World Poetry Celebrates Selwyn Jacob & the NFB!

WP Afghan film screening in Richmond, BC.

Ariadne’s Notes: The World Poetry Cafe Radio Show, on CFRO, 100.5 FM 1-2 pm. was honored to feature Selwyn Jacob from the National Film Board speaking about his retrospective film The Road Taken and publicist Katja De Bock who brought some tips for upcoming actors.  Also  calling in was the wonderful jazz musician from Chicago Erin McDougald   celebrating her new CD “Outside the Soiree”  and giving her thoughts about being an outsider and the MeToo movement. She will have a separate feature.  

LISTEN TO THE SHOW BELOW:

https://drive.google.com/open?id=1yGdheZz4gPvtJy4XHZSBAX15amzH_KVa 

A Must See Event! Selwyn Jacob Retrospective at DOCA. 2018 by Ariadne Sawyer, MA. for the Afro News and World Poetry Media.

Selwyn Jacob will be honoured with a retrospective screening of his 1996 film, The Road Taken.

This is a great opportunity to see this amazing film and meet this legendary producer and  filmmaker. DOXA screenings: Saturday, 5 May- 6 pm at The Annex, Tuesday, 8 May at 2:45 pm at the Vancity Theatre https://www.doxafestival.ca/film/road-taken

The Road Taken 1996 documentary takes a nostalgic ride through history to present the experiences of Black sleeping-car porters who worked on Canada’s railways from the early 1900s through the 1960s and how they made a difference. This 1996 documentary takes a nostalgic ride through history to present the experiences of Black sleeping-car porters who worked on Canada’s railways from the early 1900s through the 1960s. There was a strong sense of pride among these men and they were well-respected by their community. Yet, harsh working conditions prevented them from being promoted to other railway jobs until finally, in 1955; porter Lee Williams took his fight to the union.

Claiming discrimination under the Canada Fair Employment Act, the Blacks won their right to work in other areas. Interviews, archival footage and the music of noted jazz musician Joe Sealy (whose father was a porter) combine to portray a fascinating history that might otherwise have been forgotten.

Selwyn Jacob is a Canadian documentary filmmaker whose work has often explored the experiences of Black Canadians as well as other stories from Canada’s multicultural communities, as both as an independent director and since 1997 as a producer with the National Film Board of Canada (NFB).

Originally from Trinidad, Jacob attended a teacher’s college there before traveling to Canada in 1968 to complete a Bachelor of Education at the University of Alberta in Edmonton. While in Edmonton, he was influenced and mentored by film producer, author and broadcaster Fil Fraser. After graduation, Jacob completed a master’s degree in film studies at the USC School of Cinematic Arts.

Jacob’s interest in Black Canadian non-fiction storytelling continued as NFB producer, supplemented by a notable range of films by Asian Canadian filmmakers from Canada’s western provinces, exploring their communities’ culture and histories, as well. His NFB producing credits include The Journey of Lesra Martin, about Lesra Martin, a Canadian youth who helped to free Rubin “Hurricane” Carter from prison; Jeni LeGon: Living in a Great Big Way (1999), a portrait of Jeni Le Gon, a Vancouver resident who had been one of the first Black women entertainers in Hollywood to sign a long-term contract with a major Hollywood studio; John McCrae’s War: In Flanders Fields (1998), a look at Canadian army doctor John McCrae, who wrote the poem, “In Flanders Fields”; Colleen Leung’s Letters from Home (2001); Linda Ohama’s Obachan’s Garden (2001); Ling Chiu’s From Harling Point (2003), about the first Chinese cemetery in Canada; Eunhee Cha’s A Tribe of One (2003); and Mighty Jerome (2010), a documentary film about African-Canadian track star Harry Jerome directed by Charles Officer.

In 2014, Jacob produced Ninth Floor, directed by Mina Shum. The film documents a 1969 Montreal student protest against racism known as the Sir George Williams Affair, and was filmed in Montreal on the 45th anniversary of the event. It was an event Jacob had been aware of at the time, as a number of its participants had been from Trinidad—including one from his home village—and Jacob has stated that it was always his intention to make a film about the incident.

Jacob’s interest in Black Canadian non-fiction storytelling continued as NFB producer, supplemented by a notable range of films by Asian Canadian filmmakers from Canada’s western provinces, exploring their communities’ culture and histories, as well.

The World Poetry Café Radio Show, now heard in 104 countries and celebrating 20 years of being on the air was blessed to welcome the well-known documentary Vancouver producer/director filmmaker Selwyn Jacob to the show along with Katja De Bock from NFB  on May 3, 1-2 pm PST, CFRO 100.5 FM in a fascinating interview highlighted by a question from a youth actor about getting continued work in the film industry. 

Thanks to the help from Katja De Bock and Selwyn Jacob in contacting Alvin Sanders, who recently ended several terms as vice-president of the Canadian union for actors in recorded media ACTRA, and who is a Black actor himself (currently playing a supporting role on the TV series RIVERDALE).  For more advice please contact UBCP/ACTRA directly: http://www.ubcp.com/  UBCP/ACTRA is the BC Branch of the actor’s union ACTRA. 

Alvin kindly sent these tips in response to the youth actor’s question:

Alvin says it’s difficult to answer a question about a person of a specific ethnicity, but he can reply with regards to diversity opportunities in general:

  • “Because of the steady increase in shows in the streaming world (Netflix, Hulu, Amazon etc.), the opportunities for actors in general have increased tremendously (more shows to be shot in BC and Vancouver) over the last 10 years, and particularly for diverse actors (as the distributors and streaming platforms are aiming at world-wide audiences, and want/need diversity in their casts).

  • It needs to be said that actors cast in U.S. productions shot in Canada are usually cast in supporting roles, he says.

  • NONE of the casting decisions on U.S. productions are made here.  They are all made in the U.S.

  • The majority of characters in any type of production (TV, web, feature, TV movie, etc.) these days are young (under 35).  So all mediums are for young performers.

  • It would be good to move to LA and get an LA agent if you want to be the lead character on a show.

Alvin also said, the above remarks apply to actors with a North-American accent, it might be tougher for people with a Caribbean or African accent to be cast in a main role, or even a supporting role, though of course not impossible, see the success of actors like Indian Priyanka Chopra on Quantico.”

The World Poetry Café Radio Show would like to thank him for his help in answering the question and for his important tips for young actors.

Sources: NFB, DOCA, Wikipedia., the Afro News.

 

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