Last week, we launched our first annual 48-hour-Anti-Racism Film Festival. The festival consists of a 48-hour film challenge, poetry jam, and film screening. Everything within the festival coincides with the theme of anti-racism and takes place during February (to honour Black History Month) and in March. We wanted a unique and fun way to engage the community with anti-racism initiatives. Racism is a fairly taboo topic that people don’t like to converse about – yet it’s a real problem. So we are happy to engage in the conversation through an art form such as film and poetry.
This past weekend, 60 participants (equalling to 17 teams in total) spent their next 48 hours story and script writing, filming, and editing their short films. Each team was given either a quote or prop they had to incorporate into their film. The films had to be 2-5 minutes long and the message in the end had to be relating to anti-racism. The teams consisted of kids, teens, youth, and adults from various ethnic backgrounds. The event took place at the University of Calgary at That Empty Space in MacEwan Hall.
After getting their challenge, the teams went off to complete it! Our staff were available at the University of Calgary during the 48-hours to help the teams. We also had numerous food, snacks and drinks to keep the teams energized. In the end a total of 11 teams completed their challenge. Other teams who did not complete their challenge are still encouraged to finish their challenge so we may screen their films. All completed films will be screening on March 21, the International Day for the Elimination of Racial Discrimination at the John Dutton Theatre in downtown Calgary. The event will begin at 6pm. You can get free tickets to the event here.
The winning team of the film festival will receive a cash prize of $250!
The poetry jam was another program that took place during the festival on Saturday, February 13. We had a total of 15 poets perform their pieces to an audience of about 100 people. Some poets spoke of their own experience, their peers, of things in the media, the implications of racism in society and how it affects human life in general.
Overall, the film challenge and poetry jam brought together the Calgary community to combat racism through art. We are excited for the red carpet film screening as it allows for a large audience to bring more awareness about the issue and help mitigate it.
We would like to thank the Calgary Foundation and the Alberta Human Rights Commission for helping to fund the initiative. Without funding, our event wouldn’t have happened, so we truly appreciate their help! We would also like to thank the Antyx Community Arts group and the University of Calgary’s Film Society in partnering up with us to promote our event. Without the help of everyone, we wouldn’t have been able to get this event started!
We’ll see you at the screening!