1. Media Space

  2. Press Kit

Ninth Floor

2015 | 81 min

Short Synopsis

Long Synopsis

Promotional Materials


A conversation with director and writer Mina Shum

A conversation with producer Selwyn Jacob

Key Events



Mina Shum
Photo : Véro Boncompagni

Mina Shum

In the early stages of research, I came across the words “charges of racism” in one of the original documents. It was shocking to see it stated – all raw like that – and it made me think of how I deal with racism in my own life. Then I learned that our subjects had all been under surveillance: they were being watched. And I was hooked. Ninth Floor presented me with an amazing opportunity to reflect upon power and exclusion, and to explore how we see each other.

                                                                         – Mina Shum, writer/director of Ninth Floor

Born in Hong Kong and raised in Canada, Mina Shum is an independent filmmaker and artist. “I’m the child of the Praxis Screenwriting Workshop, Cineworks Independent Film Co-op, the Canadian Film Centre and working class immigrant parents,” she says.

With Ninth Floor, a production of the National Film Board of Canada, Shum has written and directed her fourth feature film and first feature documentary.

Her first feature Double Happiness (1994) – developed while she was resident director at the Canadian Film Centre – premiered at the Toronto International Film Festival, where it won a Special Jury Citation for Best Canadian Feature Film and the Toronto Metro Media Prize. It went on to win Best First Feature at the Berlin Film Festival and the Audience Award at the Torino Film Festival. Following its American premiere at Sundance, it was released theatrically in the U.S. by Fine Line/New Line Features. It was nominated for multiple Genie Awards, Canada’s top film honour, winning Best Actress for Sandra Oh, and Best Editing for Alison Grace.

Shum’s second and third features – Drive, She Said (1997) and Long Life, Happiness and Prosperity (2002) – also premiered at the Toronto Film Festival. Long Life, Happiness and Prosperity was subsequently invited to both Sundance and the Vancouver Film Festival, where it won a Special Citation for Best Screenplay (shared with co-writer Dennis Foon). It was released theatrically in Canada and the U.S.

Shum’s short films include Shortchanged; Love In; Hunger; Thirsty; Me, Mom and Mona, which won a Special Jury Citation the 1993 Toronto Film Festival; Picture Perfect, nominated for Best Short Drama at the Yorkton Film Festival; and most recently I Saw You, which was nominated for a Writer’s Guild Award.

Her TV work ranges from Mob Princess, a TV movie produced for Brightlight Pictures/W Network, to episodic directing on About A Girl, Noah’s Arc, Exes and Oh’s, Bliss, The Shield Stories and Da Vinci’s Inquest.

Shum’s interests extend beyond film and television. Her immersive video installation You Are What You Eat was held over at the Vancouver Centre for Contemporary Asian Art, Centre A, and her cinematic theatre piece All, created in collaboration with the Standing Wave Music Ensemble, was presented at the 2011 Push Festival. She has hosted sold-out events for the experimental Pecha Kucha program, and her Internet hit Hip Hop Mom was featured in Calgary’s official Canada Day celebrations.

In 2004 she was invited to deliver the inaugural UBC/Laurier Institute Multicultural Lecture, entitled New Day Rising: Journey of a Hyphenated Girl, and in 2011 she was the recipient of the Sondra Kelly Writer’s Guild of Canada Award.

She is currently preparing her next feature, Meditation Park.

Selwyn Jacob
Photo : NFB

Selwyn Jacob

I’ve wanted to make Ninth Floor ever since I became a filmmaker, some forty years ago. I’ve always felt a direct connection to the events at Sir George Williams. I, too, immigrated to Canada from the Caribbean in the late 1960s, and I could easily have ended up in Montreal alongside those students. And with the passage of time, I’ve come to realize how the story resonates for all Canadians.

— Selwyn Jacob, producer of Ninth Floor

Selwyn Jacob was born in Trinidad and came to Canada in 1968 with the dream of becoming a filmmaker. It was a dream that wouldn’t die: he became a teacher and eventually a school principal but eventually chose to leave the security of that career to educate a wider audience through film. He has been a producer with the National Film Board of Canada since 1997.

His early work as an independent director includes We Remember Amber Valley, a documentary about the black community that existed near Lac La Biche in Alberta. Prior to joining the NFB, he directed two award-winning NFB releases – Carol’s Mirror, and The Road Taken, which won the Canada Award at the 1998 Gemini Awards.

In 1997 he joined the NFB’s Pacific & Yukon Studio in Vancouver, and has gone on to produce close to 50 NFB films. Among his many credits are Crazywater, directed by the Inuvialuit filmmaker Dennis Allen; Hue: A Matter of Colour, a co-production with Sepia Films, directed by Vic Sarin; Mighty Jerome, written and directed by Charles Officer; and the digital interactive project Circa 1948, by Vancouver artist Stan Douglas.

Released in 2010, Mighty Jerome addresses issues of race and nationalism while paying tribute to Harry Jerome, one of the most remarkable athletes in Canadian history. The film went on to win multiple honours, including a Leo Award for Best Feature Length Documentary and the 2012 Regional Emmy Award for Best Historical Documentary.

His recent credits include Ninth Floor, a feature documentary about the infamous Sir George Williams Riot of 1969. Written and directed by the acclaimed director Mina Shum, it’s a story that Jacob has wanted to bring to the screen for decades.



Marlon James
Photo : © Marlon James
Valerie Belgrave
Marlon James
Photo : © Marlon James
From left: Marvin Coleby, Mark Chang, Lynne Murray, Valerie Belgrave, Terrence Ballantyne, Hugo Ford
Vero Boncompagni
Photo : © Vero Boncompagni
Marvin Coleby
Vero Boncompagni
Photo : © Vero Boncompagni
Nantali Indongo
Vero Boncompagni
Photo : © Vero Boncompagni
Vero Boncompagni
Photo : © Vero Boncompagni
Mina Shum, Director
Marlon James
Photo : © Marlon James
Terrence Ballantyne
Vero Boncompagni
Photo : © Vero Boncompagni
Vero Boncompagni
Photo : © Vero Boncompagni
Marvin Coleby
Vero Boncompagni
Photo : © Vero Boncompagni
Marvin Coleby
Vero Boncompagni
Photo : © Vero Boncompagni
Clarence Bayne
Vero Boncompagni
Photo : © Vero Boncompagni
Vero Boncompagni
Photo : © Vero Boncompagni
Nantali Indongo
Vero Boncompagni
Photo : © Vero Boncompagni
Robert Hubsher
Vero Boncompagni
Photo : © Vero Boncompagni
Sir George Williams Campus - Concordia University.
Paul-Henri Talbot
Photo : © Paul-Henri Talbot
André Hébert
Photo : © André Hébert
Arrested students.


Written and Directed by
Mina Shum

Selwyn Jacob

Carmen Pollard

Director of Photography
John Price

Brent Belke

Sound Designer
Miguel Nunes

Production Designer
Elisabeth Williams
Donna Mary Noonan 

Location Manager
Roman Martyn
Etienne Desrosiers

Assistant Location Manager
Diane Janna

Production Manager
Dan Emery
Jennifer Roworth

Production Fixer
Princess Simone Donelan -Trinidad

Sound Recordist
Marco Fania
Gabor Vadnay

1st Assistant Camera
Carla Clarke
Martine Leclerc

2nd Assistant Camera
Camille Baduraux
Ann Berrie

Key Grip
Pierre Malouin
Bob McKenna
Robin Pishton -Trinidad

Best Boy
Sylvain Bélanger
Chris Kralik
François Warot

Walter Klymkiw
Gaetan St-Onge
Éric Babin
Jean-Roger Ledoux
Iscah Straker -Trinidad

Data Management Technician
Sean Sweeney
Leon Rivers-Moore

Assistant Production Designer
Geneviève Burke

Props Designer
Alexander Sergejewski
Frank Seales –Trinidad

Props Production Assistant
Christopher Vadnay

Scenic Painter
Alain Clouatre
Sylvain Gauthier
Geneviève Reneault
Melanie Schmitz
Derek Tyrrell
Frank Seales -Trinidad

Production Assistant
Alexandre Cadieux
Camerin Cobb
Michael Harris
Guillaume Labrecque
Isabelle Limoges
Jessica Lee
Carliena Holder -Trinidad

Creative Director –Graphics
Carmen Pollard

Visual Effects Artist
Brett Keyes

Graphics Illustrator
Brock Ellis

Archival Research
Elizabeth Klinck
Tom Puchniak

Lesley-Anne Macfarlane

David Austin

Tracy Sitter

Archival  Materials
CBC Archive Sales
Archives Radio-Canada
CBC  Licensing
CTV News Stox, a division of Bell Media Inc.
NFB Images
Records Management and Archives, Concordia University
Stock footage courtesy, The WPA Film Library
Getty Images
ITN Source
ITN Source/Reuters

Archival Materials
AP Images
Paul-Henri Talbot – La Presse
André Hébert – La Presse
Agence Québec Presse – Réjean Meloche
© 1976, Réjean Meloche
“Students going off to jail”
George Bird, Montreal Star, Feb. 13, 1969
“Professor Perry Anderson”
Morris Edwards, Montreal Star, Feb. 15, 1969
Senator Anne C. Cools – Senate of Canada

Archival Materials
Len Sidaway, Aussie Whiting and Eddie Collister, The Gazette©1969
Montreal Gazette, a division of Postmedia Network Inc.
photos by Apoesho Mutope
Used with the permission of the Trinidad Express
Used with the permission of the Trinidad Guardian

Redemption Song
Written by Bob Marley
Published by Blue Mountain Music Ltd/
Irish Town Songs (ASCAP)
o/b/o Fifty-Six Hope Road Music Ltd. &
Blackwell Fuller Music Publishing LLC

Redemption Song
Performed by Nomadic Massive
Alejandro Sepulveda, Nicolas Palacios-Hardy
Diegal Leger
Nantali Indongo,Louis Dufieux,Meryem Saci
Robintz Paul, Ralph Joseph

Nah Murderah
Composed by Nicolas Palacious-Hardy, Diegal Leger,
Alejandro Sepulveda, Vincent Stephen-Ong, Jason Selman,
Lyrics by Nantali Indongo, Louis Dufieux, Robintz Paul, Ralph Joseph, Meryem Saci,
Performed by Nomadic Massive, Courtesy of Nomadic Massive Productions, 2013. All rights reserved

Hey Friend Say Friend
Written & Composed by Stéphane Venne, Marcel Stellman
Productions Jacqueline Vézina enr.
Performed by Donald Lautrec, Arranged by Pierre Nolés
Courtesy of Disques Mérite

Stills Photographer
Vero Boncompagni
Jonathan Wenk
Marlon James -Trinidad

Voice Over
Mackenzie Gray

Original Music
Vince Renaud Score Mixer
Paul Forgues Music Engineer
recorded at The Warehouse Studio, Vancouver

Mark Ferris, Cam Wilson, Marcus Takizawa.
Finn Manniche

Sound Editorial Services provided by
Bionic Audio
Miguel Nunes
Assistant Sound Editor
Simon Cho

Foley Artists
Don Harrison, Ian Mackie
Foley Recordist –
Rick “Smokey” Senechal

On-line Editor
Serge Verreault

Re-Recording Mixer
Jean-Paul Vialard

Music Recording
Geoffrey Mitchell

Digital Editing Technician
Isabelle Painchaud
Patrick Trahan
Pierre Dupont

Technical Coordinator
Steve Hallé

Associate Producer
Teri Snelgrove

Production Coordinator
Karen Downing
Kathleen Jayme

Technical Edit Coordinator
Wes Machnikowski

Production Supervisor
Kathryn Lynch

Marketing Manager
Leslie Stafford

Patricia Dillon-Moore

Program Administrator
Jennifer Roworth

Executive Producer
Shirley Vercruysse

Press Relations

  • About the NFB

    The NFB is Canada’s public producer and distributor of award-winning documentaries, auteur animation, interactive stories and participatory experiences, working with talented creators across the country. The NFB is taking action to combat systemic racism and become a more open and diverse organization, while working to strengthen Indigenous-led production and gender equity in film and digital media. NFB productions have won more than 7,000 awards, including 12 Oscars. To access this unique content, visit NFB.ca.