For the past 15 years I’ve served as the Director of Programming for Cinema Politica, the world’s largest community and campus-based documentary screening network. Curating for CP has mostly been a collaborative, consensus-based process with a dedicated team of volunteers and senior programmers Svetla Turnin, Viviane Saglier and Muhammad El Khairy. Aside from the annual selection of around 50 films, I’ve also co-curated several sidebar programs and curatorial projects, some of which I’ve listed below.
Bring it Black: Films by Black Artists in Canada, co-curated with Ella Cooper and Henri Pardo, was launched in February 2021 and features fiction, experimental, documentary shorts and much more. This collection combines creative flair with political potency and unwavering voice in a rich selection of cinema from Black directors working across the country known as Canada.
First Peoples, First Screens 2019 is the second installment of a special Cinema Politica program that showcases Indigenous socially-engaged filmmaking from across Turtle Island. As a follow up to the 2016 program, this dynamic offering of animation, experimental, fiction and documentary works is divided into four thematic clusters and was curated by Jess Murwin (Mi’Kmaq), Conor McNally (Métis) and Ezra Winton.
Nations & Migrations: Stories of Borders, Bodies and Resistance was a 2016-2017 program shaped by the curatorial guideposts of mobility, origins, community and belonging. Films were curated by Svetla Turnin and Ezra Winton that highlighted issues of nationhood and migration from both a historical and contemporary perspective. The program probed troubling topics like Islamophobia, xenophobia, racism, chauvinist nationalism, while foregrounding collective struggles around social justice, migrant rights and anti-racism work across Canada and beyond.
Creativity, Colonization, Contestation: Indigenous Cultures and Peoples of the Americas on Screen and Stage was a film series that was part of Encuentro in June 2014. The program consisted of fiction, documentary and experimental works from across the Americas, with a special focus on Indigenous artists working north of the 49th. The program, which was curated by Svetla Turnin and Ezra Winton, was made up of “exceptional works that engage with the histories, cultures, politics and manifestations of communities of artists, activists, and people living and working in the Americas.”
Divine Interventions: Documentary, Spirituality and Social Justice was a 2013-2015 program curated by Svetla Turnin and Ezra Winton that explored the intersection of social justice and spirituality in documentary cinema. It delved into the roles spirituality, religion and secularism play in fostering or inhibiting a plurality of perspectives and understanding across cultural, religious, and ethnic borders, as well as participation in social causes, campaigns and movements.
The Sex, Labour, Smut Film and Video Festival took place Oct. 16-19, 2010. Dedicated to the topic of sex, sexuality and sexwork, nine programs of experimental/non-fiction works were curated by Shannon Harris, Svetla Turnin, Thomas Waugh and Ezra Winton. Post-projection discussions were led by artists, activists and sexworkers. The festival focused on “two of today’s most politicized, yet under-screened topics: sexwork and pornography. Connecting and contextualizing bodies, genders, identities, desires and difference, this anti-sexist, anti-phobic festival confronts morality and obscenity with performance, pleasure, and politics.”