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There will be an eclectic array of movies on the roster this weekend during a special arts event in Gary.

The Gary International Black Film Festival (GIBFF) celebrates its ninth anniversary Oct. 11 to 13 at Indiana University Northwest.

"We want to continue to bring great films to the area," said Toni Simpson, festival manager.

Simpson said when GIBFF founder Karen Toering began the event nine years ago, she wanted to celebrate film, showcase the diversity of the art and make a variety of great movies available to the Gary community and Northwest Indiana in general.

"She wanted to offer a place where people can look at film and a 'new way' to look at film" (within the context of a festival), Simpson said.

The Gary International Black Film Festival will once again offer films with eclectic themes, workshops and discussions during the three-day event.

During a past interview, Toering said the idea for the fest came about because she wanted to have a way to celebrate cultural enrichment in Gary and to be able to tell and promote engaging stories.

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Simpson said the event also allows community members to have a "better understanding of what a film festival is." She added they want to share wonderful independent films with the community.

More than 35 films will be featured, including shorts and full-length movies. "This year we have such an international platform," Simpson said. Films being shown come from a variety of different cultures and places. They also showcase an array of topics. Simpson said subjects such as foster care, mental illness, police brutality, relationship issues and more will be seen on screen.

Among the highlighted films will be "#Truth," a psychological drama, which will be featured on Oct. 11, which is Opening Night. The film is written and directed by Charles Murray. Murray will attend a post screening discussion that day. A writing workshop will also be offered by Murray on Oct. 12.

There will also be a panel discussion called "Reel Women" about women in film and television on Oct. 12. Another Oct. 12 highlight is the Gary premiere of "Sin City Deciples," about the international motorcycle club  founded in Gary in 1967. Simpson said many members of the club will be in attendance for the screening.

Fans of the movie "The Five Heartbeats" will want to be in the audience on Oct. 13 when Robert Townsend will talk about the behind-the-scenes stories of the movie after the screening of his "The Making of the Five Heartbeats."

During the fest, attendees will have the chance to meet fellow movie fans and talk with filmmakers about their films. On Oct. 13, to close the fest, there will be a special ceremony called GIBFF Honors along with the showing of the closing movie "Burning Cane."

Among films that will be screened are "The Money Stone," "Bakoso: AfroBeats of Cuba," "The Blood Is At The Doorstep," "The Color of Art" and more. For the complete schedule of films and other events, visit garyblackfilmfest.com.

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Entertainment Editor/Features Reporter

Eloise is A&E Editor and a food, entertainment and features writer for The Times, subjects she has covered for over two decades in and around the Region. She was the youngest of eight in a Chicago household filled with fantastic cooks and artists.