TIFF Youth Film Series

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For groups of 10 or more students in grades 9–12. Screenings start at 10am. $12 per student.

The TIFF Youth Film Series provides a compelling selection of features and shorts that tell powerful stories and spark powerful conversations. The films in this series tackle a diverse range of subjects and are presented in a variety of genres and styles. Following the screening, there will be either a filmmaker or a community guest expert in attendance to provide audiences with the opportunity to discuss themes and issues related to the films.

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November 27, 10am
Unarmed Verses
For groups of 10 or more students in grades 9–12. $12 per student.

The TIFF Youth Film Series is proud to present the award-winning Canadian documentary Unarmed Verses, directed by Charles Officer. The film presents a candid portrait of the resilient youth living in North York’s Villaways Park, focusing on the lives of a young artist named Francine Valentine and her family. Along with the rest of their community, the family faces the impending gentrification of their neighbourhood and their subsequent displacement. With the help of Toronto’s grassroots organization Art Starts, the community’s youth use music and poetry to express themselves creatively and find value in their voice.

The screening will be followed by a panel discussion featuring Unarmed Verses producer Lea Marin and two guests from the film: Francine Valentine and Carleen Robinson. There will also be a special performance from Valentine. The guests will provide professional context regarding their lived experiences and the implications of gentrification across Toronto's urban environment. Students and teachers will be encouraged to think critically about the themes of equity, social responsibility, and the power art has to activate change in a community.

The TIFF Youth Film Series features an exclusive discussion with community guests, subject matter experts and/or filmmakers. Each event aims to empower audiences to start in powerful conversations and inspire change.

For more information on the next event, visit us at tiff.net.

Curriculum Connections: Language, Media Literacy, Music, Social Sciences, Visual Arts

Lea Marin

Lea Marin is an award-winning, Toronto-based producer with more than 18 years of experience in the industry. A graduate of the Canadian Film Centre’s Producers’ Lab, Marin joined the National Film Board of Canada as a producer in 2006. Her most recent film credits include Charles Officer’s Unarmed Verses (18), which won the Best Canadian Feature Documentary Award at Hot Docs. Her other credits include Chelsea McMullan’s My Prairie Home and Astra Taylor’s Examined Life. She recently completed production on Taylor’s new documentary What is Democracy? (18), which premiered at TIFF.

Carleen Robinson

Carleen Robinson is a passionate entrepreneur who has been involved in various aspects of the arts community for the past 10 years, following an early stint in the financial industry. She has spent the last five years at the not-for-profit arts organization Art Starts. Her role as Program Manager has allowed her to create, shape, and facilitate arts-based programming for children, youth, young adults, and seniors. The film Unarmed Verses (17) rose out of one of the communities Robinson was fortunate to call her second home.

Francine Valentine

Francine Valentine is a 15-year-old high school student, originally from Antigua. She has a passion for music, poetry, and art, which developed as a result of the community-based programming showed in Unarmed Verses (17). The film has given her the confidence to express herself through artistic endeavours. Her passion is to continue to learn and try new things while being able to grow and thrive. Her aspirations, as of present, are simple: to complete high school and to be both safe and happy.

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