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opens with Nova Scotia premiere of documentary


by Bob Hercules and Rita Coburn Whack

Saturday, March 4, 2017 – 7pm – SPATZ Theatre 

Halifax, February 8, 2017 – Fabienne Colas, founder and president of the Halifax Black Film Festival – #HBFF, announced today that Canada’s largest Black Film Festival, the Montreal International Black Film Festival, and the hugely successful Toronto Black Film Festival, will be expanding to Halifax. Coinciding with Black History Month celebrations, the inaugural fest will be presented by TD Bank in collaboration with Global News and will take place on Saturday, March 4, 2017, 7 p.m. at the Spatz Theatre (1855 Trollope Street, Halifax).

“We are thrilled to open the Halifax Black Film Festival with a documentary about an extraordinary woman: Dr. Maya Angelou,” said HBFF president and founder Fabienne Colas. “The Halifax Black Film Festival aims to become a destination for culture lovers in Halifax and to give unique voices in cinema the opportunity to present audiences with new ways of looking at the world. In connecting black films with viewers of all colours and ethnic origins we recognize the differences that make us unique and celebrate the shared values that bring us together. Films illuminate, entertain and invite audiences to see the world from another person’s experience. Coming together through art allows members of all cultural communities to better understand one another.”

Since their inception, both the Montreal and Toronto Black Film Festivals have been attracting tens of thousands of festival-goers of all ages and from diverse origins. Past editions have welcomed or paid tribute to celebrities such as Harry Belafonte, Dany Glover, Spike Lee, Stedman Graham, Alfre Woodard, Paul Haggis, Bill Cobbs, Clement Virgo, Souleymane Cissé, Dany Laferrière and more.

The Halifax Black Film Festival, the 3rd Black Film Festival initiated by the Fabienne Colas Foundation, inaugurates with the Nova Scotia premiere of Maya Angelou and Still I Rise a documentary by directors Bob Hercules and Rita Coburn Whack. Both filmmakers will be present for the Halifax screening.

Maya Angelou and Still I Rise is the first documentary focusing on the poet, writer, actor, dancer, and civil rights activist, Dr. Maya Angelou. 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 skillful 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.

“Most people know the surface persona of Maya Angelou as a writer, poet and civil-rights activist, but few know the amazing breadth of her personal life. A warm, celebratory documentary on the renaissance woman.” – The Hollywood Reporter

“One of the foremost 20th-century shapers of an African-American literature and identity, the subject of “Maya Angelou and Still I Rise” wore many hats in a long, complicated life that has been given valedictory treatment in Bob Hercules and Rita Coburn Whack’s documentary”. – Variety

Maya Angelou: And Still I Rise. The opportunity to spend time exploring the rich and complex life, as painful as it was joyous, of this exceptional writer was as nourishing as it sounds”. – Los Angeles Times

“What Coburn Whack and Hercules do so well is capture Angelou’s power and elegance, which seems to have increased as she got older. No hagiography, it paints a portrait of a life lived to the full and dedicated to being true to oneself”. – The Guardian

TD is delighted this year to be presenting the inaugural Halifax Black Film Festival, part of TD’s 2017 Black History Month series celebrating arts and culture. We know that both residents and visitors to Halifax will be thrilled with this new exciting event!” said Andre Lucas, Manager, Community Relations, TD Bank Group.

Global News is delighted to partner with the Fabienne Colas Foundation for the inaugural Halifax Black Film Festival,” said Jim Haskins, Station Manager & News Director, Global Halifax. Kudos to the festival organizers for celebrating Canada’s diverse and vibrant arts community.”

The inaugural Halifax Black Film Festival is dedicated to Nova Scotia born civil rights icon, Viola Desmond, who in 1946 took a brave stand at a segregated Nova Scotia movie theatre. Desmond will be the face of the Canadian $10 bill in 2018. The event is also proudly part of Canada’s 150th Anniversary of Confederation.

About the Halifax Black Film Festival – #HBFF17

Created in 2017 by the Fabienne Colas Foundation (FCF), the Halifax Black Film Festival is the 3rd black film festival in Canada created by the FCF. In 2005, the FCF created the Montreal International Black Film Festival (MIBFF) which became Canada’s largest Black Film Festival, entirely dedicated to black reality from all four corners of the globe. In 2013, the Fabienne Colas Foundation created the Toronto Black Film Festival, which is celebrating its 5th edition this February 2017.  The Halifax Black Film Festival is dedicated to celebrating the very best in cinematic work dealing with the varied experiences of black people from diverse communities. Their mandate is to provide an opportunity for filmmakers to shine the spotlight on authentic stories that reflect the realities of black experiences.

Keep on top of the latest festival news by visiting:,

liking on Facebook: / 

and following on Twitter:  @HABlackFilmFest and Instagram: @HalifaxBlackFilmFest



For more information, interviews, and promotional material:

Wendy Phillips, Phillips Public Relations Ltd.
(902) 492-0960 /

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