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    Film & TV

    Jillian Danford’s unexpected path to social media stardom is almost unheard of. Danford was living a regular suburban life where she worked as a court registrar with Oshawa’s Superior Court of Justice. A co-worker suggested that she audition for The Shopping Channel where she landed a steady gig and figured she’d done pretty well for herself in the entertainment industry.

    The CaribbeanTales International Film Festival (CTFF) kicked off this past Wednesday, September 4th, 2019 at the Royal Cinema in Toronto. Before the CTFF opening night, I had a chance to catch up with festival Co-Director Diana Webley. Webley shared what she is looking forward to this year at CTFF, and the growth of the festival over the fourteen years since it’s conception.

    Black representation in film (and television) is making inroads in new ways this year. I’m not talking about the usual one dimensional tropes of blackness we’ve gotten used to being fed as “diversity” every award season. There are no affable butlers, matronly maids, or black characters in need of white saviours on anybody’s awards list this year.

    Released on May 17, the documentary, “This is North Preston” follows the journey of R&B artist Just Chase and the community he grew up in. In the film, the singer leads us back to his hometown for a walk down memory lane. I met Chase for a sit down interview after watching the documentary.

    A pitch for a new film came across our desk recently called ShoeGazer. But the film is about black hair, so the title left us wanting to learn more. ShoeGazer won the official selection for this year’s Toronto ACTRA Women’s Committee’s Short Film Creation Lab. The all female team is using Indiegogo to raise $3,000 to finish production. The story follows Sydney, who, in the midst of a quarter-life-crisis, bumps into her perfect-on-paper ex-boyfriend. It's awkward. How could it not be, especially since Sydney still doesn't know what exactly went wrong between them. So she summons her ovaries and finds the…

    When news broke last year that CBC was looking for “Canada’s Kerry Washington” to star in the new crime show Diggstown, the excitement about this historic role was palpable.

    A 2018 University of Southern California study found that less than 1% of directors were women of colour, based on statistics related to the top-grossing 1,100 films and 1,233 directors in America, 2007 to 2017. In Canada, those type of statistics don’t even exist. But we know that women of colour are woefully underrepresented and underpaid.

     A tall lean man of mahogany hue moves with ferocity of purpose, arms swinging with piston like precision belying a man of his 81 years. He propels his body forward, all swinging arms, contorted limbs and suspended frame. His steely eyes are locked on a hard won prize. The same prize that compatriots from the diaspora like Stephen Roach and Dudley Laws were severely punished for daring to reach.

    Frances-Anne Solomon is an artistic force to be reckoned with. As the director of CaribbeanTales and the International Film festival of the same name, she has grown the entity into a globally recognized institution that gives voice to filmmakers throughout the Caribbean diaspora.

    Netflix and chilling is now part of our regular routines and the ever ready stream of entertainment has made it easy for 1 in 4 Canadians to cut the cord.

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