The Toronto International Film Festival 2016 happened almost parallel to the CaribbeanTales Film Festival as I noted earlier, and this year I got to take advantage of a little of that overlap.
TIFF x Blackhouse: The Blackhouse Foundation is an organization that, "believes in the importance & power of diversity in film. Our goal: expand opportunities, increase knowledge & provide support for Black filmmakers in the US & abroad via partnerships w/the world's most prominent festivals." This year they hosted panels at the TIFF Bell Lightbox in collaboration with the Will and Jada Smith Foundation which I found myself attending (cough-cough-gatecrashed-cough-cough) and heard some great insights into the state of diversity in filmmaking and directing today, particularly in Canada. The panel I gained the most from was the "How To Make A Film In Canada" one, where I heard some straight-talking, no BS responses from established black writers, producers and directors like Dawn Wilkinson, Sudz Sutherland, Jennifer Holness and Clement Virgo. I also met Nick Cannon. :)
TIFF x Manifesto: This year, TIFF also partnered with the Manifesto Festival for the latter's 10th anniversary, and screened two films, actor/director/writer Noel Clarke's British crime dramas KiDULTHOOD (2006) and AdULTHOOD (2008) in anticipation of the premiere of the third film in the trilogy, BrOTHERHOOD, at TIFF2016.
I first encountered Noel Clarke on on the rebooted version of Dr Who (aka #NuWho), as Mickey Smith, the hapless boyfriend of the Doctor's travelling companion, Rose Tyler. I hadn't seen KiDULTHOOD when everyone else did almost a decade ago, which made his gritty, dark portrayal of the character of Sam Peel on AdULTHOOD even more intriguing, and sitting through the Q+A afterwards was a fascinating eyeopener as I realized that Noel Clarke in real life is much more Sam Peel than Mickey Smith. Also, being a writer and director on top of being an actor, his perspective on films and filmmaking came from a multifaceted experience, and it was really useful information.
His co-star Arnold Oceng was present at the Q+A too, and aside from his thoughtful responses to the questions from the moderator, Julian Carrington, and from the crowd, he was hella down to earth for someone known as a rising star with the kind of credits he has to his name! (Aside from AdULTHOOD and BrOTHERHOOD, he also co-starred in The Good Lie, A United Kingdom, and Top Boy).
It was a fun TIFF experience. Who needs sleep? :p