Halifax Black Film Festival launches new program for aspiring Black filmmakers

November 19, 2018 Facebook Twitter LinkedIn Google+ Latest News


A new mentorship program launched by the Halifax Black Film Festival is aiming to tell the stories of being Black in Halifax by supporting aspiring, young Black filmmakers.

The program, called ‘Being Black in Halifax,’ will be taking five people between the ages of 18 and 30, and teach them the ins and outs of making a short documentary.

They will learn script-writing, ethics, sound and camera skills, and how to finance and promote their film. The filmmakers will be guided throughout the entire process by a team of mentors, including directors, sound and camera experts, and an editor.

“It’s specifically for folks who feel like they want a profession in making films but haven’t had the opportunity to pursue their career for cultural reasons, socioeconomic reasons, and this gives them an opportunity to make their first short documentary,” said Deb Rent, coordinator of the film festival.

Juanita Peters, a mentor for the program and an award winning director, hopes to highlight the lived experiences of being Black in Halifax.

“Halifax has the largest Indigenous Black community in Canada. We’ve been here for 400 years, and so our stories differ very much from being Black in Montreal and being Black in Toronto or anywhere else in Canada,” she said in an interview with News 95.7’s Matt Brand.

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For Peters, it’s about “hearing the narratives from the voices, the authentic voices, of people who have lived these experiences, and also dismantling some of the believes that people have. Those voices get to tell you what the real nugget of information is that you need to know in order to have a productive conversation going forward,” she said.

Applicants don’t need a fully-formed idea to apply, just a drive to tell a story, and an interest in filmmaking as a career, says Peters.

“Let us help you refine it. What is the story that you want to tell?” she said. “For me, as a documentary filmmaker, I think you always want to leave it wide open, because what you want is for things to walk through the door that we had not anticipated or had not thought of.”

“Even though you’re going to have lots of mentors along the way, this is a very quick process, and making a film is not easy,” said Peters. “So we want it to be something that’s really important to you, something that you’re not going to give up on, and something that gives a real interesting story or flavour of being Black in Halifax.”

The deadline to apply is November 23, and can be done on the festival’s website.

The completed documentaries will be screened during the film festival, which takes place next March. Filmmakers outside of the program are invited to submit their films to the fest until November 30.

by: Danielle McCreadie