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Upcoming film festival aims to show 'importance of the black footprint' in Vancouver

"I put this on because of the lack of representation for Black artists in film."
A scene from 'Children of God,' a short film being shown as part of the Vancouver Black Independent Film Festival.

Independent Black filmmakers will be celebrated this weekend at East Vancouver's The Cultch.

The theatre will host the second Vancouver Black Independent Film Festival (VBIFF), a place for black artists in film to show and share their work, says founder and artistic director, Lincoln Thorne.

"We are trying to change minds and turn heads on the importance of the black footprint in the city," he tells Vancouver Is Awesome in an email.

The two-day event will feature 65 films, ranging from a couple of minutes long to feature-length. 

"We are building on last year's inaugural VBIFF, this year showcasing filmmakers, musicians, and their multimedia projects along with local BIPOC artisan and market vendors," states the event's page. "(And) uplifting our talents in the community and abroad."

Thorne is excited to offer a range of films made locally and globally, covering a range of topics, from craft beer to LGBTQ issues to mental health to dancing; many of the films are being shown in Canada for the first time.

"I've decided to offer this event for free/pay as you go, so that people don't have any excuse to come and celebrate, network, and be amazed in rebuilding the Afro-Canadian community in the city," he writes. "There's a multitude of amazing films representing 22 countries from here in Vancouver to around the globe."

Films are broken into eight blocks, with four each day. Each block is about three hours with the first starting at noon. Along with the film screenings, there'll be a pop-up market run by a BIPOC collective on both days. There's also a virtual component, for those unable to attend this weekend.

He adds there's a need in Vancouver, a city known for its filmmaking, to give black voices a public platform locally.

"I put this on because of the lack of representation for Black artists in film," he notes. "How ironic we live in so-called Hollywood North."

He was inspired by the Black Lives Movement, which he saw take off in 2020, but says by 2021 there was nothing to show for it.

Thorne also started summertime Black Music Month Vancouver in 2021. He notes that while he's keeping costs down for attendees, the festivals' budgets are on a shoestring, and he's running a fundraising campaign parallel to VBIFF to help fund future events.

Vancouver Black Independent Film Festival

When: Nov. 26 and 27, 2022. Noon to late

Where: The Cultch - 1895 Venables St.

Cost: Free/Pay what you can

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