Teach Black Film History at Toronto Film School

Teach Black Film History at Toronto Film School

0 have signed. Let’s get to 100!
At 100 signatures, this petition is more likely to be featured in recommendations!
TFS Student started this petition to Toronto Film School

Given the current political climate, I think it is necessary for Toronto Film School to do their part in teaching black film history (even though it should already be integrated into the curriculum.) There was not a unit in my term one Film History class, and I have yet to hear about black film history nearing the end of term three (to be clear, I don't think black film history should be a unit; I think it should be talked about with the same importance as everything else). I know the school has been supportive on social media, but I think the curriculum can be more accommodating and informative. I watched a few striking Netflix documentaries ('They Gotta Have Us' being the most notable), and I discovered more about black film history than anything Toronto Film School has taught me. 


We did not learn about Hattie McDaniel, the first African American to win an Academy Award, in 1939. We did not learn about how between 1948 and 1969 almost no movies directed by African-Americans were released commercially in the United States. We did not learn about Oscar Micheaux, a novelist and prolific independent filmmaker along with black directors like Spencer Williams who made low-budget films with all-black casts for black audiences (some from white producers). We did not learn about segregated theatres. We did not learn about movies such as Zora Neale Hurston Fieldwork Footage, Black and Tan and St. Louis Blues, Hell-Bound Train, Imitation of Life, Show Boat, Stormy Weather, Dirty Gertie From Harlem U.S.A., Intruder in the Dust, and many more films that paved the way for films like Get Out that we all enjoy today.


I am also concerned with some of the course material taught in class (although, I have no idea if the individual professors chose to teach this or if it is in the curriculum.) We're taught to specify the race and ethnicity of characters in our scripts, even if the story is not about race or ethnicity. Why? Shouldn't we be taught to write a great character and decide who should play the part later? Especially because the writing industry is predominantly white and they will lean toward specifying white characters in their scripts. We should also be taught to avoid writing the 'token black character' or the 'black sidekick,' and instead to write great supporting characters who may or may not end up being cast as a black actor. 

Thank you for your time, for signing, and for caring.

0 have signed. Let’s get to 100!
At 100 signatures, this petition is more likely to be featured in recommendations!