New documentary shines light on need for representation
SUDBURY -- A new short documentary with deep local ties is hoping to spread awareness of an important issue.
'Amplify' takes a look at the stories of three black women, focussing on their experiences as black women and their hopes for the future.
"I noticed there was a lack of Sudbury-based resources that tackled the issue of racial inequality and being a visual learner myself, I figured a short documentary would be sort of the best platform to shed light on these inequalities in a nice, accessible way," said director Isak Vaillancourt.
Vaillancourt said that it's a project he had wanted to do for some time and getting the ability to sit with the three women in the film, Sonia, Shana and Josephine, and hearing their stories on socialism, activism and discrimination was insightful.
In one portion of the film, the women talk of the need for better representation when it comes to things like support and mental health resources.
Shana explained why it was important for her to find a therapist who was a person of colour.
"It's all about being able to relate with that person and being able to share that lived-in experience," he said. "If you're not Black, it's hard to understand the Black experience and in order to offer adequate mental health resources, it's important that a therapist knows where you're coming from."
Filming was done last summer at the height of the George Floyd protests and the resurgence of the Black Lives Matter movement.
Ra'anaa Brown, co-president of Black Lives Matter Sudbury, can certainly relate. When she was a masters student, the pressures of life and the challenges being faced became a lot to handle, leading her to open up to a therapist.
"At the time I was doing a racially-themed thesis and I would say I'm experiencing some push back from the institution in regards to this or from my classmates and that I'm having these racial interactions, people are being racist towards me and I was constantly getting these questions of 'well were you sure it was racist," said Brown.
Brown said that she's extremely proud of the work Vaillancourt has been able to accomplish and she's hoping others will watch it, like it and learn from it.
"It was so touching and it was so beautiful. This beautiful, incredible feature on these strong, Black women living in the north, it really inspires me and the filmography and the cinematography is so well made and I think it's something that...the movie says so much more than it says if that makes sense," she said.
Vaillancourt said that he's hopeful to fight the idea many have that racism isn't a local issue.
"As much as we like to pretend that Canada is a nation of cultural tolerance, we have a lot of work to do and the first step to that work is acknowledging that we have these issues and were doing that which is great," said Vaillancourt. "The second thing I'd like people to do is be encouraged to get involved locally. We have a lot of amazing, grass roots organizations here in Sudbury that do amazing work."
Vaillancourt says Sudbury has a lot of unique communities and he plans to continue his work, highlighting the city's diversity.
The film is available by clicking here.