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Special Activities

Master Class

Black Cinema. History & Aesthetics

Thursday, May 29

6 p.m. from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. hs

Free and open to the public (advance registration required).
Virtual format.

This lecture and workshop will address the history of Black Cinema from its beginning in the films of Oscar Micheaux in the US to the trailblazing work of Ousmane Sembene in Senegal to the recent achievements of Ava Duvernay.  The central question we will tackle is: What is Black Cinema? By looking for answers in the films of the last 100 years we hope to make links between Black Cinema and the political movements that have inspired it such as the Civil Rights Movements, the Haitian Revolution, the liberation struggles on Black African and Caribbean countries in the 60’s, the Cuban Revolution, The Black Panthers Party and more recently Black Lives Matter.

This workshop will also make links between the aesthetics of Black Cinema and the musical movements of the African diaspora such Jazz, Hip Hop, Samba, Rumba and the oral tradition of the Griot.  This workshop will examine feature films, music videos, documentaries, experimental films and recent TV shows and see how the African lineage has survived and transformed itself in those cinematic creations.I will be showing clips of seminal films throughout this workshop, but I also want to create critical discussions about the impact that those films have had on the audience in attendance. How did the release of Black Panther in 2018 change your relation to Black Cinema? Can a Black artist retain his voice within a $100 million project made in Hollywood? I want to know what impact the proliferation of Black TV shows and films have had on Black audiences. Why do we have a hard time watching films about slavery and mass incarceration?   Is there a healing process that occurs when we collectively watch a film like “12 Years a Slave”?

Organized by the Embassy of Canada in Argentina and the International Human Rights Film Festival FICDH


Stefan Verna
Is a Montreal based filmmaker whose creations explore many genres such as  documentary, fiction, music videos and dance films.  His deep interest in Hip Hop Culture, Black Cinema and Politics fuels his body of work. “Poeticizing our pain” describes both his process and the impact he seeks with his filmmaking. In 2016, he co-founded Black on Black Films, a collective for Black filmmakers in Quebec. His previous films are:  Ice Storm Cabaret, Chocolate City , Poetry in Motion, Diversidad: a Roadtrip to Deconstruct Diner, Drawing Blank, MONtreal: Jazz Stories and Metamorph. He is presently completing his second documentary feature called NOMAD’S LAND: a documentary Rhyme, directing Night Watches Us at the NFB and in developing the feature film On Thin Ice with Loaded Pictures.

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