On February 24, filmmaker Charles Officer returns to the Canadian Film Forum to present his acclaimed crime-drama Akilla’s Escape—a special Black History Month event.
Filmmaker and alumna Yazmeen Kanji (HBA ’20 Innis, Cinema Studies) will moderate the Q&A to follow.
Presented by Innis College and the Cinema Studies Institute
Charles Officer is the founder and creative director of Toronto-based production
company Canesugar Filmworks.
A former professional hockey player, Charles studied design at Ontario College of Art and worked as a creative director before studying theatre at the Neighbourhood Playhouse in New York. He is an alumni director resident at the Canadian Film Centre, where his debut feature Nurse.Fighter.Boy was produced. The film premiered at TIFF in 2008 and earned a record ten Genie nominations for a debut film.
His feature documentaries have garnered numerous awards and accolades. Mighty Jerome, received a 2012 Emmy Award for Best Historical Documentary. Unarmed Verses won Best Canadian Feature Awards at Hot Docs, Vancouver International Film Festival, and TIFF Top Ten Festival. That same year, The Skin We’re In, received a CSA Donald Britton Award nomination for Best Social Political Documentary. Invisible Essence; The Little Prince (2018) received two CSA nominations for Best Feature Documentary and Best Editing. His latest feature, Akilla’s Escape, won five CSA awards including Best Original Screenplay in 2021.
Charles’ work has also crossed multiple television series such as Coroner, 21 Thunder, and the forthcoming 1920’s drama The Porter.
Charles is an advocate for diverse creators and black representation in the arts. He is a founding member of Canada’s first Black Screen Office and serves as Board of Trustees for the AGO, Reel Canada and the Glenbow Museum.
Yazmeen Kanji is a TIFF Next Wave Filmmaker, Hot Docs Accelerator fellow, and founder of
the advocacy and consulting organization, Films With A Cause.
She is a Dean’s Scholar graduate from Innis College, University of Toronto (2020), where she earned a double major in peace, conflict, and justice and critical studies of equity and solidarity, and a minor in cinema studies.
Her first film, From Syria To Hope (2019), was awarded Best Documentary at the 2019 Toronto Short Film Festival. Yazmeen’s first funded film, With Love From Munera (2020), premiered at the 2020 Inside Out Film Festival, screened at TIFF Next Wave 2021 and the 2021 Toronto International Reel Asian Film Festival and won the 2021 Breakthroughs Film Festival Audience Choice Award. She is in development on her first feature film about a Sickle Cell Disease activist’s stem cell transplant journey, funded by the Hot Docs Cross Currents Fund.
Yazmeen is the social media manager on the highly anticipated CBC and BET series The Porter, and is spearheading the marketing campaign for the CBC Gem series ZARQA. She currently works at Charles Officer’s
production company and supports Oscar-nominee Sami Khan’s projects while working in
different capacities on Toronto-based productions.