An interview with Maya Annik Bedward — a Toronto-based filmmaker of Jamaican and French Canadian origin — on how her film company, Third Culture Media, explores the intersection of different cultures on screen.
Born in Ottawa to a Jamaican father and French-Canadian mother, Maya Annik Bedward is a Toronto-based filmmaker, director, and producer. Her films have been screened at festivals across North America and Europe and sold to Air Canada and the CBC.
In 2015, Maya launched Third Culture Media, with support from the Michaëlle Jean Foundation, alongside her producing partner, Kate Fraser.
Her latest short film is WHY WE FIGHT. The intimate documentary follows the story of a Brazilian-Canadian couple, Sapo and Lorena, living in Toronto and who share a love for capoeira — an Afro-Brazilian martial art form. Together they're raising their young son Nauê, who was born with a rare disease known as IFAP syndrome – a genetic condition characterized by a lack of sweat glands. As the family faces the prospect of losing Nauê at any moment, capoeira has served as a life-affirming force bonding the trio together through daily life's ups and downs.
"If we didn't have Capoeira in our life, I don't think Nauê would have gotten this far," Nauê's father, Sapo, says.
Brought to Brazil from Africa during the Trans-Atlantic slave trade in the 16th Century, capoeira is a martial art that combines dance, acrobatics, and music elements. Maya was very inspired by Afro-Brazilian culture when she lived in the South-American country for a year, meeting dancers, musicians, artists, and storytellers.
"The vitality and creativity I saw there pushed me to finally pursue my creative passion for filmmaking," she shared.
The film WHY WE FIGHT is currently available for streaming on CBC Gem in Canada and worldwide on the CBC YouTube channel.
Watch Why We Fight
Maya Annik Bedward on IMDb
Follow Maya Annik Bedward on social media
Follow cast and on social media
- Gerdson Dias Alves (Sapo) on Instagram
- Lorena on Instagram
- Nauê Né Alves on Instagram
Other resources & articles
- Ojuobá Capoeira (Sapo's capoeira school in Toronto)
- How Brazilian Capoeira Evolved From a Martial Art to an International Dance Craze
- Black Zombie (hungryeyes.ca)
- The Long Legacy of Occupation in Haiti (by Edwidge Danticat)
- The Black Screen Office
- Black Women in Film