(Image from the film True North: Inside the Rise of Toronto Basketball. Photo: Yasin Osman)
Over the last several days, Canadians have been deeply affected by events that have called attention to the extremely difficult experiences of Black communities in both Canada and the United States. As Prime Minister Trudeau said last week, racism exists, not only across the border, but here at home, in our communities, in our country.
Diversity and inclusion are at the heart of the NFB and our institutional values. The NFB helps communities that are systematically underrepresented in the media landscape be heard, both in front of and behind the camera, such as members of racialized and ethnocultural communities, women filmmakers, Indigenous people, official-language minority communities, sexual minorities (LGBTQ2+), and people living with disabilities.
CREATORS FROM ALL BACKGROUNDS
The NFB’s programming bears witness to Canadian diversity and contributes to the pursuit of justice and to the country’s social cohesion. The works we produce come from creators from a wide range of backgrounds and underrepresented groups, which ensures a plurality of voices and stories from across the country.
The many creators we’ve collaborated with over the last few decades, and continue to collaborate with today, have produced remarkable works that contribute to our understanding of the issues related to systemic racism, and have helped us to engage in the dialogue that’s necessary if our society is to eliminate these unacceptable injustices and pave the way to a better future.
I’d like to highlight the essential contributions these creators have made through their vision, their conviction, and their talent. In the current social and political situation, they in particular are experiencing a wide range of emotions, ranging from pain to anger to disbelief.
STORYTELLING FOR NEW WAYS OF SEEING
The widespread distribution of creators’ works, on all platforms and through public screenings, is part of our mission. The impact we can have on teachers and students also contributes to the changes that will make our society better.
In the context of the current situation, I have asked our teams to redouble their efforts so that our various platforms spotlight artists and NFB works chronicling the lived experience and history of Black communities in Canada. We hope these works will lead to a greater understanding of the realities and inequalities these communities face.
We will also continue to ensure that works by creators exposing racism, discrimination or hatred are accessible to the public, in order to foster greater mutual understanding and create a space for inclusion and dialogue.
We also have work to do within our own organization, and we are committed to ensuring that all voices, including those of Black Canadians, are heard and represented among our staff.
The NFB will continue to create works that tell stories—stories that ultimately help us to better understand each other.
Message from Claude Joli-Coeur
Government Film Commissioner and Chairperson of the National Film Board of Canada
Version française ici.