Held completely online this year, HBFF will ring in year five with 75 Canadian and international films, ranging from animated shorts to full-length documentaries. Tune in from $12 per screening or buy a full access pass for $49. All the movies in this year's fest are viewable starting at 10pm on February 23. Ticket and streaming links are available through the fest's website.
For fans of How To Get Away With Murder: A Storybook Ending
For fans of The Queen's Gambit: Lovena
By now you've likely binged the Netflix mega-hit (and maybe even the documentary about the series' creation), meaning you know Anya Taylor-Joy's breakout role is about a lot more than chess: It's about honing one's talent, overcoming adversity, and finding a sense of self through excellence. Expect a double dose of all these themes and more in Lovena, the half-hour flick charting the rise of French Guiana's chess champion—who happens to be an undocumented Haitian immigrant teen.
While the short-lived Netflix series tracing the life of a teenage robotics engineer-slash-rocket scientist was shelved after 15 episodes, those of us needing a dose of girl power need look no further than the feature film Shania. Following the tumultuous coming-of-age of a group of teen girls in Zimbabwe, Beautie Masvaure Alt's movie is, as the festival says, a story "of forgiveness and of friendship, of creating a new family from the people who love you, and of the very real power to be found in girls supporting girls."
For fans of She's Gotta Have It: Sundays In July
The rich black-and-white cinematography; The lush, piano-driven soundtrack; The gratuitous gazing at New York's streetscapes and skylines; The story of a woman's head-first dive into lust: All of it feels evocative of the opening scenes of Spike Lee's seminal, full-length directorial debut. Put 'em in a blender with the energy of a Jill Scott song and you've got the dreamy, spoken-word-dialogue confection that is Sundays In July. John Ware Reclaimed
So just how many fans are there of the 1972 Western film that sees Harry Belafonte starring as a preacher alongside Sidney Poitier’s turn as a former soldier? Well, TBH, all of us would be if we'd watch the movie—one of the few shoot 'em ups about Black cowboys.
But, just as these fictional recountings are paltry, so are the true tales of Black men on the frontier. Righting this is documentarian Cheryl Foggo, who sets out to shine a light on, as the festival puts it, "the suppressed history of a thriving Black presence in the Prairies: the Black pioneers who lived, worked, and raised families in the west" through delving into the life of Alberta's most famous Black cowboy and rancher. "He's one of those famous people no one's ever heard of," Foggo says at the beginning of the film's trailer. Her lazer-sharp storytelling will change that.