Short film showcases local black history at TIFF
'There is this incredible history in the Detroit River lands that has been little explored and celebrated'
A locally shot film that tells the stories of the Underground Railroad between Windsor and Detroit is being featured at the Toronto International Film Festival.
Fluid Frontiers is based off poems that were published in Detroit's Broadside Press, which was open during the 1960s. The press was run out of Dudley Randall's home and its mission was to publish African-American poetry of the time.
Oona Mosna, who was born and raised in Windsor, produced the film. She hopes this movie will inform people around the world about the rich history in our own backyard.
"There is this incredible history in the Detroit River border lands that has been little explored and celebrated," she said. "The poetry that was written in Broadside Press has got this incredible legacy that needs to be more accessible to both Windsor viewers and to the international community."
CBC Windsor reached Mosna over the phone as she was going into screenings at the Toronto International Film Festival, where the film played over the weekend.
Filmmaker Ephraim Asili chose three activists from Windsor to read in the film. Standing in different locations across the city, cast members recited poems from different African American artists.
Windsor resident Teajai Travis read from Think Black by Don L. Lee, a piece about the black experience during the civil rights movement. Travis said the readings illustrate depression as well as the lack of acceptance in society.
"It is extremely important that we tell these stories because many of the descendants of the underground railroad are living right here," he said. "What a powerful and important cause to be a part of."
Local residents Irene Moore Davis and Leslie McCurdy were also involved in the 23-minute film. Shots of Sandwich Baptist Church and the Windsor riverfront are featured prominently in the movie.
The film will also be shown at the New York International Film Festival.
There are plans to bring the film back to Windsor for another showing.