January 19, 2023 – Montreal – National Film Board of Canada
Kicking off its Black History Month celebrations on February 2, the National Film Board of Canada (NFB) has specially curated rich and powerful in-person and online activities to keep Canadians learning, celebrating and honouring the country’s diverse Black communities throughout the month and all year long.
The NFB’s theme for Black History Month this year is “Creating to Express Yourself: A Spotlight on the Process of Creating a Work at the NFB.” These activities will provide insights into the lives and experiences of Black filmmakers and celebrate their talent and unique visions—the vital stories they bring to light.
NFB Black History Month activities at a glance
• February 2: “Creating to Express Yourself” – A hybrid panel session highlighting the creative process of five Black filmmakers. The event will take place at 1 p.m. EST in the Alanis Obomsawin Theatre at NFB headquarters in Montreal, and will be live streamed on the NFB’s YouTube channel.
• February 8 & 9: Brought to you by NFB Education, two professional development sessions for educators will introduce teachers to using the Exploring Black Communities in Canada Through Film resource guide in their classrooms.
• February 8, 15, 22, 28: Up Close with Filmmakers – Explore the process of Black creation at the NFB with directors and their films that are now featured on nfb.ca. Take part in a live Q&A with five visionary filmmakers on Zoom, which will also be live streamed on the NFB’s YouTube channel.
• Throughout February
o nfb.ca will feature two carefully curated playlists: Focus on Black Filmmakers and NFB Abroad: Africa on Screen.
o Canadians can check out their local library to see what they have on offer from the NFB, including three handpicked films that will be available all month long.
Follow #BlackHistoryMonth and #BHM2023 to support the celebrations throughout February and the year.
“Creating to Express Yourself: A Spotlight on the Process of Creating a Work at the NFB,” February 2 at 1 p.m. EST
Five Black filmmakers will explore this year’s Black History Month theme in relation to their current work, the industry, and their personal experience.
• Will Prosper – Fredy (in production)
• Jorge Camarotti – Ousmane and Kinship, an award-winning independent 2019 short drama
• Stefan Verna – Night Watches Us (in production)
• Laurie Townshend – Away with Words (in production)
• Habibata Ouarme – Koromousso, Big Sister (in production)
The discussion will be moderated by Carla Beauvais, diversity and inclusion consultant and co-founder and CEO of Gala Dynastie. The panel will be available in English and French via simultaneous translation.
This event will be live streamed on the NFB’s YouTube channel. People who wish to attend in person in Montreal can RSVP on Eventbrite.
Up Close with Filmmakers: online Q&As on Zoom and YouTube
A live Q&A with directors on Zoom, live streamed on the NFB’s YouTube channel, these weekly one-hour events offer a unique opportunity to interact with a diverse group of Black filmmakers. Attendants are encouraged to watch each film online at nfb.ca and then join the Q&A event to ask questions and explore the process of creation, together.
• February 8 at 12 p.m. EST: Tatiana Zinga Botao and Valérie Bah – Sòl
• February 15 at 1 p.m. EST: Cheryl Foggo – John Ware Reclaimed
• February 22 at 1 p.m. EST: Bogdan Anifrani-Fedach – By Winds and Tides
• February 28 at 1 p.m. EST: Josiane Blanc –Tales of Ordinary Fatphobia
These Q&As will be moderated in English by Osas Eweka-Smith, NFB Publicist and Public Relations Officer, and in French by Magalie Boutin, Interim Co-Director of Equity, Diversity and Inclusion at the NFB.
Special Black History Month playlists on nfb.ca
Two permanent, specially curated, regularly updated playlists exist on nfb.ca for Canadians to enjoy all year round, free of charge:
• Focus on Black Filmmakers is a collection of titles from Black filmmakers across Canada.
• NFB Abroad: Africa on Screen is a selection of NFB films made across Africa that illuminate the continent and its people, arts and culture, in addition to Canadian intersections with Africa over the years.
NFB Education professional development sessions
NFB Education will host English and French professional development sessions on YouTube for educators across Canada, to come together and share how to use NFB educational resources in their classrooms. The focus will be the Exploring Black Communities in Canada Through Film study guide, which includes discussions of six NFB films made by Black filmmakers and allies of the Black community. As part of this activity, the films will be available for subscribers to CAMPUS, the NFB’s online learning portal.
The English PD session will be presented by acclaimed Canadian historian and educator Natasha Henry-Dixon (who wrote the guide) on February 9 at 12 p.m. EST on the NFB’s YouTube page. The French session will take place on February 8 at 6 p.m. EST on the ONF YouTube page, led by Marie-Thérèse Awitor, who’s been a teacher for 10 years specializing in French language, culture and history. Tune in to NFB/ONF Education’s Facebook pages and websites for a link to the livestreams.
Community and public library screenings
The NFB in Libraries will have three different programs for librarians to select from that include both shorts and feature-length films, such as the short Black Soul (available in French and English) and the features Kenbe la, jusqu’à la Victoire (in French) and John Ware Reclaimed (in English). The public can visit their local library for details on what they have on offer from the NFB.
Any group or organization looking to host a screening for Black History Month may contact NFB Audience Development at email@example.com and learn about the process here.
Works in production at the NFB
Panellists taking part in NFB Black History Month events are currently working on a diverse range of works—unique stories that will enrich our national cinema ecosystem and fully reflect the diversity of Canada.
• Away with Words, a feature documentary by Laurie Townshend, produced by Alison Duke and Ngardy Conteh George (OYA Media Group); Justine Pimlott (NFB)
Poet, performer, LGBT activist and author Staceyann Chin searches for her mother who left Jamaica for Canada months after giving birth to her on Christmas Day, nearly 50 years ago.
• Fredy, a feature documentary by Will Prosper, produced by Yanick Létourneau (Périphéria Productions) and Nathalie Cloutier (NFB)
Revisiting the 2008 shooting of Fredy Villanueva by police in Montréal-Nord, the film paints a portrait of his family and casts a critical look at modern Quebec.
• Night Watches Us, a short documentary by Stefan Verna, produced by Ariel Nasr for the Re-Imagining My Quebec initiative, Quebec and Atlantic Studio
Examines the death of Nicholas Gibbs, a mentally ill 23-year-old father of three young children, fatally shot by police in Montreal’s Notre-Dame-de-Grâce district.
• Koromousso, Big Sister, a short documentary by Habibata Ouarme and Jim Donovan, produced by Denis McCready and Christine Aubé for the Quebec, Canadian Francophonie and Acadian Documentary Studio
With sincerity, humour and courage, a group of Canadian women of African origin break cultural taboos on female sexuality and demand the right to reclaim their bodies.
Visit the NFB’s events page for an up-to-date list of activities.