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Before the Black Lives Matter movement

05 Sep 2020

A discussion with filmmakers Ngardy Conteh George (left) and Alison Duke from OYA Media Group on capturing the history of Canadian anti-black racism activism and their film, Mr. Jane and Finch

Toronto filmmakers Alison Duke and Ngardy Conteh George lead OYA media group. The production company is committed to the ongoing support, education and promotion of young black filmmakers.

The OYA EMERGING FILMMAKERS PROGRAM (formerly known as Black Youth! Pathway to Industry) is a three-year initiative that provides twenty post-secondary black youth graduates per year, networking, mentoring, essential skills training alongside industry pros.

One of the original productions through which they made a point of employing emerging black youth was 'Mr. Jane and Finch.' The documentary, co-produced and co-written by Ngardy and Alison, won two 2020 Canadian Screen Awards: the 'Donald Brittain Award for Best Social/Political Documentary and Best Writing in a Documentary.

Mr. Jane and Finch explores the life of long-standing community activist and amateur documentarian, Winston LaRose who has dedicated the last 25 years to support the troubled community of Jane and Finch. With gentrification high up on the political agenda, the man affectionately named Mr. Jane and Finch decided to challenge the traditional powers for the city councillor seat of ward 7.

His run for public office, reveals how the deeply racial politics have plagued the area. Over-policing without accountability and a perennial lack of social services in the area has further marginalized black and people of colour in the community. 

The film was released last year and serves as a great backdrop for today's watershed social reckoning around anti-black racism.

During the course of this podcast episode, we discuss the history of Canadian anti-black racism activism and their award-winning film, Mr. Jane and Finch.

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