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Friday, July 19, 2024

Being Black in Halifax: Floating

Nikita Morris's Floating screens as part of the Being Black series of shorts at the 2024 Halifax Black Film Festival.

Back at the Halifax Black Film Festival this year, young filmmakers from across Canada created short documentaries addressing the issues that impact Black communities. Among them are four local filmmakers who share their stories about what it means to them to be Black and living in Halifax.

In this Q&A, we learn more from Halifax filmmaker Nikita Morris about their film Floating. Morris’s film screens with other film shorts in the Being Black series from Halifax, Montreal and Ottawa filmmakers on February 24 at Cineplex Park Lane (5657 Spring Garden Rd, Halifax). Visit halifaxblackfilm.com for tickets and information.

This interview has been edited.

Tell us about Floating. What can audiences expect?

Floating is a captivating film that beautifully captures the essence of being in the moment and experiencing complete serenity. It gracefully explores the idea of letting go of one’s worries and surrendering to the present. The audience can expect to learn something new about the breaking community and connect with the film’s overall feeling.

How did you find the story/what was your inspiration for the film?

Halifax filmmaker Nikita Morris (above) hopes audiences will gain a better understanding of breaking and the hip-hop scene in Nova Scotia from her film, Floating.
Halifax filmmaker Nikita Morris (above) hopes audiences will gain a better understanding of breaking and the hip-hop scene in Nova Scotia from her film Floating.

Breaking has been the one thing that has been the most helpful to my mental health in this past year, and I wanted to know how I felt when entering what’s called a “flow state” if others felt the same.

I am a hip-hop dancer myself, and I had stopped practicing or going to class for a long time. Then, after a bit of a rough year, I finally decided to start practicing again, and I joined my first breaking class at Cobequid Dance Academy. From there, I got to go to battles around the Maritimes and see the scene around Atlantic Canada. Everyone was very welcoming. When the opportunity came up in the spur of the moment, I decided to go with breaking because it has been the most prominent and impactful thing in my life.

Why this particular film now?

The scene here in Nova Scotia is very small, but it’s growing. I see this as a way to let people know we’re here, too. Breaking has a very rich history, and you don’t hear about it unless you’re in the scene. Its roots run deep through our culture and our society and are more than what people might think it is. I want to show people that I want them to hear the history. Hip-hop and breaking play a unique role in Black history.

What was your biggest challenge in making the film?

The biggest challenge I faced in making this film was time and crunching down the interviews in a way that made sense but was just as meaningful as the full interview.

What will surprise audiences about your film?

I think the audience will be surprised by how much they can relate to it from their standpoint. Their experience may differ, but the feeling will be the same.

What do you hope audiences walk away talking or thinking about after seeing the film?

More knowledge on the breaking and hip hop scene in Nova Scotia and how much of an impact it has had on the community over the years. I also hope they can think back to when they, too, felt like they were “floating.”

What’s next for Nikita?

Hopefully, I get to do more of this. I would love to see this become something bigger. I think it’s important for people to be involved in this community. This is only the beginning for me. The journey is long, but it’ll be filled with adventure.

Floating screens are part of the Being Black series from Halifax, Montreal, and Ottawa filmmakers on February 24 at Cineplex Park Lane (5657 Spring Garden Rd, Halifax). Visit halifaxblackfilm.com for tickets and information.

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