Tag Archives: Charles Officer

World Poetry Celebrates Charles Officer Once Again!







The Ariadne’s Notes:  The World Poetry Café Radio Show , 100.5 FM, CFRO was honoured to feature once again the talented director and filmmaker Charles Officer (https://worldpoetry.ca/?p=12208) Charles. with his new, must see documentary, Invisible Essence:  The Little Prince now available across Canada. The film is now at the Carlton cinema in Toronto all week. 

It was so exciting to have him call in at 1:30 pm PST from Toronto! 

Of all his films, my favorite was Unarmed Verses, the story which explores youth and race-related issues in the city of Toronto in the aftermath of the shooting of Trayvon Martin in the United States through the experiences of Francine, a 12-year-old girl and poetess, living with her father and grandmother in a northeast Toronto neighbourhood facing demolition and reconstruction. Charles still keeps in touch with this courageous young woman, now 16 who is doing well and has a poetry blog .

It was exciting to hear about his recent documentary featuring the ” modern-day Little Prince – a cheerful, seven-year-old blind Pakistani-Canadian boy who encounters The Little Prince, via braille and audio-book, for the very first time, and grapples with the meanings of the story he has just read. “


 Invisible Essence: Little Prince, a Must See Film available all across Canada!

Existentialism is a big word. But for 76 years, for a readership barely old enough to read, Antoine de Saint-Exupéry’s The Little Prince has conveyed the importance of asking who we are, what connects us to others, and how we should live.
It is a puzzling story, devoid of a conventional happy ending. And yet, as we see in Charles Officer’s acclaimed documentary Invisible Essence: The Little Prince, this story of a stranded aviator who encounters an elegant alien child in the Sahara, has become the most read book after the Bible – selling an average of two million copies a year in 300 languages.
Invisible Essence: The Little Prince explores the global legacy of The Little Prince 75 years after its publication. Weaving the author Antoine de Saint-Exupery’s extraordinary biography with fascinating discussions from key sections of the book, exploring ways life and art can reflect in curious ways. And in telling the author’s own story of a child who suffered the loss of a father and beloved brother, and who found “himself” as an aviator for the French air-mail company Aeropostale, flying alone over no man’s lands.

Working imaginatively with the famous line “what is essential is invisible to the eye”, the film introduces a modern-day Little Prince – a cheerful, seven-year-old blind Pakistani-Canadian boy who encounters The Little Prince, via braille and audio-book, for the very first time, and grapples with the meanings of the story he has just read.

Invisible Essence: The Little Prince tackles its subject from different angles, with footage from various film versions (live-action and stop-action animated), academic insights from scholars and archivists who’ve devoted their lives to Saint-Exupéry and his message, and – most poignantly – as it applies today, such as Mark Osborne (director of the animated film “The Little Prince”), Adam Gopnik (Staff Writer at The New Yorker), Rupi Kaur (Poet, New York Times Bestselling Author), Stacy Schiff (Pulitzer-Prize-winning biographer of St-Exupéry), and Olivier and François d’Agay (the great nephew and nephew of Antoine de Saint- Exupéry). Although a fable, Antoine de Saint-Exupéry’s transcendent story suggests an ethical philosophy about life in its own way, a code of respect for humanity.

“The journey of making this film was really to explore what it is about this book that resonates with so many people, that has transcended gender and culture and religion and language,” says director Charles Officer (Unarmed Verses, Nurse. Fighter. Boy).  “I believe in these times it wouldn’t hurt for us to revisit this book. It is about our connections and our relationships that matter the most.”

About Blue Ice Docs
Founded in 2014 in partnership between Robin Smith, president of KinoSmith, and Blue Ice Group co-owners, Steven Silver and Neil Tabatznik, Blue Ice Docs uses the expertise and skills of both organizations to acquire, fund and develop a wide variety of non-fiction projects from around the world. Upcoming releases include GURRUMUL, THE SILENCE OF OTHERS, OVER THE LIMIT, ALL THE WILD HORSES, THE OSLO DIARIES and THE HEAT: A KITCHEN (R)EVOLUTION.

Source: Ingrid Hamilton GAT,

Filmography :

Charles Officer: As an actor, he has appeared in stage, film and television productions, recently starring in the Theatre Calgary/Soulpepper Theatre Company co-production of A Raisin in the Sun.[
Officer’s directorial debut, When Morning Comes, premiered at the 2000 Toronto International Film Festival (TIFF). His other work includes the short films Short Hymn, Silent War (2002), Pop Song and Urda/Bone (2003), a music video for K’naan’s “Strugglin'” (2005) and television pilot Hotel Babylon (2005).
He is a frequent collaborator of Canadian filmmaker and actress Ingrid Veninger, having worked on numerous projects with her, including the short film Urda/Bone, which screened at the New York Film Festival in 2003. The short film was later picked up for distribution by Mongrel Media. Veninger also produced his feature film Nurse.Fighter.Boy.
The 57th Berlin International Film Festival selected his feature screenplay Nurse. Fighter. Boy for its Sparkling Tales writer’s lab in 2007. Inspired by Officer’s sister’s battle with sickle cell anemia, the film was produced while Officer was a student at the Canadian Film Centre. The film was shot over 23 days with a hand-held camera shot on location in Toronto, in areas where Officer grew up, including the back alleyways of Eastern Avenue; Woodbine and Danforth Avenue; and a boxing club in Cabbagetown where Officer had learned to fight at age 13.
Nurse . Fighter. Boy premiered at TIFF 2008 and won the Audience Award at the International Film festival Mannheim-Heidelberg and the audience award for Best in World Cinema and a jury prize for Best Cinematography at the Sarasota Film Festival. It was also released theatrically in Canada on February 2009.
In April 2009, production began on Officer’s feature documentary about Harry Jerome. The film was completed in 2010.
In 2009 Officer directed two short films for the cross-platform project City Sonic. Officer, along with six other directors, shot 20 short films about Toronto musicians and the places where their musical lives were transformed. Officer directed films starring D-Sisive and Divine Brown.
Premiering at the Vancouver International Film Festival on October 8, 2010, Mighty Jerome explores the rise, fall and redemption of Harry Jerome, Canada’s most record-setting track and field star. Archival footage, interviews and recreations are used to tell the story of what Jerome’s university coach, Bill Bowerman, called “The greatest comeback in track and field history.” Mighty Jerome is produced by the NFB’s Selwyn Jacob,
In June 2015, Officer completed principal photography in Toronto on a National Film Board of Canada documentary entitled Unarmed Verses, produced by Lea Marin, which explores youth and race-related issues in the city of Toronto in the aftermath of the shooting of Trayvon Martin in the United States through the experiences of Francine, a 12-year-old girl living with her father and grandmother in a northeast Toronto neighbourhood facing demolition and reconstruction. The film was named Best Canadian Feature at the 2017 Hot Docs Canadian International Documentary Festival.[16] In October 2017, it was named Best Canadian Documentary at the Vancouver International Film Festival.

Source : Wikipedia 


World Poetry Celebrates Michelle Merlindt!









Ariadne’s Notes;  On March 7,  at 1:10 PM PST the World Poetry Café Radio Show had the honour to welcome the poetic historian Michelle Merlindt reciting her beautiful poem The Library of Alexandria on her CD  the Pearl of Dubai . She takes treasures from the past and brings them to life in her work. She appeared on the show a year ago and is back by popular acclaim.

We celebrated International Woman’s Day with poems from Greece and India  and  welcomed the wonderful filmmaker and Director Charles Officer with his latest film opening across Canada, The Little Prince.










Michelle Merlindt was born in a remote region of Australia and spent her childhood on a farm in the bush. Since then she has lived in eight countries. Due to her profession as a racehorse veterinarian, she spent thirteen years in Dubai where she first began to write and explore poetry. Now settled in the Gulf Islands of Canada she continues to pursue spoken word poetry in charming old-fashioned rhyme as a means of storytelling. Like a little piece of chocolate for the imagination, her poems are meant to delight the listener. Since she loves history and overlooked fragments of culture, each of her poems, set in a faraway land, is like a magical voyage to another time and place.
On her website michellemerlindt.com she writes a blog in which she discusses the inspiration behind her stories.

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.