Every February, people across Canada participate in Black History Month to honour the legacy of Black Canadians and their communities. To celebrate the many achievements of Black Canadian filmmakers this Black History Month, we’ve put together this handy list of fantastic DGC Productions and films and television made by DGC Ontario Members you can stream right now, as well as upcoming productions we’re especially excited about!
DGC Ontario Director Clement Virgo’s adaptation of David Chariandy’s novel, the story of two Jamaican Canadian brothers whose dreams are dashed by violent reality in 1990s Scarborough. The sons of Caribbean immigrants, Francis and Michael, face questions of masculinity, identity and family amid the pulsing beat of Toronto’s early hip-hop scene. The film was named to TIFF’s Canada’s Top Ten list for 2022 and was shortlisted for the Rogers Best Canadian Film Award at the 2022 Toronto Film Critics Association Awards.
Click here for a complete list of DGC Members who worked on Brother.
We spoke to Director Clement Virgo on his longstanding history with TIFF ahead of Brother’s festival premiere:
“My very first short screened at TIFF in 1993, and my first feature at TIFF in 1995. I am honoured and humbled to be showing another film at TIFF. I’ve had a long relationship with the festival, and I’m excited to be presenting the world premiere of Brother in a theatre to one of the best audiences in the world.”
When Morning Comes
In the emotionally resonant feature debut from DGC Ontario Director Kelly Fyffe-Marshall (winner of TIFF’s inaugural Shawn Mendes Changemaker Award in 2020), a young Jamaican boy grapples with his widowed mother’s decision to relocate to Canada. When Morning Comes was shortlisted for the 2022 Jean-Marc Vallée DGC Discovery Award.
Director Kelly Fyffe-Marshall speaks about her immense feeling of pride ahead of When Morning Comes’ TIFF premiere:
“When Morning Comes is the hardest, most beautiful thing I’ve ever made. Being able to go home to Jamaica and make a film about a theme that is so personal to me, my love letter to Jamaica and my love letter to my family’s sacrifice, and then to have its premiere at such a prestigious film festival makes me beam with pride. This is also a film for my community and the countless immigrants in Canada and around the world.”
This jazz era-set CBC/BET series showcases how railway workers from both Canada and the United States joined together to give birth to the world’s first Black union. The Porter itself has made history as Canada’s biggest Black-led television production and Canada’s first all-Black writer’s room.
Click here for a complete list of DGC Members who worked on The Porter.
Revenge of the Black Best Friend
Workin’ Moms and The Porter star Olunike Adeliyi headlines this funny and insightful CBC Gem series created, co-written, and co-produced by Amanda Parris. Revenge of the Black Best Friend follows Dr. Toni Shakur, a self-help guru whose singular mission is to cancel the entertainment industry’s reliance on token Black characters….before she gets cancelled herself.
Set in Toronto, Virgins! is a CBC Gem dramatic comedy created by Aden Abebe that follows the lives of four 20-something-year-old women and best friends. Too modest for the big city but too provocative for the East-African homes they come from, the virgins awkwardly navigate through their careers, workplace politics, dating and relationships, and, of course, sex.
Click here for a complete list of DGC Members who worked on Virgins!.
Learn to Swim
Director Thyrone Tommy’s debut full-length feature that also landed on TIFF’s Canadian Top Ten for 2021, Learn to Swim centres on a stormy romantic relationship between Dezi (Thomas Antony Olajide) and Selma (Emma Ferreira), two talented but troubled jazz musicians trying to make it big.
Read our interview with Learn to Swim Director Thyrone Tommy on the making of this Toronto-centric jazz love story.
Created and hosted by Afro-Columbian Canadian music superstar Lido Pimienta, LIDO TV is a fantastically funny and insightful variety show that combines puppetry, sketch comedy, absurdist humour and musical performances to explore themes of colonialism, beauty, and feminism.
Click here for a list of DGC Ontario Members who worked on LIDO TV.
Next Stop is an anthology comedy series that chronicles the lives of young Black Torontonians as they confront the challenges of living in a competitive, expensive, and rapidly changing city. Both hilarious and insightful seasons are available to watch now on CBC Gem.
Click here for a list of DGC Ontario Members who worked on Next Stop.
With Wonder takes an intimate look at the journey of members of the queer, Christian community of colour and their attempts to answer the question: Can you be both Christian and queer? In this feature-length documentary, we hear and see diverse members of the LGBTQI+ community, including high-profile queer activists and queer clerics, in places like Jamaica, New York, London, and Los Angeles.
Read our interview with Director Sharon Lewis about the personal journey that propelled her to explore the intersection of the queer, Christian community of colour.
Toronto Caribbean Carnival: Fun and Free
A unique documentary film that celebrates the fifty-year history of the Toronto event of the year – Toronto Caribbean Carnival, aka Caribana. This special traces the half-century history of the parade, its traditions and roots, and showcases the rich culture and music traditions of Caribbean Canadians.This film opened the 2022 CaribbeanTales International Film Festival and received the Caribbean Spirit Award.
Beyond Black Beauty
Directed by DGC Ontario’s Alicia K. Harris and based on Anna Sewell’s novel Black Beauty, Beyond Black Beauty from Sinking Ship Productions follows an Olympic-driven equestrian who has to move back to Baltimore from Belgium with her family and ends up bonding with a horse named Black Beauty.
Click here for a list of DGC Ontario Members who worked on Beyond Black Beauty.
The Big Cigar
A biographical drama thriller miniseries that follows the manhunt for Huey P. Newton, the founder of the Black Panther Party, who seeks the help of film producer Bert Schneider, the Hollywood producer behind Easy Rider, as well as a few other celebrity radicals, to escape to Cuba.
Click here for a list of DGC Ontario Members who worked on The Big Cigar.
Prolific music video director and DGC Ontario Member Julien Christian Lutz, aka Director X, created this upcoming eight-episode drama with a modern take on the Robin Hood legend. Robyn Loxley, whose masked hip-hop band, The Hood — from Sherwood Towers in a working-class corner of New Nottingham — learns to fight for what’s right and hold those in power to account by using their greed against them to help their community.
Click here for a list of DGC Ontario Members who worked on Robyn Hood.
The story of Claressa ‘T-Rex’ Shields, a boxer from Flint, Michigan who became the first woman in American history to win an Olympic gold medal in the sport. This biographical sports film is Cinematographer Rachel Morrison’s feature directorial debut and was written by Moonlight’s Barry Jenkins.
Click here for a list of DGC Ontario Members who worked on Flint Strong.