Fabienne Colas has long established herself as a powerhouse in the arts and entertainment industry. It’s an easy designation for the woman who created and manages seven festivals in Montreal, Toronto, Halifax, New York City and Port-au-Prince.
Under her Fabienne Colas Foundation, she launched the flagship Montreal Haitian Film Festival in 2005, which grew four years later to what we now know as the Montreal International Black Film Festival. Colas then established festivals in other cities across North America and Haiti, all in her effort to promote and showcase Black filmmakers as well as Canadian and international cinema, art and culture.
Over the years, the festivals have attracted millions of visitors and a steady stream of industry heavyweights to Montreal, including Harry Belafonte, Stedman Graham, Danny Glover, Spike Lee, Martin Luther King III, Wyclef Jean, Alfre Woodard, Lou Gossett Jr., Souleymane Cissé, Clement Virgo, Gbenga Akinagbe and Manno Charlemagne.
Along the way, Colas’ Foundation has earned a slew of commendations for its contributions to cinema, theatre, philanthropy and social justice causes.
In 2012, the Foundation launched Fade To Black/Fondu au noir for Black History Month in an effort to broaden the conversation around people of African descent and their place in Quebec and Canada.
The one-week festival features a series of panel discussions and workshops, online interviews and concerts showcasing an exciting lineup of films by Black creators.
Colas says Fade To Black/Fondu au noir had an immediate impact when it was launched.
“This festival was a success from Day One because people wanted an opportunity to enjoy the best in arts and culture produced by Black artists, but they also wanted to explore issues such as social justice, leadership, entrepreneurship, mental health, and topics relevant to women.”
She is particularly excited about the 2023 lineup of events, which runs from February 8-12 and focuses heavily on women, their achievements and contributions. This year’s festival will also include a series of roundtables and panel discussions with a lineup of high-achieving young Black men and women; the showing of about a dozen short films and a concert by Senegalese-born singer Ilam and her special style of afropop flavored by blues, reggae, jazz and soul.
“I’m really looking forward to my interview of Dominque Anglade, her first since stepping down as leader of the Quebec Liberal Party, as well as other interviews with Quebec senator, The Honorable Amina Gerba and (cultural icon) Zab Maboungou.”
Colas says this year’s Fade To Black/Fondu au noir is particularly significant because it signals an emergence out of the challenges of the pandemic, “which hit us like a ton of bricks.”
Colas credits the support that the festival has received through the TD Ready Commitment, TD Bank Group’s corporate citizenship platform, and the generosity of its community partners since its inception, for its survival.
“They were there as we navigated our way out of the pandemic and without their support, we couldn’t have made it!”
Fade To Black/Fondu au noir, created by the Fabienne Colas Foundation and presented by TD Bank Group, celebrates its 12th edition with a special in-person and online edition to mark Black History Month 2023, from February 8 to 12. For more information visit https://www.facebook.com/FadeToBlackfestivalFonduAuNoir