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Top Picks from Ella Cooper

Top Picks from Ella Cooper

In recognition of Black History Month, Ella Cooper is proud to be guest curator for the NFB and present a selection of our top three favourite films from its Focus on Black Filmmakers channel. Ella Cooper, founder of Black Women Film Canada!

See more from our Black History Month Curators:
Top Picks from Fondation Dynastie
Top Picks
Top Picks from Dalton Higgins
Top Picks from Michael P. Farkas

Ella Cooper

Ella Cooper is an award-winning director - producer - multimedia artist and the founder and executive director of Black Women Film Canada @bwfcanada. She has also served as a programmer and jury for TIFF, Reelworld, Cinema Politica and Black Star and is passionate about amplifying Black & BIPOC voices and changing the dominant narrative in our cultural landscape today.

  • Unarmed Verses
    Unarmed Verses
    2016|1 h 25 min

    This is a beautiful documentary directed by the late Charles Officer and produced by Lea Marin. Lyrical, visually stunning and poignant, this is a moving watch and a reminder of what an important storyteller Charles was. This bittersweet film reminds me of the way in which we as Black filmmakers capture the Canadian history of our youth and many underrepresented voices. It’s a joy to sit back and watch a young girl’s journey to find her voice, and the film also serves as an incredible archive of the Black neighbourhoods that continue to be disrupted by rampant development in our country. - By Ella Cooper

  • 19 Days
    19 Days
    2016|26 min

    Asha and Roda Siad’s film stood out for me, as they are both filmmakers, journalists and educators dedicated to raising social awareness and creating positive social change through their work. Check out their bios and you’ll see what I mean. This short doc takes you on a journey covering the first 19 days of new refugees’ experiences in Canada, and more specifically, during a harsh Calgary winter.  - By Ella Cooper

  • Black, Bold and Beautiful
    Black, Bold and Beautiful
    1999|42 min

    Black women, this is a film best watched with another sista. Nadine Valcin’s doc, shot over 20 years ago, hits upon a timeless topic relevant to so many Black women-identified people today. Yes, it is our hair. There are interviews with distinctly different Black women, sporting everything from natural hair to perms, locks and braids, juxtaposed against histories of Black hair and intimate moments getting their hair done. This film reveals the very personal struggles, childhood memories, trauma and awakening that are all tied up in the coils of their Black hair. This is a fun one to watch, and it invites us to question societal norms while reflecting on our own Black hair bias and experiences. - By Ella Cooper