Archives for category: Film

The Colour of Beauty is a short documentary about racial discrimination in the fashion industry.

I produced this film as part of the Work For All series. I originally posted this on the WFA blog.

Director Elizabeth St. Philip follows a young and fiercely talented Black model, Renee Thompson, as she navigates the fashion world as a visible minority.

This film asks: Why isn’t the multi-cultural society that we live in reflected in our magazines, on billboards and on the runways of fashion shows?  And who are the parties involved in this industry’s lack of diversity?  Does the answer lie somewhere in the back rooms of fashion magazines or in the offices of casting directors of fashion shows? Is it something that is discussed at advertising agencies, or between designers and modelling agencies?  Whatever the answer, the fact is that models of colour work less, and their chances of success are very low.

And what do you think? Work For All in partnership with Schema Magazine is launching a quest for
your stories about how racism affects the world of fashion
.  And, we are launching a live event with our other partner The Museum of Vancouver. Find out more about this contest and event at Schema Magazine.

Racism in the Fashion Industry

While making this film, we found many examples of racism in the fashion industry.  Take the L’Oreal scandal in
France, where it was felt that the French woman would not be represented by a model without white skin.  Or the famous “Black issue” of Italian Vogue that made headline news in 2008 and sold out in 72 hours.  Some saw this as a turning point for Black models, but others considered it a poor apology for the lack of diversity at Milan’s fashion week and a token gesture to models of
colour.

We also wanted to show the responses to bold moves by the fashion industry to be more culturally inclusive. For example, the Sikh Model who caused a buzz among fashion professionals and the Sikh community. There are also many in the
industry who actively want to change the face of fashion, like Norwayne Anderson of NAM Agency in Toronto, and Dallas Logan, an acclaimed photographer who speaks candidly about why we do not see more Black women getting the
high-end campaigns.

How Does this Racism Affect Young Women?

Many questions that we asked ourselves that did not make it into this short film.  Like, how do young girls of colour feel when they do not see their skin colour and their physical features celebrated as beautiful?  And when we do see a non-white woman spokesperson for major product campaigns, why is she so often a singer, or actress – someone with another role in the media (e.g.Beyonce, Queen Latifah, Rihanna)?

We knew it was important to hear from the models themselves – the women working and struggling in this industry who are not getting a chance to speak for themselves.  We are very proud to have talented Canadian model Renee Thompson, someone with drive and a passion for her work, be the main character of this film.

So what do you think – is there racism in the fashion industry? And in an industry that many dismiss as a frivolous and
decadent, what discussion can we have around race and representation?  I hope you enjoy the film.


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Jaded is a short mockumentary that I produced at the NFB while wearing one of my hats as line producer. It is for Work for All, an online film project  where we are producing 5 short films about racism in the workplace. We will be releasing a new film every 2 weeks, and a film from the NFB collection every other week.  An all online premiere. Check Jaded out, written and directed by filmmaker Cal Garingan and we had a blast making this film in his home town, Vancouver with some killer cast and crew.

Here is also an interview with Cal that I did, about why he wanted to make a film that tackled the subject of racism:

Reckless Tortuga is a crew of hilariously funny filmmakers, producers and actors who make some of the best anti-racism material online right now. A breath of fresh air form the usual victim stories of racism, that are though very valid and poignant, often do not leave the viewer with a sense of what the problem is, and where it stems. Through simple story-lines, they get there point across, in a funny way that all non-white people can relate to. The language is sometimes harsh and to the point, and that’s what the videos do. They get to the heart of everyday racism in North America and the frustration that minorities feel when they encounter these seemingly innocent acts.

Racism in America – Episode One looks at the racist stereotypes in a job interview, where Marcus played by Eric Pumphrey is a Black man plays the interviewee going to a regular ol’ racist company, where the receptionist asks that all time favourite question of visible minorities, What are you?

Enjoy, a great watch during Black History Month, and during any of the longer months of the year.


Okay, so 2 This American Life blog posts in such a short period of time? I am going to look like I have a one track mind. But, I rewatched this poignant and well crafted animation that introduced a TAL television show episode in the first season. Signature animator for TAL, and frequent contributor to The New Yorker, in fact he did one of the NYer anniversary issue covers. (but my one of all time favourite covers (and comic), the gorgeously eerie Halloween 2009 issue of the ghoulish parents trick-o-treating with their iPhones.)  I love this little video, again, like the New Yorker cover, a spooky tinge to the simple, childlike design of the characters.  Check it out.

Three Mothers, the short film by Daniel Schachter that I produced with Peripheria Productions, won the A & E Short filmmaker’s category The National Screen Institute of Canada online film festival last week! Very exciting to see the film continue to be gets views and travel after over a year that we have had it on the festival circuit.


TIFF announces their top ten Canadian film picks today. Including Montreal first time filmmaker, Zavier Dolan’s J’ai tué ma mère , as well as Jacob Tierney’s The Trotsky. Also, the NFB and Cordell Barker’s Runaway was given the head nod as one the best short films of the year as well. If you’re in Toronto you can check them out in January.

I found this beautiful short animated film, The Lost Tribes of New York City, on “Why that’s Delightful!”. A unique take of the everyday citizens that make up the diversity of New York City. A interesting combination of documentary and animation that makes this film a wonderful mid day experience. I originally posted this on the Work For All, the NFB new media project that I am working on.