The 39th edition of the Toronto International Film Festival is underway, running through September 14, with another year of an always impressive slate of high-profile films making their world premieres at the festival – a few that we’ve been tracking on this blog, including "Papa Machete," which will premiere at the festival as part of its first ever slate of international shorts.
From Executive Producers/Writers Jason Fitzroy Jeffers & Keisha Rae Witherspoon, as well as director Jonathan David Kane, "Papa Machete" highlights Alfred Avril, an aging farmer in Haiti who also happens to be a master of Haitian machete fencing – a form of martial arts that doesn’t exactly get much coverage (outside of Haiti, anyway). Ideas like "fencing" and "martial arts" aren’t often spoken of in an Afrocentric context, so I’m always excited about projects that, at least on the surface, will educate me, and aren’t unlike anything I’ve seen previously.
Capoeira, the Brazilian martial art, is likely one of the most popular and widely-known. There are of course others, often variations of each other; some include weapons; others do not – like Dambe, which is a form of boxing, popular in parts of West Africa, including areas in northern Nigeria, and Cameroon.
Earlier this year, the filmmaker’s successfully raised over $10,000 via Kickstarter, to help complete the film, which will now make its world premiere at one of the most prestigious festivals in the entire world.
Zeba is covering the festival for S&A, so expect a review of the film from her in the next 2 weeks or so.
Here’s a trailer: