Arts featured

Through our eyes, in our voices: The annual Emerging Lens Independent Film Festival starts Wednesday

KJIPUKTUK (Halifax) – The 9th Annual Emerging Lens Independent Film Festival is about to kick off on Wednesday. Four days of great movies, shorts and documentaries, free admission, all across town, (and another bonus night of movies in New Glasgow and Truro), what is there not to like?

The focus, as always, is on African Canadian and other cultural film makers.

“There is a wealth of stories out there that are undiscovered. We are fortunate enough that we are connected to the film community and our community,” says Shelley Fashan, without a doubt the driving force behind the festival.

“Often filmmakers will  kind of downplay their work, they don’t think anyone else would want to see it, But there are so many great stories, and we are fortunate that we have been able to collect them over the nine years,” Fashan says.

On Wednesday night there is the gripping feature-length film Black Cop, by Cory Bowles.  Also noteworthy that night is True North Strong, a short documentary by Christopher Yip about the growth of the repugnant white supremacism of the Faith Goldy variety.  

For the Thursday night at the Bus Stop Theatre, Fashan mentions Portrait of a poet, featuring poet and historian Afua Cooper, by Nova Scotia filmmaker Sobaz Benjamin.

I am looking forward to the Gottingen Street Stigma, one of the movies featured on Friday at the Gottingen Street public library, about how part of Gottingen acquired a new name.

See also: ‘Novalea IS Gottingen, plain and simple.’ How a rigged survey triggered a name change and humiliated a community

On Saturday night at the Black Cultural Centre people will have the opportunity to see the documentary This is North Preston, by Jaran Hayman.

“It deals with one person’s struggle and his life of crime, and how he then becomes a musician. It’s told from his point of view. This is his story,” Fashan says. “We decided we would screen it in the community  and give the community an opportunity to talk about it.”

Among the featured shorts and movies on Sunday April 28 in Truro is the acclaimed interview/documentary by Rami Katz about organizer Jack Odell, close colleague of Martin Luther King Jr, and a former member of the Communist Party, O’Dell was followed by the FBI, labelled the number-five Communist in America by President Kennedy, and was eventually forced out of King’s organization.  

The trailer looks so good I may almost hop in the car and drive down the 102 on Sunday.

For more information, check out the Emerging Lens website.

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