Film & Theatre


Aspects of African Canadian Film & Theatre
Film & Theatre | Feature Films | Independent | Documentary | Filmmakers | Playwrights | Theatre Companies

This page contains sections about the major areas of Black filmmaking in Canada. Film projects in Canada produced by African Canadians are becoming more prominent, but many years ago one would have been hard-pressed to find any Black filmmakers. While today filmmakers like Clement Virgo, Stephen Williams, Colina Phillips and others are well known, in the mid-1970s there were only a few pioneering Black directors, such as Claire Prieto, Roger McTair and Jennifer Hodge. By the 1980s, names such as Selwyn Jacob, Erroll Williams and Christine Brown began to emerge.

In the early years of Black film, the documentary form was the primary mode of expression, largely because of the lack of funding that was available for feature films. Today, Canada has an emerging group of talented African-Canadian filmmakers and playwrights whose projects are getting wider recognition in Canada and abroad. The emergence of new talent, along with the proven abilities of industry veterans, is giving audiences a wide range of styles and creative outlooks to further express the differences, concerns, and experiences of Blacks from coast to coast. The increase of a Black presence in film and theatre can only lead to a bigger and brighter future for Black filmmakers, playwrights, and video producers in Canada.

Many thanks to the following individuals and organizations for their support in the production of this website: The Black Film and Video Network, The National Film Board of Canada, Paul Brown, Andrew Moodie, Colina Phillips, Clement Virgo, Stephen Williams, Claire Prieto.


Special Topics at The National Film Board Of Canada (NFB)

The National Film Board Of Canada (NFB) created "Studio D" in the 1980s to deal with films concerning women's issues, including issues that affected African Canadian and First Nations Women. From this endeavour it became possible for African Canadians to produce works that represented aspects of their culture, as well as dealing with issues that were of primary concern to them. Dionne Brand was one of the pioneers in this initiative. Prior to this, films about African Canadians and their issues were produced and directed by individuals who did not belong to this group. Some notable NFB films and themes include the following (please click on the icon for more information about each film):


Bronwen & Yaffa | For Angela | Speak It! From the Heart of Black Nova Scotia




Jump Up! Caribbean Carnival in Canada


Voice of the Fugitive | The Road Taken



Karen King, National Film Board of Canada.
National Film Board of Canada Catalog
Black On Screen, Images of Black Canadians, National Film Board of Canada, Studio D, 1992.

Prepared by: Diana Alliman