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The 5th annual Toronto Black Film Festival, created by the Fabienne Colas Foundation, took place February 15-19 at the Isabel Bader Theatre, Carlton Cinema and Jackman Hall. It was co-presented by TD Bank (No. 39 on the DiversityInc Top 50 Companies list) in collaboration with Global News.

“TD is once again delighted this year to be co-presenting the Toronto Black Film Festival, part of TD’s 2017 Black History Month series celebrating arts and culture,” said Andre Lucas, manager of community relations at TD Bank Group.

Academy Award-winning actor Louis Gossett Jr. was honored by the film festival with a Lifetime Achievement award. Gossett, 80, who has starred in numerous films, won an Oscar in 1983 for his role as Gunnery Sergeant Emil Foley in “An Officer and a Gentleman.” He also won an Emmy Award in 1977 for his role as Fiddler in the ABC television miniseries “Roots.”

Gossett said in an interview the award is special to him because Toronto is like his second home. He also gave advice to up and coming filmmakers.

“There’s really not such a thing as impossible,” Gossett said. “The door is wide open. It’s up to your creativity, and your willingness to pass all the tests, and put out what you think is best.”
Gossett was also in the short film “10 Minutes,” which screened at the festival. It was written and directed by his son, Satie Gossett, whose most recent short film is “Forgiveness.”

“His latest film is the one’s that’s special,” Gossett said of his son’s production. He then joked, “I don’t know where he got the idea about movies in the first place.”

Slavery in the U.S. is the topic of “Forgiveness.” In the film, a young African American boy explores the history of America’s role in slavery in an essay he submitted for the president of the United States’ national essay contest.

Fabienne Colas, president and founder of the Toronto Black Film Festival said “Black voices are an integral part of communities in Toronto, in Canada and across the globe — creating a platform for these voices in Toronto is a powerful act of celebrating this diversity and our history.”

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