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This Time It's Personal: Program1 film image

"This Time It's Personal"

Films by Camille Billops & James Hatch (Programme 1)
Suzanne, Suzanne; The KKK Boutique Ain’t Just Rednecks

Black History Month: Dispatches

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Trailblazing artist and polymath Camille Billops and her partner in life and work, James Hatch, left behind rich legacies as archivists of Black cultural life and as courageous independent filmmakers who chronicled the ups and downs of their own lives and family histories, and found in them the temperature of their times.

The films they made together, while grounded in documentary, use a range of techniques including reenactments, dramatization, and satire to illuminate the ways in which race, gender, and class shape everyday life, and despite their traumatic subject matter, exude compassion, humour and humanity.

Billops died in 2019 at the age of 85. In addition to filmmaking, she was an important sculptor, ceramicist, printmaker, archivist and writer. Some of her work as a photographer and sculptor is currently on display in an exhibit at the Museum of Modern Art in New York. Hatch, her husband, was a playwright, screenwriter, professor, and archivist in addition to documentary filmmaker. He died in 2020 at the age of 91.


SUZANNE, SUZANNE (1982, 25 min)
Suzanne, Suzanne presents a devastating portrait of the artist’s niece, a heroin addict haunted by the abuse she suffered as a child and the passivity of the family members who allowed it to continue.
New 4K restoration

Remains one of the most powerful documentaries of domestic life.”
– bell hooks, Reel to Real

Evoking Dante’s Inferno during a tour of the South, Camille Billops and James Hatch trace the ways in which Americans have tried to ignore, deny, suppress, contain, tolerate, legislate, mock, and exploit racial discrimination within the United States. Like a modern-day Virgil and Dante, they drive, cajole, and lead their cast through a tour of the contemporary landscape of racism. The film features parodic game shows (the contestants made up of the filmmakers’ family and friends) which mock taboos around race and gender.
New 2k restoration


Camille Billops & James Hatch

Country of Origin






84 min

Book Tickets

Sunday February 26

12:50 pm
VIFF Centre - Studio Theatre
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Catch More Black History Month Programming

Also in Dispatches

Dear Jackie (Free Screening)

Henri Pardo's film is a cinematic letter to Jackie Robinson, the first African American player in Major League Baseball and a civil rights activist who broke the colour barrier when he joined the minor-league Montreal Royals in 1946. For a short time, the impossible seemed possible in a segregated North America.

VIFF Centre - Studio Theatre
James Baldwin Abroad: Istanbul - Paris - London
James Baldwin Abroad film image

James Baldwin Abroad: Istanbul - Paris - London

These three short docs, from 1968 - 1973, offer sharp, piercing glimpses of Baldwin in private and public, sometimes in repose and relaxed but more often holding forth, embroiled in the thorny discourse of racial politics, identity and self expression.

VIFF Centre - Vancity Theatre VIFF Centre - Studio Theatre

"This Time It's Personal" Films by Camille Billops & James Hatch (Programme 2)

The second programme in our short selection of independent films by Camille Bishops and James Hatch includes what is probably their masterpiece, Finding Christa, a deeply personal film about Camille's relationship with the daughter she gave up for adoption as a child.

VIFF Centre - Studio Theatre

Our Dance of Revolution

Award-winning documentary on the history of Black queer activism in Toronto, on communities that have faced every adversity from invisibility to police brutality.

VIFF Centre - Studio Theatre


In the Heat of the Night

Sidney Poitier in an indelible role a Philadelphia police detective Virgil Tibbs, pulled in as a murder suspect when changing trains in Mississippi. He allies with bigoted local sheriff (Rod Steiger) to solve the case.

VIFF Centre - Vancity Theatre

The Bingo Long Traveling All-Stars & Motor Kings

This boisterous comedy about a breakaway barnstorming Black baseball team in the 1930s should be better known. It's an entertaining gloss on one enterprising ball player's resourceful response to segregated leagues, with Star Wars' Billy Dee Williams.

VIFF Centre - Vancity Theatre

Purple Rain

Dearly beloved, we are gathered here today to celebrate this thing called Prince. Purple Rain is everything you could want from a rock film, and more - it's sexy, sassy, slick and it captures the young Prince in the raw.

VIFF Centre - Vancity Theatre
Under the Cherry Moon (35mm)
Under the Cherry Moon film image

Under the Cherry Moon (35mm)

Prince is Christopher Tracy, a gigolo on the French Riviera, determined to seduce $50 million heiress Kristin Scott Thomas (!). The pop star's directorial debut is a quirky, fun throwback to old school Hollywood glamour, with knobs on.

VIFF Centre - Vancity Theatre


Viola Davis is immense in Steve McQueen's gripping crime story. When her husband dies in a shootout with Chicago PD, Veronica inherits his $2 million debt to a local mobster, and a notebook with plans to rip-off the vault of a local politico.

VIFF Centre - Vancity Theatre

Black Panther

The most important movie Marvel has made to date, this Black blockbuster is a triumph for Creed director Ryan Coogler and star Chadwick Boseman. After the death of his father, T'Challa returns to the African nation of Wakanda to take his place as king.

VIFF Centre - Vancity Theatre

New Releases


Brown's moving film zeroes in on the descendants of the 110 slaves brought in on the last known slave ship to transport kidnapped Africans to America as human cargo, an illegal shipment undertaken as a bet by a local landowner, Timothy Meaher.

VIFF Centre - Studio Theatre

Saint Omer

Alice Diop’s superb film, based on a notorious case of infanticide from a few years ago, subtly, almost surreptitiously evokes complex ideas and emotions around motherhood, gender, and marginalized communities.

VIFF Centre - Vancity Theatre VIFF Centre - Studio Theatre

Chien Blanc

Living in LA in 1968, French novelist Romain Gary adopts a stray Alsation, but to his horror discovers it has been trained to attack Blacks. His wife, the actress Jean Seberg argues it must be put down, but Gary insists it can be retrained...

VIFF Centre - Vancity Theatre