At this year’s Canadian Screen Awards, the winner of the Best Direction in a Documentary, Barry Avrich, stated “…this is a testament that there are so many Black stories in Canada that need to be told, it doesn’t matter who tells them, we just need to tell them.” We at the Toronto Reel Asian International Film Festival profoundly disagree.
For years we have watched as our community has been grossly misrepresented onscreen and our stories told by others. At a time when we have finally begun seeing more authentic stories about ourselves being told onscreen, it was deeply disappointing to hear a filmmaker proclaim that it “doesn’t matter” who tells the stories of Black Canadians. We express solidarity with the Black community who have heard and experienced this harmful sentiment for too long. It demonstrates how out of touch the industry establishment is and how overdue it is to provide greater support to BIPOC creators.