Bring it Black: Films by Black Artists in Canada

A curated program of films by Black artists in Canada, co-curated with Ella Cooper and Henri Pardo.
About the Program

February 14, 2021 – February 21, 2021

Cinema Politica is thrilled to launch our hand-picked program Bring it Black: Films by Black Artists in Canada, co-curated with Ella Cooper and Henri Pardo. From fiction to experimental to documentary, and everything between, this collection of shorts combines creative flair with political potency and unwavering voice. This rich selection of cinema from Black directors represents many voices – revolutionary, innovative, poetic, passionate, queer, young, experienced, leading, moving, migratory, teaching, dreaming.

The representation of Blackness and the lives of Black people on screen has a long, dynamic and troubled history in Canada. On the one hand, white supremacy has shaped the Canadian film industry, and as such, the cultivation of on-screen Black stories and identities has often been in the hands of non-Black, usually white film professionals.

On the other hand, Black lives, histories and identities have been represented on screen in compelling, diverse and rich ways by talented and dedicated Black filmmakers working in Canada. Trailblazers like Dionne Brand, Sylvia Hamilton, Christene Browne, Alison Duke, Claire Prieto, Jennifer Hodge de Silva and Clement Virgo innovated a fierce creative path that has been taken up by contemporary artists like Martine Chartrand, Charles Officer, Philip Pike, Hubert Davies, Elizabeth St. Philip, Ella Cooper, Cory Bowles and many, many more.

Coupled with this outpouring of cinematic vitality is a groundswell sociopolitical shift, led by the Black Lives Matter movement and the scores of anti-racism activist groups across the country fighting against police brutality and carding, economic segregation, carceral injustice, poverty, and more.

Upcoming Screenings

Stay tuned for upcoming screenings!

Featuring

Curators

Ella Cooper

ELLA COOPER is an award winning independent filmmaker, photo-video artist, educator, impact producer, consultant and programmer based in Toronto who has been working in the arts and culture sector for over 18 years. Her creative work explores the diaspora, the creation of positive representations of the Black body in Canada, equity and arts for social change, community storytelling, contemporary dance and hybrid identity.

She is also the founder of Black Women Film! Canada a new initiative and leadership program supporting the development of emerging Black women filmmakers that she created with support from TIFF, CBC, CFC, the Nia Centre for the Arts and 40 local Black women filmmakers here in Toronto.

Her documentary film debut ‘Black Men Loving’ (available on CP ON Demand) won ‘Best Canadian Film’ at the International Caribbean Tales Film Festival. Ella also received ‘Best Canadian Presentation’ award for her work in collaboration with Alison Duke and the Akua Benjamin Legacy Project series she directed with five other Black female directors, celebrating 50 year of Black activism in Toronto.

In addition, her new short dance film documentary series ‘Dance for Life’ recently launched on Fibe TV1.

Ella continues to create and facilitate leadership, anti-oppression and arts empowerment programs for diverse communities across Canada, the US, Europe, the Caribbean and South Africa. She is a part time lecturer at University of Toronto Scarborough and has been a featured speaker and guest facilitator for national and international conferences. Ella was recently selected as one of the 2017 Toronto Arts Council’s Cultural Leaders.

Henri Pardo

HENRI PARDO is a graduate of the Institute of Image and Sound (Inis) in 2005. Henri wrote and directed the short film Sous-bois, which was funded by Sodec, and produced and directed the documentary series Black Wealth Matters. In 2016, Henri founded Black Wealth Media, a production company dedicated to developing and producing Afrocentric movies and film series.

More recently he worked as a producer developing four fiction web series, and has also produced the feature documentary Afro-Prosperity. In 2019, Black Wealth Media received funding from the CBC and the Corus Fund for the development of a documentary series on the history of African Canadians.

Henri has received support from the Documentary Chanel for the feature documentary Dear Jackie, which is produced by Katarina Soukoup of Catbird Productions, as well as support for the writing of the feature film Kanaval, which is financed by Sodec and produced by Yzanakio films.

Henri has sat on the Doc Québec Executive Committee, a chapter of the Documentary Organization of Canada. He is a founding member of Black on Black Films, the filmmakers collective of afrodescendants. He regularly participates in many panels on cultural diversity.

Partners

This program is made possible through funding by the Canada Council for the Arts.

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