Four emerging local filmmakers – Lily Nottage, Dena Williams, Kardeisha Provo and Tyler Simmonds – are winners at this year’s Canadian Screen Awards, with Being Black in Halifax winning Best Direction in a Documentary Series.
Produced by Zaza production and originally broadcast on the CBC television network in 2021, the series addressed the issue of social integration of people from Black communities in their city through film.
Among the four films is Simmonds’s The Search For Healing, a personal story of courage and self-discovery in dealing with mental illness.
Simmonds says the win feels great coming from a work that has such personal meaning. “More than anything, I’m so excited for the other filmmakers,” he says. “It really touches me to see young Black women create such beautiful work and be recognized for it.”
“We are grateful to the Academy of Canadian Cinema & Television for recognizing that Black stories do matter and that Black filmmakers are talented,” says series executive producer Fabienne Colas and founder of the Fabienne Colas Foundation. The Foundation presents Black Film Festivals in markets across the country. It’s Being Black in Canada program is Canada’s largest incubator dedicated to Black filmmakers who are vastly unrepresented in front and behind the camera.
“It also proves one more time that Black emerging filmmakers don’t lack talent. They just lack opportunities,” Colas continues. “And this is exactly what the Fabienne Colas Foundation’s Being Black in Canada program offers. We are so proud to be amplifying more Black voices through this program all over Canada with the support of our partners.”
This is not the first Canadian Screen Awards win for the Being Black in Canada program, with Being Black in Toronto filmmakers bringing home the same award last year.
The Being Black in Halifax series, produced by Zaza production and broadcast on the CBC television network in 2021, is now available for streaming on CBC Gem.