV and movies must reflect “the mirror of society,” said Colas, also calling for show hosts and presenters, awards juries and those deciding on film funding to embrace diversity.

“Cinema and television should reflect the reality of society and we cannot be part of the picture and not see ourselves in the picture,” Colas observed. “We need inclusion, we need to feel we are all the same, part of the same race — the human race.”

In contrast, the Canadian Screen Awards announced its nominations in film, TV and digital on Tuesday with a noticeably diverse slate this year, including 11 nods for miniseries The Book of Negroes and six for Aboriginal Peoples Television Network programs. Among the acting nominations were nods for Waris Ahluwalia and Balinder Johal for Beeba Boys and Irdens Exantus, co-star of My Internship in Canada.

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