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National Film Board

Ninth Floor

Mina Shum / Canada / 2015 / 81 ' / English


Carmen Pollard
Miguel Nunes
Brent Belke
Selwyn Jacob
David Austin
Director of Photography: John Price

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A chronicle of a troubled chapter in Concordia University’s history where black students occupy the Hall building to protest institutionalized racism.


February, 1969. Two years after Expo 67 and its sixty-plus national pavilions, public figures were taking turns declaring that Quebec was a fine example of a society open to different cultures from all over the world. And yet, an incident on the Sir George Williams campus of Concordia University casts a shadow over the official discourse on the wonders of diversity. Six black students complained that they were not being treated as equals to their white colleagues. Showing the identical work that had received lower grades, the target of their criticism was biology professor Perry Anderson. The confrontation led to a sit-in in the university’s computer centre, lasting fourteen days before ending in chaos and the arrest of ninety-seven demonstrators. Four and a half decades later, Canadian filmmaker Mina Shum looks back on these less than glorious events that helped shape the student movement. Successfully alternating between archival footage revealing the tense atmosphere of the conflict and testimonials from several participants, she has created a remarkable documentary that underscores the essential role of civil disobedience at time when administrative decisions and political power were being questioned for the first time. (FNC)


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