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MPENZI:Black Women’s International Film & Video Festival


MPENZI: Black Women’s International Film and Video Festival
A Celebration of work by Black and Queer Black women writers, producers and directors

Friday, February 11th, 2005 6:30 - 9:30pm
National Film Board of Canada, 150 John Street, Toronto, Ontario


The first annual MPENZI: Black Women’s International Film and Video Festival will take place at the National Film Board of Canada, 150 John Street in Toronto, on Friday, February 11th, 2005 from 6:30 – 9:30pm.

MPENZI is showcasing 10 shorts from Black women filmmakers from Canada, the USA, the UK, Burkina Faso and Zimbabwe. Many of the filmmakers are from Toronto, including work from young women at Regent Park Focus. It will be an evening to celebrate the views, creativity, and talents of Black women in film. The 3-hour program is centred on the themes of Personal History, Memories and Identity, and includes a panel discussion and Q & A with filmmakers in attendance.

Tickets are $8.00 in advance and $10.00 at the door, and a limited number of sliding scale tickets are also available. Starting January 21, tickets can be purchased at the Toronto Women’s Bookstore, 73 Harbord St. (at Spadina) and A Different Booklist, 746 Bathurst St. (south of Bloor). The festival is wheelchair accessible. Free childcare is available by registering before February 7. The NFB children’s video The Cora Player, Cilia Sawadogo, Co-Writer & Director (Burkina Faso / CAN 1996, 35mm 7 min.) will be screened.

The program, including the films / videos selected for screening, is as follows:

Surrounded by Water, Michele Clarke, Writer & Director (CAN 2003, Super 8 on Video, 2 min.)
Surrounded by Water is about home and where you come from. Filmmaker in attendance.

Eden’s Wake, Sarah Michelle Brown, Writer, Producer & Director (CAN 2004, Video, 15 min.)

Eden’s Wake takes place in a contemporary Garden of Eden. It is a poetic film in which Adam has given Eve HIV. Now separated, Adam battles with his conscience, while Eve struggles to fight through her rage to find the key to her peace of mind…if it exists. Filmmaker in attendance.

Gift for the Living, Tamika Miller, Writer & Director (USA 2004, 35mm 18 min.)

Inspired by the O. Henry short story “Gift of the Magi”, Gift for the Living is a story about a grandmother and her granddaughter who each, without the other’s knowledge, sell their most treasured possession in order to buy the other a birthday gift.

Reunion, Frances-Anne Solomon, Producer & Director (UK 1994, Video 30 min.)
Reunion is a docudrama that captures the reunion of five women from the Caribbean 50 years after they served in the ATS (Auxiliary Territorial Service) during World War II.

Intermission / Reception – complimentary light refreshments served

Forbidden Fruit, Sue Maluwa Bruce, Beate Kunath and Yvonne Zuechmantel, Co-Writers & Co-Directors (Germany / Zimbabwe 2000, MiniDV 30 min.)

Forbidden Fruit breaks the silence and taboo about sexual identity and lesbian love in African Society. With English sub-titles. A Women Make Movies Release.

Me in the Mirror, Karen Chapman, Director (CAN 2004, MiniDV 4 min.)
From skin colour to body weight, Me in the Mirror addresses the extent to which Black women pursue society’s preconceived notion of beauty.

Excuse me Sir, Helen McKnight, Writer & Director (CAN 2004, Video 5 min.)
Notes from an Africana woman who gets mistaken for a man. This video combines commentary and visual imagery, challenging us to examine our ideas of the feminine. Filmmaker in attendance.

Almost Forgot my Bones, Tanya Evanson, Writer & Katrina Bowen, Director (CAN 2004, Panasonic 24P, 5 min.)
An African Canadian woman goes in search of her roots when transplanted to a new city. Her grandmother appears to her in a vision and this forces her to look at herself.

Safer Sex, Amber Wyn & Karen Lewis, Co-Directors, Regent Park Focus E.Y.E. Video, Producer (CAN 2004, Video 2 min.)
Safer Sex tracks the internal conversation of a young girl who is being pressured to have unprotected sex. The work of two Eastern Commerce High School students.

Panel Discussion and Q & A with Filmmakers moderated by Filmmaker Alison Duke

Mpenzi: Black Women’s International Film and Video Festival is sponsored by the following: National Film Board of Canada; Institute for Women’s Studies and Gender Studies at the University of Toronto; Toronto Rape Crisis Centre / Multicultural Women Against Rape; Regent Park Focus E.Y.E. Media; Inside Out Toronto Lesbian and Gay Film and Video Festival; Trinity Square Video; Toronto Film School; V tape; Women Make Movies; Toronto Women’s Bookstore; A Different Booklist; CKLN 88.1 FM; CHRY 105.5 FM; Xtra!; NOW; and Patron Arleen Huggins.

Supporters: Albert’s Real Jamaican Foods, My Market Bakery, Raani Foods, The Raging Spoon and Vegan Delight.

The Advisory Committee members are: Filmmakers Alison Duke and Dawn Wilkinson; Camera Operator Collette Browne; Programmers Kathleen Mullen and Nadia Hohn; Writer and Equity Workshop Facilitator Annemarie Shrouder; Civil Rights Lawyer Kikélola Roach; Mentor Yvonne Huggins; Student and Writer MJ Rwigema; and Web Mistress Natasha Sawyer.

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National Film Board   Institute for Women’s Studies and Gender Studies   Toronto Rape Crisis Centre / Multicultural Women Against Rape   Inside Out Toronto Lesbian and Gay Film and Video Festival   Regent Park Focus
V-Tape   A Different Booklist   Trinity Square Video  Women Make Movies  Toronto Women's Bookstore
CKLN  CHRY   Toronto Film School   Xtra! Magazine   NOW Magazine

Patron: Arlene Huggins

Supporters: My Market Bakery, Raani Foods, Vegan Delight, The Raging Spoon, Albert's Real Jamaican Foods

For more info, media inquiries, sponsorship interests, to join our mailing list, or to register for childcare, please contact:

Adonica Huggins
Program Director
Mpenzi: Black Women’s International Film and Video Festival
IWSGS, New College, U of T
40 Willcocks Street, Room 2032
Toronto, Ontario
M5S 1C6
Tel: (416) 533-8157
Web site:

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