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Inaugural Halifax Black Film Festival opens with documentary about Maya Angelou

Filmmaker Rita Coburn Whack will be in attendance at the screening of Maya Angelou And Still I Rise on March 4 at the Spatz Theatre in Halifax.
Maya Angelou Picture
In this photo from April 1978 American poet and author Maya Angelou gestures while speaking in a chair during an interview at her home. The documentary Maya Angelou and Still I Rise opens the inaugural Halifax Black Film Festival. (Photo by Jack Sotomayor/New York Times Co./Getty Images)

The inaugural Halifax Black Film Festival will open with a screening of a documentary about American poet and civil rights activist Maya Angelou.

Maya Angelou And Still I Rise, by Bob Hercules and Rita Coburn Whack, will screen March 4 at 7 p.m. at the Spatz Theatre in Citadel High School.

The Halifax Black Film Festival is the third black film festival in Canada created by the Fabienne Colas Foundation.

The festival "is dedicated to celebrating the very best in cinematic work dealing with the varied experiences of black people from diverse communities," said a news release. "Their mandate is to provide an opportunity for filmmakers to shine the spotlight on authentic stories that reflect the realities of black experiences."

The foundation created the Montreal International Black Film Festival, which became Canada’s largest black film festival, in 2005, and the Toronto Black Film Festival in 2013.

“We are thrilled to open the Halifax Black Film Festival with a documentary about an extraordinary woman: Dr. Maya Angelou,” festival president and founder Fabienne Colas said in the release.

“Combined with the expertise of our Halifax team, we will use those 17 years of experience and success in Montreal and Toronto to make the Halifax Black Film Festival a destination for culture lovers in the city.”

Whack will be in attendance for the screening of Maya Angelou And Still I Rise, the first documentary focusing on the poet, writer, actor, dancer and civil rights activist, said the release. It was an official selection of the Sundance Film Festival and the Montreal International Black Film Festival in 2016.

"An emblematic figure of American history, Dr. Angelou’s inner circle of friends, with their unmatched access to her life, are taking this opportunity to tell the world about this great woman and her life journey. Maya Angelou And Still I Rise is a skilful biography of a woman who became a global symbol for peace, humility and freedom. This documentary allows viewers to uncover the lesser-known fragments of Dr. Angelou’s life that made her an exceptional woman in all of her work."  

Tickets are $20 in advance and $25 at the door (plus tax and service fee) and are on sale here.  

The inaugural Halifax Black Film Festival (#HBFF17) is dedicated to Nova Scotia civil rights icon Viola Desmond, who in 1946 was fined for tax evasion after she took a seat in a whites-only section of a segregated movie theatre in New Glasgow. Desmond was pardoned in 2010 and will be on the Canadian $10 bill in 2018. 


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