By: Janice Dayle
Examining poverty, gun, crime and community, in the multicultural Canadian context, the award winning film, "A Winter Tale," is rooted in reality.
As the Frances-Anne Solomon written and directed film sets out to delve beneath the surface of a rough Toronto inner city 'skin', it succeeds in highlighting the inner lives of Black men; often portrayed in media as, "monsters."
In Montreal for a special screening tonight as part of the weekend festival, Kasserian Ingera, "A Winter Tale" tells the story of a community responding to a bullet that virtually shattering the spirit of their region.
Following the sounds of deadly shots meant for a drug dealer, a
ten-year-old lays dead on a downtown Parkdale, Toronto street.
Broken and filled with grief and suspicion the community's hellish pangs are addressed as social worker, Gene Wright, galvanizes six Black men to make a pact; forming a support group in the hopes of getting things 'right.'
Peter Williams, the Vancouver based star of stage and screen, who hails from Jamaica, brings Gene Wright to life in the movie; and says, "The film has a universal appeal...the beauty is people in it are treated as individuals and not stereotyped." He told YardFlex that while not expected to influence immediate changes in Canada's ivy coloured walls of establishment, "It [the film] is giving voice to people who are actually living the experiences in these multicultural places we have formed in Canada."
Driven to explore the inner lives of Black men after media reporting of a huge rise on 'black on Black' violence in Toronto, Frances Anne Solomon employed the amazing technique of improvisational workshops in creating the film. "All the actors lived together in close quarters on three occasions...we were presented with different scenarios to act out in improv style...the brains behind the whole thing - Francis Anne Solomon would videotape; and go away and write the scene," Williams told YardFlex.
This under-used, but ingenious technique brought out some real life experiences, "It helped the film get a sense of realism," Williams expounded.
With a star-studded cast that includes Michael Miller and Leonie Forbes, the film has been described as "Pure Fireworks," and will be continuing its global tour - soon to touch down in Jamaica.
As part of Quebec Canada's, "Action Week Against Racism," the festival, Kasserian Ingera [which means – and how are the children]; runs at Edifice de la Grande bibliotheque, 475 de Maisonneuve Est on March 28, 29 and 30. Admission is free.
"A Winter Tale" begins at 7:00pm tonight.