In the wake of GET OUT and BLACK PANTHER, it’s undeniable that the time has come for Black cinema of the imagination to step into the spotlight. This summer, Fantasia introduces AFROMENTUM, a showcase of short films from Africa, the Caribbean, Europe, and the Americas. Whether reflections on the past, visions of the future, or invocations of the bizarre amid the familiar present, these films bring forth Black experiences that challenge the cycle of oppression and resistance, and reach far beyond it.
Things go terribly awry when three witches mix magic and technology in HELLO, RAIN (North American Premiere), a wild ride of sorcery, science, sisterhood and supervillainy, based on a short story by award-winning author Nnedi Okorafor, and brought to eye-popping life by Nigeria’s rebel with a cause, C.J. “Fiery” Obasi, director of O-TOWN and OJUJU. Rebooting the dystopian, techno-colonial universe of his groundbreaking 2015 feature film, Martinique’s Alain Bidard returns with the World Premiere of BATTLEDREAM CHRONICLES: A NEW BEGINNING, the pilot for a series expanding the saga of Syanna, a young Caribbean girl cast into a virtual gladiator arena. Charm switches to harm in Toronto talent Naledi Jackson’s portentous debut short THE DROP IN, when a hairstylist takes a final customer after closing hours one night. A compact techno-thriller that probes, destabilizes, and moves in for the kill. Kicking it all off is MAKE IT SOUL, with which French animator/dance wizard Jean-Charles Mbotti-Malolo takes us back to Chicago, 1965… two titans of soul music are set to share a stage, but which one will walk away with the crown? – Rupert Bottenberg