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Union Street film image; man walking down street

A New Chapter

Feb 2 – 7

Curated by Jamila Pomeroy

Image: Union Street, at VIFF Centre

VIFF Centre has invited me to share two Black films that have inspired me as a filmmaker, and could serve as companion films to Union Street.

VIFF Centre has invited me to share two Black films that have inspired me as a filmmaker, and could serve as companion films to Union Street. With so many incredible Black films to choose from, this was certainly no easy feat. There are of course pioneers like the Grandfather of Black cinema, Oscar Micheaux, or Kathleen Collins, the first Black woman to write, direct and produce a feature-length film; Melvin Van Peebles and Gordon Park, who cemented the blaxploitation genre in the 70s; Spike Lee and John Singleton who brought inner-city Black stories and commentary on racial tension to the screen in the 80s and 90s. Then there are filmmakers like Jordan Peele, Shonda Rhimes and Ava Duvernay who are making massive waves in Hollywood today. Looking back at the last 100 years of cinema, it’s hard not to see the social progress embedded in storylines and the many triumphs made by Black filmmakers along the way, in an industry that has historically excluded Black people and stories.

These selections honor a new chapter in Black cinema. Each film has inspiring characters that stand in their power and are community leaders; and instead of centering Black pain, they prioritize Black joy and ask us to look beyond the tired Black cultural archetypes we’ve been fed by film and media. Sorry To Bother You, Talking About Trees and Union Street together challenge the idea of a Black cultural monolith, expand our ideas of Blackness, and showcase rich African and African diasporic cultures. Centering community, resilience and positive action, these films invite us to break generational cycles, laugh and co-create an afrofuturism that honors a multiplicity of African experiences for years to come.

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Jamila Pomeroy headshot

Jamila Pomeroy, A New Chapter Curator

Union Street

Interspersing interviews with archival footage, Union Street documents the history of Vancouver’s Hogan’s Alley, the formerly Black neighbourhood which was destroyed by the construction of the Georgia viaduct in the 1970s.

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1:30 pm
Tue Feb 27
VIFF Centre - Vancity Theatre
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12:00 pm
Wed Feb 28
VIFF Centre - Vancity Theatre
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2:30 pm
Sun Mar 03
VIFF Centre - Studio Theatre
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Talking About Trees

Embarking on a journey to revive an old cinema and restore cinema-going culture, the Sudanese Film Club encounters seemingly insurmountable resistance and emotional hardship. However, their love of film and dream of Sudanese liberation prevails.

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Sorry to Bother You

In an alternate Oakland, telemarketer Cassius Green(Lakeith Stanfield) discovers a magical key to professional success that also propels him into a macabre universe. Is the corporate American dream truly his to bear?

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