The acclaimed filmmaker Charles Officer discusses his new documentary feature Unarmed Verses, about a low-income housing block in Toronto that is being redeveloped, and the immigrant families who are affected, in particular a charismatic young girl named Francine Valentine, with Joseph Planta.
Text of introduction by Joseph Planta:
I am Planta: On the Line, in Vancouver, at TheCommentary.ca.
Charles Officer joins me now. The acclaimed filmmaker’s latest Unarmed Verses will be screening at the Vancouver International Film Festival 04 and 06 October 2017. The film won the Best Canadian Feature Documentary award at HotDocs 2017. It’s a poignant and uplifting film about a family in northeast Toronto who are about to leave the low-income housing block for a redevelopment project that could bar them from coming back later on. We meet Francine Valentine, a precocious girl, whose insight on community, life, love and the city around her touch and inspire the viewer. She joins a local arts workshop where she can work on poetry and music, all the while, helping her family run the house and navigate the bureaucracy of social housing. I’ll get Mr. Officer to tell us about how he came to do this film and tell these stories. We see the Art Starts organisation in Toronto in action, and the young lives that benefit from their mentorship, including Francine. The film will also have its theatrical run in Toronto, as it screens here at VIFF. Charles Officer’s previous films include When Morning Comes, Nurse.Fighter.Boy, and Mighty Jerome, which won numerous awards including four Leo Awards. Visit the National Film Board of Canada’s website at www.nfb.ca/film/unarmed_verses  for more information. www.viff.org  will be where you’ll get tickets for the screenings here in Vancouver. The October 6th screening at the Rio will feature Charles in attendance. Please welcome to the Planta: On the Line program, Charles Officer; Mr. Officer, good morning.