• Wednesday, Aug. 5, 2020
OYA Emerging Filmmakers Program looks to support young Black talent         
Ngardy Conteh George (foregound) and Alison Duke
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The OYA Media Group, headed by Alison Duke and Ngardy Conteh George, has reaffirmed its commitment to the ongoing support, education and promotion of young Black filmmakers.  The OYA Emerging Filmmakers Program (formally known as Black Youth! Pathway to Industry) is a three-year initiative that provides 20 post-secondary graduated Black youth per year with networking, mentoring, essential skills training alongside industry pros and creative partnerships with TIFF Education, Regent Parks Film Festival Live it to Learn it, NABET 700, VTape, Charles Street Video, LIFT and Trinity Square Video. OYA makes a point of employing emerging Black youth in their original productions such as Mr. Jane and Finch and encourages producers to hire Black youth in projects they direct such as Cool Black North. This year Canadian Screen Award Winning Director Alicia K. Harris will be the Program’s Filmmaker in Residence. Harris will be working with year 3 participants to create an original digital web series produced within the program.

OYA’s program provides opportunities for youth to direct exciting original content with industry professionals. Last year the Fabienne Colas Foundation in collaboration with the Toronto Black Film Festival teamed up with the OYA Emerging Filmmakers Program to provide production support, training and mentorship to six youths to direct a short documentary series. The doc program called Being Black in Toronto aims to change old narratives and expand beyond one-dimensional portrayals of the Black community.  The project is entirely written and directed by the youth and screened at the foundation’s film festivals in Toronto, Halifax and Montreal and fests throughout North America. The series will premiere on CBC’s Absolutely Canada in late August, or early September.  The films are:

  • YYZ directed by Omolola Ajao (Lola Rachel)
  • The Onyx Butterfly directed by Yasmin Evering-Kerr
  • Blacksun directed by Adrian Wallace
  • Tallawah Abroad directed by Sharine Taylor
  • #Black directed by Yvano Wickham-Edwards (Yvano Antonio
  • Joseph, Margaret and I directed by Valerie Amponsah

Participants also produced Confessions, a short fiction film about consent that was directed by Kristen Lambie and produced by Malachi Ellis and Wanda Muna Youssouf as a group project. A sneak peak of the film was shown during the year two graduation along with the presentation four cash awards of $500 donated by local artist, Sarde.

The award winners were:  David Peddle, Crew member of the Year for working on every single production; Sonya Mwanda, Editor of the Year for her work on Confessions; Yasmin, Director of the Year for her beautifully crafted short film, The Onyx Butterfly; and Producer of the year Malachi Ellis for his work on Confessions.  Television director Dawn Wilkinson (How to Get Away with Murder, Empire, Locke and Key) was presented with the inaugural OYA Inspired Award for being such an inspiration to the next generation of filmmakers. 

OYA Media Group has several feature documentaries projects in development including the feature doc This Land of Ours and VR project Wa’Omoni Rising directed by Ngardy Conteh George, a feature documentary Mothering in the Movement directed by Laurie Townshend and Bam Bam: The Story of Sister Nancy directed by Alison Duke.  OYA is also developing a documentary series Black Canadian Mixtapes and a fiction series called Paradise.

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