A man views posters outside the Globe Cinema in Calgary on Monday, May 23, 2022. (Photo by Steven Wilhelm/The Emery Weal)

The Calgary Black Film Festival (CBFF) is bringing diversity to Calgary with films from across Canada and around the world.

This festival is “A platform for Black filmmakers, who otherwise would have never had the opportunity to see their films on the big screen,” said Andrea Este, head coordinator of the CBFF. 

“If you look at mainstream cinema, it’s very rare that you’re going to see films from Black filmmakers.” 

However, inclusion and diversity are a focus at the festival, according to Este.

“We really want to make it clear that the festival is for everyone,” said Este.

“It’s not just for Black people, it’s for everyone to come and see these beautiful films we’d otherwise never have a chance to see.”

Breaking Stereotypes

Andrea Este poses for a portrait in the lobby of the Residence Inn by Marriott in Calgary on Monday, May 23, 2022. Este is the head coordinator of the Black Film festivals across Canada. (Photo by Steven Wilhelm/The Emery Weal)

Films in the festival can be by any group, not just black filmmakers, as long as the story is a Black story, according to Este.

“The festival gives the opportunity to let these creatives come and have something of their own, to be able to say, ‘Hey, we have a Black film festival,’” said Este.

“It’s about showing films from the Black community, for the Black community.”

Este also spoke briefly about stereotypes and assumptions in TV and film, saying, “You see a Black man driving a beautiful car in a suit. ‘Well, he must deal drugs.’ No, he’s a CEO, so it’s just to push past those boundaries and past those preconceived notions and stereotypes.”

The opening film The White Line, directed by Desiree Kahikopo-Meiffret, was filmed in Namibia, a country in Africa.

The White Line tells a love story between a White police officer and a Black maid in the time of apartheid in South West Africa.

To illustrate stories from diverse backgrounds, Kahikopo hopes to break stereotypes.

“It’s really important to have diverse stories from different parts of the world that we all have access to,” said Kahikopo.

Inclusive Festival for Everyone

The White Line kicks off the festival on May 26 at 7 p.m. at the Globe Cinema.

In addition, the movie will be shown online at the same time. All of this year’s films will be available online at 9 p.m. on May 26.

Kahikopo said the festival is a way for her film to access audiences that normally wouldn’t have a chance to see it.

“People get to see different films from different places globally,” said Kahikopo. “We go through life’s journey similarly, seeking the same things.”

“On a global scale, if we remove the borders, we are really just human beings looking for the same thing.”

Additionally, the second annual CBFF is happening in person for the first time in Calgary. The films are showing at the Globe Cinema, Contemporary Calgary, and the Central Library from May 26 to 29.

To learn more, visit calgaryblackfilm.com.

The Globe Cinema in Calgary on Monday, May 23, 2022. The opening film, The White Line, directed by Desiree Kahikopo-Meiffret will be showing at the Globe Cinema on Thursday, May 26 at 7 p.m. (Photo by Steven Wilhelm/The Emery Weal)

Steven Wilhelm is a photojournalist and recent graduate from SAIT. You can find more of his work on his website, stevenwilhelm.net, where you can reach out and collaborate with him.

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