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Cinema & Community, Black Filmmakers and Social Change

February 16, 2021, Live at 6:00 pm

Facebook Event

Presented by
Vancity logo

This year's first Vancity Impact Talk, "Cinema & Community: Black Filmmakers and Social Change", is part of our Black History Month Series, Everywhere We Are, and is moderated by curator Nya Lewis. Panelists Kelly Fyffe-Marshall (Marathon), Howard Grandison (It Takes a Riot: Race, Rebellion, Reform) and producer Selwyn Jacob will talk about what drives them to create, the intersection of art and activism, the responsibilities that fall on BIPOC artists, and seizing this moment. Film reflects community, culture and society, but can it also reshape them?

This event will be hosted on VIFF’s Facebook Live. The event is free and no registration is required. To receive a notification when our livestream begins, join our Facebook event page.

This event is complementary to Canadian Resistance, a short film program curated by Nya Lewis, which highlights homegrown voices using film as a tool for social change. The three films document the ongoing injustices and impacts of anti-Black racism in Canada, and the storytelling that chronicle our actions. Comprising of Kelly Fyffe Marshall’s “Marathon”; “Dance Like Everybody’s Watching” by Simone Blais; and “It Takes a Riot: Race, Rebellion, Reform” by Howard Grandison, these films are available to stream via VIFF Connect between Feb. 5 and March 4.

Session Participants

Selwyn Jacob joined the National Film Board’s BC & Yukon Studio in 1997 and went on to produce over 50 NFB films. His many credits include Crazywater, directed by Inuvialuit filmmaker Dennis Allen; Hue: A Matter of Colour, directed by Vic Sarin; Mighty Jerome, written and directed by Charles Officer; and the digital interactive app Circa 1948, by Vancouver artist Stan Douglas. Jacob’s most recent feature documentary credits include Mina Shum’s Ninth Floor, about the infamous Sir George Williams Riot of 1969 that was selected to TIFF’s 2015 annual top ten list of best Canadian films, and Baljit Sangra’s Because We Are Girls, exploring the impact of sexual abuse on a conservative Indo-Canadian family living in small-town British Columbia. Selwyn retired from the NFB in June, 2019, and his last production was Now Is the Time, directed by Haida filmmaker, Christopher Auchter. Selwyn has since returned to the private sector as an independent Producer/Director.

Kelly Fyffe-Marshall is a dedicated director, screenwriter and social activist. Her work includes award-winning short film Haven, which premiered at SXSW & at the winning Audience Choice, and her two-part short film Black Bodies, Marathon,, which was a response birthed from a viral racial incident that happened to her and three peers in California. This incident also birthed a non-profit organization We Have The Right To Be Right (RTBR). Black Bodies was officially selected for TIFF 20, Canada's Top Ten, nominated for best Canadian short and Kelly was awarded with the TIFF 20 x Shawn Mendes Foundation ChangeMaker Award for social change through film. Black Bodies has recently been officially selected for Sundance Film Festival 2021.

As a former writer and creative director in advertising, becoming a director was a seamless choice for him to make. He believes that directors should be strong in vision but able to adapt accordingly to the project in front of them. That is why he is considered to be so versatile. He has done a range of award-winning work that spans from Time Magazine and the Kaiser Foundation to Moet Hennessy and ESPN. Howard’s ability to connect with the current culture helps to inform a lot of his work. He has worked with a range of celebrities for major studios as well as many of the cultural influencers of the last decade. Based in Brooklyn, NY but internationally-focused, Howard is also the co-founder of the non-profit VCplus.org which empowers South African children through art and sport.

Nya Lewis is a Vancouver-based, award-winning independent curator and MFA candidate at OCAD. Moved by the goal of equitable access to art and diverse stories in Canada, her work is the culmination of African resistance, love questions, actions, study and embrace. Currently she serves as the Founder and Director of BlackArt Gastown, a year-round programmer at the Vancouver Queer Film Festival, and contributing curator at the Vancouver Art Gallery and UBC Museum of Anthropology. A writer, activist, and community organizer committed to building just and inclusive cultural and social infrastructure in Vancouver - her work celebrates the strength and perseverance of Black Canadian culture, history and its diversity.

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