Black History Month at VIFF offers audiences an opportunity to engage with Black stories from a range of Black voices from around the world, as well as the richness of nuanced and empowered Black filmmaking.
The centrepiece for the February Black History Month programming is perhaps the most important film about race since I Am Not Your Negro, Who We Are: A Chronicle of Racism in America . Also included in the programme are two potent political dramatic features, The Sleeping Negro from newcomer Skinner Myers and Lingui, The Sacred Bonds by veteran Chadian filmmaker Mahamat-Saleh Haroun, accompanied by two documentaries Music. Money. Madness Jimi Hendrix: Experience Live in Maui and Poly Styrene: I Am a Cliché *, which showcase the perennial impact of Black artists on popular culture. In addition to film programming, VIFF is presenting an online talk with the key creatives behind the CBC and BET+ original series, The Porter .
LANDMARKS: BLACK ATLANTIC INDEPENDENT FILM 1961-1969
Continuing the recognition and celebration of Black history and achievements beyond the month of February, VIFF is proud to announce Landmarks: Black Atlantic Independent Film 1961-1969, a series curated by Nya Lewis, which launches this month but will play out with monthly screenings into May.
The Landmarks series frames a community of producers, actors, directors and screenwriters, whose work created an unofficial counter-archive, and self-prophesied a definitive vernacular of Black film and American life. Precursors to the “Blaxploitation” era, this restorative anthology of “invisible classic” Black Atlantic films endeavors to make visible an often diminished or erased era in Black image-making, revealing a unique moment in history – an emerging vision of cinema that underlines the revolutionary possibilities of Black representation in Hollywood.
This eclectic and exciting series unearths films and filmmakers often overlooked by those responsible for constructing the canon, such as the playwright Lorraine Hansberry (A Raisin in the Sun ), photographer/filmmaker Gordon Parks (The Learning Tree ), actor/poet Ruby Dee and writer Julian Mayfield (Uptight ), even cabaret artist/hustler Jason Holliday, the subject of Shirley Clarke’s cinema-verite Portrait of Jason .
Doubling as a tribute to the late Sidney Poitier, one of the most inspiring and influential screen actors of the past century, who passed away last month, A Raisin in the Sun will screen twice at the VIFF Centre in February.
Note: Screening times for the rest of the Landmarks series films will be announced over the coming weeks. *also accessible via VIFF Connect