The Canadian Film Forum presents a special screening of the award-winning drama, Brother, in celebration of Black History Month.
Written and directed by Clement Virgo and produced by Cinema Studies alum Sonya Di Rienzo, Brother tells the story of two sons maturing into young men amidst Toronto’s pulsing 90s hip-hop scene.
A Q&A will follow the screening with members of the cast and crew, moderated by TIFF’s director of programming, Robyn Citizen.
Clement Virgo is one of Canada’s foremost film directors. His TV directing credits include Billions (Showtime), The Get Down (Netflix), Empire (Fox), The Wire (HBO), The L Word (HBO), American Crime (ABC), and the OWN network drama series Greenleaf (2017), on which he also served as Executive Producer alongside Oprah Winfrey.
In 2015 he directed and co-wrote a six-part miniseries adaptation of Lawrence Hill’s The Book of Negroes which debuted to record-breaking numbers on the CBC in Canada and on BET in the U.S. and won 12 Canadian Screen Awards and was nominated for two U.S. Critics Choice Television Awards for Best Limited Series and Best Actress in a Limited Series (Aunjanue Ellis).
Virgo’s 2007 feature, the boxing drama Poor Boy’s Game (starring Danny Glover and Rossif Sutherland), world-premiered at the Berlin Film Festival, Panorama Special Section, and was presented as a Special Selection at the 2007 Toronto International Film Festival, selling in over 40 countries.
Poor Boy’s Game also earned Virgo a nomination in 2007 for the DGC Outstanding Achievement Craft Award for Direction of a Motion Picture. “…Poor Boy’s Game may represent [Virgo’s] best work so far, blending seamlessly his preoccupation with race, fluid identities, and complex sexuality.” (Leslie Felperin, Variety).
Virgo’s Lie With Me caused a stir at the 2005 Toronto International Film Festival for its artistically daring portrayal of explicit sexual themes. Starring Lauren Lee Smith (The L Word) and Eric Balfour (Six Feet Under), Lie With Me had its European premiere at the 2006 Berlin Film Festival, Panorama Section. It has been distributed internationally in over 30 territories, and sold to Showtime in the US.
His debut film, RUDE, was named Best Canadian Feature Film at the 1995 Toronto International Film Festival, premiered at Cannes as an Official Selection in the Certain Regard Programme, and went on to screen at numerous festivals around the world including London and Sundance. The film was presented as part of the 2019 Blacklight Retrospective at Locarno, showcasing international Black cinema of the 20th century.
From 2010 to 2015, Virgo presented a series of intimate annual talks to celebrate Black History Month in Toronto with such notable guests as Lee Daniels, Norman Jewison, Spike Lee, Pam Grier, John Singleton, and Chris Tucker.