Named 2018 Canada’s Top 40 Under 40, award-winning actress, filmmaker, speaker, business owner and consultant Fabienne Colas works tirelessly and passionately to support and promote diversity off and on international screens. Known as the Queen of Festivals, Colas created and manages seven successful festivals in Montreal, Toronto, Halifax, New York City and Port-au-Prince, including the Montreal International Black Film Festival. This festival, along with the well-known Toronto Black Film Festival, has not only become Canada’s largest black film festival but has also played a key role in promoting cultural diversity across the country.
Aside from attracting close to a million festival-goers over the years and showcasing over 2,000 artists, the festivals have also welcomed and/or paid tribute to top international celebrities such as Harry Belafonte, Stedman Graham, Danny Glover, Spike Lee, Paul Haggis, Martin Luther King III, Dany Laferrière, Wyclef Jean, Alfre Woodard, Lou Gossett Jr., Bill Cobbs, Souleymane Cissé, Régine Chassagne & Win Butler (Arcade Fire), Clement Virgo, Gbenga Akinagbe, Manno Charlemagne, Emeline Michel and more.
Named Personality of the Week by La Presse in 2018, Colas’s primary mission is to continue creating platforms that show a diversity of voices, faces and points of view. As chairman and founder of the Fabienne Colas Foundation (FCF), she helps support, award grants, and promote independent films and artists who would otherwise not have been seen or heard.
In 2015, Fabienne was awarded a medal from Quebec’s National Assembly for her leadership and contribution to fighting against racism and discrimination in Quebec. In 2017, she received the prestigious Harry Jerome Arts and Culture Award from the Black Business Professional Association in Toronto. In 2018, Femmes en cinéma, télévision et médias numériques (FCTMN) paid tribute to Fabienne for her exceptional contribution to the Quebec film industry. In addition, she was nominated and chosen by the U.S. State Department as the 2017 as a leader to represent Canada during the International Visitor Leadership Program (IVLP), a three-week exchange leadership program. She is also a 2018 finalist for the Charles Biddle Award and the Prix Femmes d’affaires du Québec.
In 2019, she will receive the Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Achievement Award from the Black Theatre Workshop, joining Oscar Peterson, Oliver Jones, Dany Laferrière, Gregory Charles, Doudou Boicel, Charlie Biddle, and Tony Lee Williams—some of many personalities who have previously received this award.
Colas is the CEO of the media & business consulting company Zaza Production. She sat as a board member on the Society for the Celebrations of Montréal’s 375th Anniversary. She has been part of many juries, including the Canada Council for the Arts, Prix Gémeaux, and Conseil des arts et des lettres du Québec.
In 2008, she made her first film, Minuit, a narrative feature on voodoo in which she also played the leading role. Considered by many as the most popular actress in Haitian cinema, Fabienne started out as a model, was crowned Miss Haiti in 2000 and has represented Haiti in numerous beauty contests around the world. In 2003, she was awarded the Ticket d’Or (golden ticket) in Haiti for best actress for her role in the film Barikad (directed by Richard Sénécal) and was also nominated for this same role at the Haitian Entertainment Awards in Florida. She has acted on both the big and the small screens in a number of productions in Quebec, Canada (Watatatow, l’Auberge du chien Noir, Comment Conquérir l’Amérique en une nuit).
Fabienne is a member of both Canadian professional acting unions: the Union des Artistes (UDA) and the Alliance of Canadian Television and Radio Artists (ACTRA). She won the Black History Month Award in 2010 for her great involvement in her community.
In 2011, she obtained a licence for two television stations, from the Canadian Radio-television Telecommunications Commission (CRTC), with a view to promoting a better representation of cultural diversity on televisions in Canada.