Halifax Black Film Festival to showcase works from Canada and around the world this weekend

Alexandra MacLean is an actress and stunt performer, one of the few female stunters in Nova Scotia.  (IMBD - photo credit)

Alexandra MacLean is an actress and stunt performer, one of the few female stunters in Nova Scotia. (IMBD – photo credit)

In celebration of Black History Month, filmmakers from across Canada gather this weekend for the seventh Halifax Black Film Festival, which begins Friday February 24th and runs through Sunday February 26th.

This year’s program includes a whopping 70 films by filmmakers from around the world.

It includes panels on topics such as funding projects, representation of black and queer people in the media, and networking.

Alexandra MacLean is an African actress from Nova Scotia and one of the few female stunt performers in Nova Scotia. She played Fallon in the CBC television series Diggstown and was recently a stunt performer for actress Iola Evans in the upcoming Hulu miniseries. Washington Black.

MacLean will speak at a panel entitled “The Art of Networking in a post-COVID world” at Halifax Central Library on Saturday morning.

She started working in the film industry 12 years ago and her involvement in various sports helped her break into stunt performance.



“I’ve done some cool things. I was on the edge of a cliff. I haven’t had to bounce yet so I’m hoping that goes well as I start making some big falls. But it was really fun,” MacLean said Information morning Nova Scotia.

To prepare for stunts, MacLean does martial arts, gymnastics, and trains in both stunt driving and motorcycling.

MacLean is also a proponent of networking in the film industry.

“You don’t really realize it when you grow up and hear people say, ‘You need to network, you need to network,’ and you just brush it off,” she said.

“Basically, like I’m networking, I go to different sets. I started out as a backing performer, some people think that’s grunt work, but it got me to where I am today.”

my hair type

my hair type

Her advice for people interested in getting into the film industry is to talk to others in the industry.

“Make sure you go to different sets and also just watch plays, go to the audience and network afterwards. It really helps you. You never know who you’re going to meet and it can turn into a really cool opportunity for you. ” She said.

Unfortunately, MacLean told CBC, roles for white actors still dominate the industry, reducing BIPOC actors’ chances of landing roles.

“But there are people out there who try to support you, even if you’re not the typical guy like some of the programs I’ve been on,” MacLean said.

MacLean found support through Canada’s BIPOC TV & Film program, a non-profit advocacy group.

“They’re specifically looking for people like me, people of color, to get their foot in the door into the industry and become a writer,” she said.

Black women behind the camera

The festival shows young black women not only in front of the camera, but also behind it.

Juliet Mawusi is another young woman with a burgeoning career in the film industry. She is the author and director of the short film my hair type She explores the struggles Black women face to preserve their natural hair and find the right products to help.

Mawusi moved to Nova Scotia from Ghana in 2017 and found it was impossible to find someone to do her hair. In conversation with Main Street Nova Scotia, She said that back then cosmetology schools didn’t give students the opportunity to learn about black textured hair.

“It was only recently that they introduced it to their classes,” she told CBC.



From the people she interviewed for the documentary, she realized that black women are traumatized when faced with this dilemma.

“Most of the women I met back then were forced to learn how to manage their own hair, and that was my case, I was forced to do it,” Muwasi said.

She worries black women might internalize the idea that their hair is somehow unacceptable.

“I worry so much every day because I hear so many stories in this industry, like the media industry and the film industry,” she said.

If my hair type Premiered in Toronto, an actress told Mawusi that a director told her to straighten her natural hair to fit a role.

“What are you trying to tell her? You’re trying to tell her to look like someone she’s not.”

Muwasi said she believes the film industry needs to recognize individuals.

“I have to be authentic to myself, to my real self. I have to be myself [I] I have to show you what I’m made of. You don’t have to turn me into someone else,” she said.

my hair type will be shown at the Cineplex Park Lane on Saturday night.



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