For Viola // Free Screening: Spaces for Us

For Viola returns to the Hot Docs Ted Rogers Cinema with Spaces for Us, a pair of acclaimed shorts by multitalented Black artists Topaz Jones and Ian Kamau. Each mining a precious personal archive, Jones and Kamau employ the mediums of documentary and hip-hop to reflect on coming-of-age and claiming space within their respective communities of Montclair, New Jersey, and Toronto, Ontario. Following the screenings, Spaces for Us will present a conversation between the films' creators on the shared themes that animate their work, both musical and visual.

Don't Go Tellin' Your Mama

D: Simon Davis, Jason Sondock & Topaz Jones | 2021 | USA, Germany, France & Italy | 38 mins

In his stunning Sundance award-winning visual album, rapper and singer Topaz Jones offers a thoroughly modern and timely reimagining of The Black ABCs, a flashcard system developed by a group of Chicago teachers in the 1970s. With messages like “A is for Afro” and “S is for Soul Sister,” the cards promoted images of Black learning and joy in an era where the vast majority of materials created for kids were centered on whiteness. Now, 50 years later, the multi-talented Jones—along with directing duo rubberband—updates the meaning of each letter of the alphabet to reflect on aspects of contemporary Black identity. Lensed with lush, eye-popping style by Lemonade cinematographer Chayse Irvin, Don’t Go Tellin' Your Momma is an unforgettable sensory experience with a powerful social message.

We Went Out

D: Ian Kamau | 2022 | Canada | 12 mins

As a teenager, Toronto artist Ian Kamau had few formal places to call his own. He and his friends each shared modest apartments with their mothers, affording them little privacy. All members of the downtown hip-hop community of the 90s and 00s, they responded by claiming the city’s in-between spaces: its sidewalks, stairwells, rooftops and rail paths. Two decades on, Kamau’s We Went Out assembles a core crew of those same friends to reflect on coming of age and forming community in those liminal zones. The spaces they valued didn’t always value them in return—but they remain important and formative venues in our city’s cultural landscape.

Post-screening Q&A with We Went Out director Ian Kamau, Hot Docs moderator Julian Carrington, and more.

Tickets: FREE

While this film is presented free of charge, if you wish to extend your support, please consider a donation of $10 in recognition of the value of the work presented, and in honour of Viola Desmond, featured on the $10 banknote, at checkout. Half the proceeds will be shared directly with the filmmakers, who also receive screening fees.


For Viola // Free Screening: Spaces for Us

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