CaribbeanTales kicks 2009 with stellar film line-up

CTales09posterTORONTO – This Spring/Summer 2009, CaribbeanTales presents a fantastic program of theatre and film screenings, workshops, forums and panels all celebrating the rich diversity of contemporary Caribbean and Caribbean-Canadian culture.

“Our company is growing and naturally we are incredibly excited to be partnering with such dynamic Canadian institutions as Hot Docs, the University of Toronto, and The Fringe Festival,” said Caribbean Tales Founder and Artistic Director Frances-Anne Solomon.

In May, at the Hot Docs Canadian International Documentary Festival (April 30th to May 10th), CaribbeanTales will co-present Luciano Biotta’s extraordinary film Rise-Up, screening at Innis Town Hall on Friday, May 8th, 2009 at 7:15pm; Bloor Cinema on Saturday, May 9, 2009 at 11:59pm; and the Royal Cinema on Sunday, May 10th, 2009 at 4pm. The piece dives deep into the Kingston ghetto where reggae was born, documenting real-life interviews with local established and underground musicians including Lee “Scratch” Perry, Sly Dunbar and Robbie Shakespeare.

In July, CaribbeanTales in association with Leda Serene Films will stage the world premiere of award-winning director Frances-Anne Solomon’s new theatrical production Lockdown, brought to audiences for the first time ever at Toronto’s largest theatre festival, The Toronto Fringe Festival (July 1st to 12th). Lockdown’s fictional story traces the fortunes of a group of young people held hostage during a high school lockdown. The high octane script picks apart the violence that threatens to undermine their dreams. The play stars a number of established performers including Jamaican icon Leonie Forbes (What My Mother Told Me, Lord Have Mercy, A Winter Tale), and rising Toronto actor Michael Miller (A Winter Tale, Get Rich or Die Trying) alongside a diverse ensemble of talented young performers selected through citywide auditions held across the GTA last June.

Lockdown follows the success of Solomon’s highly acclaimed feature film A Winter Tale – an emotional story about a Black Men’s Support Group that comes together in a local Toronto Caribbean take-out restaurant in the wake of gun violence that takes the life of a young child. Among many prestigious international awards, most recently at FESPACO 2009 (Africa’s Oscars held biannually in Burkina Faso, West Africa), A Winter Tale was nominated for Paul Robeson Diaspora Award and received Special Mention in this category.

Also in July, the CaribbeanTales Annual Film Festival (July 9th to 12th 2009) now in its fourth year, partners with New College, University of Toronto, and U of T’s Caribbean Studies Program. This year’s theme, “Caribbean Film – a Tool for Education and Social Change”, features presentations and screenings from filmmakers and producers from Trinidad and Tobago, Jamaica, Barbados, Antigua, the Eastern Caribbean, the UK, Africa, and the U.S.

This is Canada’s only standalone festival offering the best of Caribbean cinema from all around the world. It will present four days of exciting film screenings, thought-provoking Talk Back sessions, industry panels, hands-on workshops, a Filmmakers’ Forum, and a Youth Day.

This year’s festival honors the award-winning career of director Euzhan Palcy, from Martinique, who became the first woman of African descent to ever direct a Hollywood Studio movie with MGM’s A Dry White Season, starring Donald Sutherland, Marlon Brando and Susan Sarandon. Considered by many as one of the world’s most influential filmmakers, Ms. Palcy is best known for her debut feature Sugar Cane Alley, winning over 17 international prizes including the Silver Lion and Best Lead Actress Award at the Venice Film Festival, and the Cesar Award for Best First Feature Film.

CaribbeanTales founder and curator Frances-Anne Solomon is an accomplished filmmaker, writer, director and producer, whose recent projects include A Winter Tale (for Telefilm Canada/CHUM Television); Heart Beat – a documentary series profiling Caribbean-Canadian musical creators; Literature Alive a many faceted multimedia project profiling Caribbean authors; and the Gemini-nominated hit sitcom Lord Have Mercy!, Canada’s landmark multicultural sitcom, for Vision TV, Toronto1, APTN and Showcase.

CaribbeanTales is Canada’s premier multimedia company that creates, markets and distributes educational films, videos, radio programs, audio books, theatre plays, web sites and events showcasing the rich heritage of Caribbean and Caribbean Diasporic heritage worldwide.

CaribbeanTales’ mandate is to foster and encourage intercultural understanding and citizen participation through the medium of film, contributing to an inclusive Canadian society.

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