Hot Docs has added the new monthly film series For Viola to its VOD platform Hot Docs at Home. Named in honour of Canadian civil rights icon Viola Desmond, the important documentary series will centre around Black, Indigenous and People of Colour (BIPOC)-led stories and filmmakers.
This fall, the series will feature of favourite documentaries of mine including, Charles Officer’s 2017 Festival doc Unarmed Verses and the 2019 Festival film In My Blood It Runs, directed by Maya Newell.
Viola Desmond (1914–1965) was a Black Nova Scotian entrepreneur and pioneer in the struggle against anti-Black racism in Canada. In 1946, Desmond was arrested and jailed when she refused to leave the whites-only seating area of a Nova Scotia cinema and was subsequently convicted and fined. In one of the first known legal challenges to racial segregation in Canada, she fought to overturn her conviction. Though her conviction was not reversed in her lifetime, she received a posthumous pardon from the Nova Scotia government in 2010.
The For Viola series is programmed by Hot Docs’ distribution manager Julian Carrington and volunteer coordinator Dawnalda Brennan, in consultation with Hot Docs’ Equity, Diversity and Inclusion (EDI) anti-racism working group. The series is one of many initiatives the group has undertaken to amplify marginalized voices and create a more diverse and inclusive culture within the organization.
Official Selection, Hot Docs Festival 2017
D: Charles Officer | 86 mins | 2017 | Canada
A remarkably astute and luminous 12-year-old girl’s poignant observations about life, the soul and the power of art give voice to a Toronto community facing imposed relocation, and speak to our universal need for self-expression and belonging.
I also had the pleasure of speaking with Officer about this film. One that I continue to recommend to anyone in Toronto, although it is relatable regardless of where you reside.
Official Selection, Hot Docs Festival 2019
IN MY BLOOD IT RUNS
D: Maya Newell | 84 mins | 2019 | Australia
Available October 29
Considered a promising leader by his elders but a failing student by his westernized school teachers, an Aboriginal boy in central Australia must straddle two worlds, coming of age in the midst of a larger cultural battle between colonizers and colonized.
I did a spotlight on the film last year, in which I also spoke with the film’s director Maya Newel. I cannot recommend this film enough.
To minimize barriers that may prevent audiences from participating, all presentations included in For Viola will be FREE of charge. You can reserve your Free Streaming Ticket by visiting hotdocs.ca.