School screenings at TIFF Bell Lightbox are more than just a day at the movies. The TIFF Youth Film Series provides a compelling selection of films that tell inspiring stories and spark powerful conversations. The films in this series tackle a diverse range of subjects, including the media, social justice, human impact on the environment, and representation.
Following the screening, students will engage with a selection of film and subject-matter experts to discuss themes and issues related to the film.
Each TIFF School Programmes selection comes with a unique Teacher Resource designed to support your experience and extend it to the classroom by connecting films to the Ontario Curriculum.
Please note that one complimentary supervisor ticket will be provided for every 15 paid student tickets.
Curriculum Connections: Arts, Communications Technology, English/Media Literacy or French, Geography, History, Social Sciences
Jacob Whiteduck-Lavoie is a Canadian actor from Quebec. He is most noted for his performance in the film Une colonie (18), which earned him a nomination for Best Supporting Actor at the 2019 Canadian Screen Awards and a nomination for Revelation of the Year at the 2019 Gala Québec Cinéma. He is a member of the Kitigan Zibi Anishinabeg First Nation. He has also appeared in the television series District 31 (16– ), the short films Screw the Boys (19) and The Music Video, and the miniseries Eaux turbulentes.
“Everyone thinks it is just a sport, but when I play basketball, I think about nothing. It takes me out of real life.” —Bilqis Abdul-Qaadir
Life Without Basketball profiles Bilqis Abdul-Qaadir, a young Muslim woman who broke records and barriers to become the first NCAA Division I basketball player to wear a hijab. When a controversial ban on religious headgear threatened her chances to play professionally, she was forced to re-examine her faith and identity as a Muslim American and her role as a basketball player.
Life Without Basketball explores Bilqis’ journey from sports prodigy to global activist and educator. Through self-sacrifice and unrelenting determination both on and off the court, she challenged policies and broke barriers for women and girls around the world.
Following the film, there will be an engaging discussion with the documentary’s subject, Bilqis Abdul-Qaadir, and one of the film’s directors, Jon Mercer.
Bilqis Abdul-Qaadir has been playing basketball since she was four years old. Her goal to play professionally ended due to a ruling from the International Basketball Federation that prohibited headgear wider than five inches — meaning she could not wear her hijab on the court. She chose her faith over basketball and started working with other advocates to overturn the ban, which was lifted in 2017. Abdul-Qaadir has a degree in exercise science from the University of Memphis. She currently works at the London Islamic School in London, Ontario, where she and her husband run a basketball program and host youth camps.
Jon Mercer is a director and editor. His films have screened internationally at festivals and can also be seen on PBS. The documentary short Calling My Children (09), which Mercer edited, won several awards, including a CINE Golden Eagle Award. Life Without Basketball (18) is his feature-length directorial debut.
Adapted for the screen from Lorraine Hansberry's stage play, A Raisin in the Sun tells the story of the Youngers, a family that receives an unexpected windfall when matriarch Lena is granted a $10,000 insurance settlement from the death of her husband. This leads to disputes between the members of the family on how best to spend the money and whose dream they should pursue.
A Raisin in the Sun was praised for its progressive politics and sensitive, realistic depiction of 1950s African-American life. For its engagement with issues of race, gender, prejudice, and marginalization, this classic film remains just as relevant today.