Sunday, February 20, 2011

Wedge Curatorial Projects presents, Witness As Desired: A Celebration of African Canadian Film

This afternoon, TIFF Bell Lightbox hosts a free screening of short films by African-Canadian filmmakers as part of the free Family Day weekend events. The screening program is entitled Witness As Desired: A Celebration of African Canadian Film. It starts at 3:30pm in Cinema 4.

Featured filmmakers include Dawn Wilkinson, Powys Dewhurst, Alison Duke and Sharon Lewis. Many of the filmmakers will be in attendance at the screening. TIFF Co-director Cameron Bailey will also be in attendance.

There will be a reception and panel discussion with Cameron Bailey and the contemporary filmmakers involved following the screening.

Witness As Desired: A Celebration of African Canadian Film

Sunday, February 20th, 2011, 3:30pm-6:00pm (Reception to follow)

TIFF Bell Lightbox, Cinema 4, Admission is Free
TIFFBell Lightbox, Reitman Square
350 King Street West, Toronto

Witness As Desired
is an exploration of African Canadian identity in film. The program presents a series of short films by emerging and established filmmakers that reflect historical journeys and challenge representations of African Canadians. It is also serves as vital documentation of contemporary perceptions regarding race and identity.

Presented by TD Bank Group, as part of THEN & NOW, a series of cultural events. This celebration of Black History Month showcases visual arts, performance and cinematic events for the entire family.

Visit for more information.

Featured shorts include

Worldwide Premiere

Dawn Wilkinson, Looking for Dawn, 2011

Looking for Dawn is a personal journey exploring how the skin colour of a bi-racial actress informs the her roles, career, and ultimately self-image and identity. Wilkinson uses interviews and archival footage to explore how other bi-racial actresses are creating their own work in order to express themselves.

Powys Dewhurst, Where Do White People Go When the Long Weekend Comes? The Wondrous Journey of Delroy Kincaid, 2008
A highly artistic, 8 year old boy is raised by his grandmother in a seaside Caribbean island fishing village. When his parents in Canada "send" for him, he and his grandmother migrate to a 'First World' inner city - but then she passes away. A lonely Delroy tries to understand his grandmother's death, a new culture and his emerging identity as a displaced, confused black 'immigrant' child in a new world.

Jason Ebanks, Olé', 2010

A stop animation short that features 100 cd covers from albums that have inspired Ebanks creatively, and shaped him into the person he is today. The wildly divergent musical artists and styles on display reflect an esthetic informed by a universe of popular (and not so popular) music over the filmmaker's life.

Alison Duke, Batty Boys Revenge, 2010

This colourful short is a full-on rant – highly political, but also full of humour. An important statement of personal identity within the typically uninspired mix of Canadian music video content. Can't stop, won't stop..

Sharon Lewis, CHAINS, 2009, 10:41min

Originally aired on HBO and winner of best science fiction at the Eugene International Film Festival, CHAINS will make its Canadian premiere at Witness As Desired. CHAIN, the story of a young woman, starved for beauty in her desolate underground community of scavengers. She appears to commit the crime of growing a flower by using water, a scarce and precious commodity in her world. Munk, who oversees a roulette-type death punishment, stops to consider this world's only flower – but the gun is loaded and the trigger is squeezed...

Deanna Bowen, sum of the parts: what can be named, 2009, 18:00min

A performed oral history, this video recounts the 'disremembered' journey of the Bowen family from its earliest documented history in Clinton, Jones County, Georgia in 1815, told by Bowen herself. Influenced by Eli Wiesel's 1989 New York Times article regarding art, the Holocaust, and the trivialization of memory, the work chronicles the lives of family members who could not speak on their own behalf by delving into the unknown, retracing what is hidden, and reclaiming histories of the lost.

Sylvia Hamilton, Keep On Keepin' On, 2010, 3:00min

A short documentary style visual poem to Nova Scotia from the perspective of a resident of African descent. It says: we are here, and we have been here for a very, very long time. Using a seamless blend of live action footage and rare archival still photographs, Keep On Keepin' On is a visual challenge to the iconic representations of Nova Scotia as being only white and Scottish.

Colina Phillips, MAKING CHANGE, 1995, 18:00min

Making Change depicts the conflict between a man's powerful desire to experience a fulfilling life as a musician versus continuing his days as a responsible family man drained by tedious work in an underground coal mine. This is in fact the filmmaker's parents' story, and making it facilitated a transition from a music career to film. Making Change was the first movie directed by Colina Phillips, and it remains a powerful artistic statement.

Chantal James, The Little Prince, 2009, Rio de Janeiro, 6:52min

This is the story of Geisiel Tavares, the leader of gang who recounts his experiences of life on the streets of Rio de Janeiro with honesty and humor, giving meaning to a way life often discounted by mainstream society. The film is part of a larger project, The Undesirables, a collection of photographs and video narratives examining social exclusion among Rio's youth. Brazilian street children are often the descendants of slaves and stigmatized through a veiled racist system.

Peter Dean Rickards, Proverbs 24:10, 2008, 2:35min

Proverbs was filmed in the community of Waterhouse in Kingston, Jamaica and was subsequently included in the landmark 2009 contemporary art exhibit 'Rockstone and Bootheel' at Real Art Ways, Hartford, USA . Slowed footage features dancers undulating to an outdoor sound system; the mournful recording of "All Things Beautiful" by Nick Cave and Warren Ellis is substituted for the original soundtrack of pounding dancehall music.

For more information, please visit: or email

Witness As Desired
is included in a series of programmed events associated with the exhibition
Position As Desired / Exploring African Canadian Identity: Photographs from the Wedge Collection
Curated by Kenneth Montague

Currently on view at the Royal Ontario Museum until March 27, 2011
Exhibition catalogue available from the ROM Museum Store and online from
Position As Desired and associated programming is generously supported by the TD Bank Group, the Royal Ontario Museum, Citizenship and Immigration Canada, the Canada Council for the Arts, the Ontario Arts Council, and the Toronto Arts Council.

Further programming includes:
Position As Desired: A Symposium on Artistic Practice and African Diasporic Communities in Canada
Saturday, March 5, 2011, 9:30am–5:00pm
Signy & Cléophée Eaton Theatre, Royal Ontario Museum

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