Charles Officer’s Unarmed Verses selected as one of Canada’s Top Ten Films for 2017

Charles Officer

Four National Film Board of Canada films have been selected to the 17th annual Canada’s Top Ten Film Festival, a yearly compilation of the nation’s finest short and feature-length films, as announced by TIFF on December 6, 2017. Two NFB documentaries have made the list of the country’s very best for 2017: Our People Will Be Healedby Alanis Obomsawin and Unarmed Verses by Charles Officer. Chosen for TIFF’s short-film list is Oscar winner Torill Kove’s Threads (Mikrofilm AS/NFB) and Matthew Rankin’s THE TESLA WORLD LIGHT.

These acclaimed films will be featured as part of the 17th annual Canada’s Top Ten Film Festival, taking place in Toronto from January 12 to 21, 2018, at TIFF Bell Lightbox.

Master filmmaker Alanis Obomsawin will be featured in TIFF’s In Conversation With… series on Wednesday, January 17, at 6:45 p.m., followed by a screening of Our People Will Be Healedat 8:45 p.m. There’s also a second screening of Obomsawin’s new film, on Thursday, January 18, at 12:30 p.m.

Charles Officer’s Unarmed Verses is being shown on Monday evening, January 15, at 6 p.m., followed by a screening at 3:30 p.m. on Thursday, January 18. Writer/director Charles Officer, producer Lea Marin, director of photography Mike McLaughlin and editor Andres Landau will be present for an industry panel discussion on Friday, January 12, at 2:15 p.m., about what it was like to collaborate with the Villaways community on Unarmed Verses.

NFB shorts are being showcased in each of the festival’s short-film programs on Sunday, January 14, with Threads presented at 6 p.m. and THE TESLA WORLD LIGHT at 8:30 p.m.

The Toronto screenings will be followed by a tour of Canadian cities that will travel to Vancouver, Montreal, Regina, Edmonton, Winnipeg, Ottawa, and Saskatoon.

These films illustrate how the NFB’s commitment to producing works by women and by Indigenous and culturally diverse directors is bringing powerful, groundbreaking stories to the screen.

Tickets and ticket packages for Canada’s Top Ten Film Festival go on sale today for TIFF Members and December 13 for the public. To purchase tickets and get more information, go to

Unarmed Verses

Charles Officer is a Jamaican-Canadian writer, actor, director, and former professional hockey player. The youngest of four children born in Toronto, Ontario to a Black British father and a Jamaican Canadian mother, Officer studied communication design at the Ontario College of Art and Design (OCAD), but left to play professional ice hockey in the U.K. He abandoned professional hockey due to injury problems and returned to OCAD, before attending the Neighborhood Playhouse in New York City.

Charles Officer’s feature documentary Unarmed Verses presents a thoughtful and vivid portrait of a community facing change, as marginalized Toronto Community Housing residents in the city’s north-east end prepare for relocation due to the impending demolition of the place they call home. At the centre of the film is the remarkable, astute and luminous Francine Valentine, whose poignant observations about life, the soul, and the power of art give voice to those rarely heard in society.

Unarmed Verses was previously named Best Canadian Feature Documentary at Hot Docs and Best Canadian Documentary at the Vancouver International Film Festival. Itis produced by Lea Marin and executive produced by Anita Lee for the NFB’s Ontario Studio.

Our People Will Be Healed

The 50th film from Alanis Obomsawin in the 50th year of a legendary filmmaker career, the feature-length Our People Will Be Healedtakes audiences inside the Helen Betty Osborne Ininiw Education Resource Centre, an innovative N-12 school in the Cree community of Norway House, 800 kilometers north of Winnipeg, whose educators and programs are helping First Nations children to grow up strong and proud.

The school’s name honours a young woman from Norway House whose notorious 1971 murder was left ignored and unsolved for 16 long years, with the film providing a sobering look at the painful history endured by Cree people in northern Manitoba. But in her 50th film, Obomsawin also offers a tremendously hopeful vision for First Nations peoples, showing us how improved education can save lives and change the future for Indigenous youth.


Matthew Rankin’s visually stunning THE TESLA WORLD LIGHT offers up a tragic fantasy about Nikola Tesla—the father of alternating current—inspired by real-life events. Winner of Annecy’s “Off-Limits” Award for his 2014 short Mynarski Death Plummet, Rankin has created a spectacular burst of image and sound in his latest work, which draws as much from the tradition of avant-garde cinema as it does from the animated documentary.

The eight-minute short had its world premiere at the 56th International Critics’ Week during the Cannes Film Festival. Recipient of an Honourable Mention at the Toronto International Film Festival as well as five other awards from festivals in Canada and the U.S., THE TESLA WORLD LIGHTis produced and executive produced by Julie Roy for the NFB’s French Animation Studio.


Torill Kove’s latest Mikrofilm AS/NFB co-production Threads explores the beauty and complexity of parental love and the bonds that we form. A film without words, Threads speaks volumes about the attachments we crave and sometimes grieve as we evolve in ways that can leave us feeling lonely or left behind—in a work that features Kove’s signature style of minimalistic characters and simple line drawings.

Threads is the fourth NFB-co-produced animated short for Kove, winner of the Academy Award for The Danish Poet(2006) and an Oscar nominee for My Grandmother Ironed the King’s Shirts (1999) and Me and My Moulton (2014). The eight-minute short is produced by Lise Fearnley and Tonje Skar Reiersen for Mikrofilm AS and Michael Fukushima for the NFB’s English Animation Studio.

Source: NFB

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