February | Celebrating Black Excellence
We’ve teamed up with the Black Academy to highlight some essential viewing for Black History Month. Across genres, years, and mediums, our selections capture a breadth of stories and experiences from these exceptional Canadian filmmakers. We’ll be highlighting their picks and ours throughout the month on the Canadian Academy’s social media channels, so be sure to follow along on Twitter and Instagram to learn more about why we’ve selected each title
Director: Henri Pardo
This documentary series traces the Afro-descendant presence in Canada through more than 400 years of history. A large-scale project that will leave no one indifferent, as much for its content and its historical and social scope as for its form. Documentary, fiction and animation are featured in this series that shows, for the first time, our collective Canadian history.
Director: Charles Officer
A hypnotizing powerful film about an urban soldier that is captured in the aftermath of an armed robbery. As a character who has survived some very tough moments and been in terrible places, Akilla Brown is relatable. However, he holds close to his sense of compassion lest he falls victim to the same fate as those who have come before him.
Director: Kelly Fyffe-Marshall
This film is full of thought-provoking themes, such as police brutality, poetry, and the innocent bodies of Black people. Racism is a harsh reality that many Black people face every day. Based on a real-life incident of anti-Black racism, Black Bodies follows a Black man’s journey through his eyes. Exposing areas that most are reluctant to discuss.
‘DA KINK IN MY HAIR
Television show created by: Trey Anthony and Ngozi Paul
Directed for the stage by: Weyni Mengsha
Black women’s conversations, sass, personal stories, the ups and the downs. A timeless classic, ‘da Kink in my Hair perfectly encapsulates Black women’s strengths and why they should be celebrated.
KENBE LA, UNTIL WE WIN
Director: Will Prosper
Through the inspiring journey of late artist and activist Alain Philoctète, this documentary sheds light on a remarkable person who wholeheartedly believed in the power of sharing to help humanity. Kenbe la, Until We Win offers a cinematic adventure that will inspire viewers to reflect on the importance of embracing ideals and passing them on.
LEARN TO SWIM
Director: Thyrone Tommy
Great films are always infused with love and music. Learn to Swim explores love and loss through the magical world of contemporary jazz. Cinematography is so impeccable that it stands the test of time.
Director: Alfons Adetuyi
RomComs for the win, always. There is something for everyone in Love Jacked. This film explores acceptance and ambition in South Africa and Canada. To find inspiration, Maya decides to travel to Africa with her fiancé, Shamier Anderson. Do we need to say more?
MAHALIA MELTS IN THE RAIN
Directors: Carmine Pierre-Dufour, Émilie Mannering
Mahalia has her hair straightened for the first time after being teased by the other girls in her ballet class. A subtle yet impactful exploration of a young Black girl’s experience of belonging told through beautiful photography and Kaiyonni Banton-Renner’s quietly powerful and heartbreaking performance.
THE NIGHT BEFORE SHE PASSED
Director: Chris Strikes
Jesse Ryan’s sprawling jazz wanders and weaves through Trinidad in this MVP Project-supported video. Shot run-and-gun in 3 days with a cast of all family members, the video is a vivid and touching snapshot of an artist reconnecting with his roots.
Director: Stephen Hopkins
As Black athletes struggled to prove their talent in the mid-1900s, they faced many obstacles. The life story of Jesse Owens, the fastest man of his generation, will always hold a firm place in history. Race is an enthralling film about courage, determination, tolerance, friendship, and one’s fight to become an Olympic legend.