THE FILMMAKERS

Racism, sports and the East Coast: Director X's film exposes something 'dangerous and problematic'

On the season finale of The Filmmakers, we delve into the issues in Director X's first feature film "Across The Line."

On the season finale of The Filmmakers, we delve into the issues in Director X's 'Across The Line'

On the season finale of The Filmmakers, we delve into the issues in Director X's first feature film "Across The Line." 9:34

This past weekend, CBC Arts's new film talk show The Filmmakers closed up its first season with famed music video helmer Director X's first foray into movies, Across The Line. Set in Nova Scotia, the film follows a talented hockey player whose road to the NHL is jeopardized by the pervasive racism in his community.

"I'd always wanted to tell this story because I just felt there are certain things about Nova Scotia that I don't think the rest of the country understands," say Floyd Kane, the film's screenwriter, in the above clip from The Filmmakers. "And so for me, I really wanted to highlight the fact that, first of all, racism is learned. It's not something that you come out of the womb, you know, 'I'm a racist.'"

Kane was joined by Prism Prize founder Louis Calabro and filmmaker Cazhhmere on the episode's panel, which — among other things — discusses the relevance of Across The Line's themes.

From left: Filmmaker Cazhhmere, host Johanna Schneller, screenwriter Floyd Kane and Prism Prize founder Louis Calabro. (CBC Arts)

​"We come from a long tradition of making movies about hockey, but this film isn't about hockey," Calabro says. "It uses hockey as a perfect backdrop — a vehicle — to show something much more dangerous and problematic that exists."

Cazhhmere herself comes from the film's setting of Nova Scotia, and knows all too well what Calabro means. 

"I come from a long family of athletes who have achieved medals, gold medals for this country," she says. "But yet they get less attention than less decorated athletes that are white...I have an uncle, David Downey Sr. He's Canada's longest middleweight champion, to this day. But yet, when you walk into the Nova Scotia Sports Hall of Fame, you don't see him there. Even though [this film is about] hockey, it summed up everything about sports in Nova Scotia and how racism is a part of it down there."

Watch full episodes of the first season of The Filmmakers and the movies it celebrates on watch.cbc.ca.

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