Tag Archives: NFB

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.

 

Happy New Year Update!

 

 

Ariadne’s Notes:

I want to thank all  the World Poetry Participants , publishers, the World Poetry Canada International closed groups Peaceathon, World Poetry Youth Team  and, media partners in print and digital  poetry association partners and  film partners. In 2017, the film partners reached numbered 7 and we are grateful for their wonderful films and the opportunity to promote them. We hope to expand into other media as well.

 

The World Poetry Café radio show has been on the air continually since 1991 and the current team will be adding a couple of guest hosts in January and February. We just received a certificate from the station which I hope to post.

The show how has now reached 101 countries and the book launches have also been very popular with a wait list for a variety of  guests from LA and New York , USA, as well as the world.

The World Poetry Peace Celebration still has poems to be read on the show and certificates to be sent out. 700 peace poems were received and are being read on the show with more coming in.

I want to thank all of your who have sent messages, phoned and contacted me in appreciation of what World Poetry has done for them, opened the doors for contacts and positive exposure and in bringing the poets, musicians, artists, writers together worldwide as a family in support of respect, love and peace.  As one media person put it! “They love your positive and respectful show!’’

 A big thank you to are directors and advisors!

This is a volunteer position for me and I hope to do the best job possible promoting all of you.

In the new year, we hope to expand with a FB Media Page, podcasts and World Poetry Media reporters searching out and reporting on positive news with the goals of respect, unity, love and peace.

In peace, respect and love,

Ariadne

 

World Poetry Celebrates Unarmed Verses-A Must See Doc at VIFF!

 

 

A Must See Documentary at VIFF! Unarmed Verses by Ariadne Sawyer, MA.

Showing at the festival: Wednesday, October 4, 1 p.m.  SFU’s Goldcorp Centre for the Arts

Friday, October 6,  p.m. Rio Theatre.

Charles Officer’s Unarmed Verses presents a thoughtful and vivid portrait of a community facing imposed relocation, taking a look at marginalized Toronto Community Housing residents in the city’s north-east end. At the centre of the story is a remarkably astute and luminous 12-year-old black girl. The  documentary Unarmed Verses made its world premiere at the Hot Docs Canadian International Documentary Festival  and now at VIFF festival. The films poignant observations about life, the soul, and the power of art give voice to those rarely heard in society weaves through it like a beautiful tapistery. Unarmed Verses is produced by Lea Marin and executive produced by Anita Lee for the NFB’s Ontario Studio. Source NFB.

In viewing the film; the courage, intelligence and capability of the young girl,  Francine Valentine who cared for her family and was able to see clearly what was happening as her community is re-located to build condos which would be too expensive for any of the community to buy was very powerful

 She is an talented poet, student and shining light in the world.  It is wonderful that she has been accepted into an arts school and will become an amazing asset to Canadian society.

As she mentioned in the documentary: “Youth need to learn to empower themselves. It is important to have someone believe in them .”

Earlier, I had a wonderful interview with Charles Officer about this well done, sensitive and empowering documentary. He spoke of the need for governments and communities to realize the powerful effects that their decisions make on marginalized people and talked about  his commitment to the problems of gentrification, economics and the need to for their stories to be heard. Charles is an amazing director with many credits and part of the  upcoming TV series 21 Thunder which began June 19th. http://www.imdb.com/title/tt6145878/fullcredits

Officer has also done such documentaries as Mighty Jerome, the NFB feature on Canadian sprinter Harry Jerome, the recent CBC documentary The Skin We’re In, and the drama feature Nurse. Fighter. Boy, which garnered 10 Genie nominations in 2008.

For an insightful interview. http://www.cbc.ca/radio/q/why-i-direct-charles-officer-1.4096127

 Current update on Unarmed Verses after HotDocs from Katja De Bock, NFB.

Unarmed Verses opened the 14th EIDF Documentary Film Festival in Seoul, Korea. The film was well received. Similar matters around revitalization, disconnection between citizens, developers and lawmakers is  happening across the country as well.  This is a worldwide problem and that needs to be addressed.

Unarmed Verses was screened at Toronto City Hall and hosted by Councillor Shelley Carroll, who also appears in the film. Council members were present, but Mayor John Tory was absent. I have been trying to get him to come see the film, but no luck. I have a lot of respect for Councillor Carroll, it was brave of her to initiate the screening and communicate how much she did learn from the film, and taking in the experience of those living it. Sydney, Q’mal and Lavane were present and had an opportunity to update Council members on the aftermath of revitalization. 

A great doc to see! Previously reviewed on The World Poetry Café Radio Show, 105.FM CFRO and was linked to www.worldpoetry.ca  and published in the Afro News http://www.theafronews.com/a-must-see-documentary-at-viff-unarmed-verses/

What’s next for Charles Officer:

He is  currently in production with a new feature documentary, Invisible Essence: Le Petit Prince. The film explores the mystery and magic of the universally popular novella written by Antoine de St. Exupery. Also re-writing a mini-series adaptation of Mordecai Richler’s Don of a Smaller Hero.  Charles is a talented filmmaker who has an important message to the world.