Symposium: Cinema and Black Empowerment

Join this event on Zoom:

Annual Symposium Series
10:00am | Sept 25, 2021

Mama Lova

About the event

English — An old expression goes, “he who pays the piper calls the tune”. Films have historically been a tool in the hands of the producer for propaganda, propagation of rumours, bias, oppression, or debasement. Films can also be a tool for empowerment, to uplift and to educate. Films like “Christmas Gift”, “Hair Tales”, “Coconut Chú”, “The Treasure Mask”, or “The Sign”, are local productions that have NEVER been aired anywhere in the world! That is because they were produced by students of the AM-FM Filmmakers Master Class – a program that has trained 20 young Manitoba Blacks to produce films from concept to postproduction. The panel this year consists of 6 young filmmakers who will engage with our community to discuss barriers, tools, opportunities, challenges, issues, and options for the empowerment of young black filmmakers in Manitoba.

About the keynote, respondents and panelists

Keynote Speaker: Tamara Mariam Dawit is an Ethiopian-Canadian producer and director. Her most recent film is the award-winning documentary Finding Sally which premiered in 2020 at Hot Docs. She is currently producing the feature documentary Made in Ethiopia and two Ethiopian feature dramas.
In addition to producing, Tamara works as an advisor in the screen sector on programming and policies to address equity and inclusion. In Canada, she is a founding board member of the Racial Equity Media Collective and in Africa, of Ethiopia Creates and the East Africa Screen Collective. Tamara was a resident in Docs in Progress, the Logan Non-Fiction Residency and is an alumnus of Berlinale Talents, Durban Talents, Doha Producers Lab, Rotterdam Lab, Apost, and EAVE.

Panelist: Fatima Siyawareva, Filmmaker, Winnipeg, MB: Growing up, I loved watching movies and stories that represented me. I was drawn to digital storytelling at a young age and dreamt of the day that I would make movies. However, I never got an opportunity to do that as the filmmaking industry is almost nonexistent in Zimbabwe. However, that dream is still alive, and I still hope to make my own films one day. I would like to make films that represent Black and African people well. For so long, stories in the movie industry have been told from a European colonial lens. Black and Bipoc people are hardly represented in the film industry, and if they are, it is usually negative. I would like to change that by making films that celebrate the rich history and stories from the motherland. I would like to see positive and uplifting stories told about African people.

Panelist: Brayden Adenekan, Filmmaker Winnipeg, MB: I am interested in film making because I really like making YouTube videos but I need to get better at filming so my quality is very good. My mom also likes to make films so I would like to partner with her and we both will be the best at filmmaking. I like to cherish videos that I film because, who knows, maybe no one else will video our most fun moments. I also like to do videos for acting and doing it with my peers, but I can’t really do that because of Covid-19 so I act with my mom and we have so much fun directing.

Panelist: Dina Hamid, Filmmaker Winnipeg, MB: I have always been interested in film making since I was young. I would spend days watching countless movies and wondered what it took to put them together. My favourite thing to do was to come up with ideas for my own movies/shows. It was nothing but a fun hobby that I was interested in, but over quarantine I started to think more and more about possible careers I see for myself, and film has always been something I’ve been passionate about. I am now trying to grow my knowledge on film production and screenwriting, and I hope with this opportunity I can do just that.

Panelist: Boubacar Marah, Filmmaker Winnipeg, MB: Ever since I was a kid, I’ve I always loved movies but I never knew you make it into a career. When I reached high school there were, “all these you could be”, and “all these course you could take”, and for me, none of them felt right, none of them felt like I could do something with this in the future. Until I was in grade 11 when these people from ATC Arts And Technology Center came and made a presentation on why you should go to their programs. They had a variety of courses but one stuck out to me — broadcast media. That was the first time I actually felt like, “ yeah, I could do something with this”. When I went to the course it just felt right for me, like, if am not doing this, I can’t do nothing else. I have now been done the course for over two years and I just want to learn from all aspects of film.

Panelist: Dorin Adenekan, Filmmaker Winnipeg, MB: Creating films is a passion I have had for many years, and I also love telling stories either through photographs or videos. I am interested in this program, the AM-FM Filmmaking Masterclass because it will be the first official training I will be receiving in this area. I have been looking for opportunities like this, and being an African decent, I believe this is an important opportunity that could be tailored to my need, especially in the Canadian context. In addition, I have always been interested in short non-fictional and fictional films to amplify stories. However, with this official training experience I believe I could gain the insights towards, writing a longer story/script, directing and producing even longer movies. Also, I look forward to connecting with other passionate film makers, where building better teammates (collaboration) can become a reality for me too.

Panelist: Olu Akinyede, Filmmaker Winnipeg, MB: I believe we have so many stories that are from Africa and in the world that needs to be told by Africans. I have always had the dream to tell these stories I heard from my mum and dad to the world. I also realized that the best African stories are told by foreign movie makers that do not really project the true African culture. I want to make movies that tell the African story. I have also looked at making documentaries of histories of my family and culture to preserve our heritage. When I was in my early education, I was actively involved in acting, but as I grew up the societal pressure drew me away from this passion. I believe this is an opportunity to reawaken it.

Bringing Greetings: Honourable Cathy Cox, Minister of Sport, Culture and Heritage with the Province of Manitoba.