Tue | Nov 30, 2021

Film-maker’s queer choice results in ‘Our Dance of Revolution’

Published:Wednesday | October 27, 2021 | 2:19 AMSade Gardner/Staff Reporter
Film-maker Phillip Pike’s ‘Our Dance of Revolution’ has been shown at over 40 film festivals worldwide, including the Trinidad & Tobago Film Festival.
Film-maker Phillip Pike’s ‘Our Dance of Revolution’ has been shown at over 40 film festivals worldwide, including the Trinidad & Tobago Film Festival.

Stories of the black Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender and Queer (LGBTQ) Diasporic community are told in Our Dance of Revolution, a documentary tracking the history of black queer folk in Toronto, Canada.

The Institute of Caribbean Studies (ICS) and The Caribbean Studies Association have partnered with film-maker Phillip Pike to do a free screening of the film on Thursday at 3 p.m. via Zoom. The meeting details can be found on the social media pages of ICS.

“Many of the subjects of the documentary who were involved in movement-building and community-building in Toronto’s black queer community, especially in the early years, were folks who, like me, immigrated to Canada from the Caribbean and specifically from Jamaica as children or teenagers in the ‘60s and ‘70s…” Pike told The Gleaner. “The film is also relevant to Jamaica in that it deals with universal themes that transcend geographical boundaries. Anyone in Jamaica who has been involved in any kind of struggle for liberation or who has been involved in community-building will recognise themselves in the stories told in the film.”

The 2019 documentary marks Pike’s third, with the first, Songs of Freedom, premiering in 2003 with a focus on the Jamaican queer community. Our Dance of Revolution has been shown at over 40 film festivals worldwide, including the Trinidad & Tobago Film Festival. It has also copped several awards, including the jury award for best Canadian feature documentary at the 2020 Edmonton International Film Festival.

Pike’s reason for making the film is multilayered.

“I chose to make a film about the history of Toronto’s black queer community because I believe it’s a compelling and powerful story. It’s the story of what happens when courageous people recognise an unfulfilled need and take collective action to respond to that need even if it means resisting powerful countervailing force. I made this film because we need to be guardians of our history and our stories. Our community and our history are under constant threat of erasure. This film is an effort to contribute to the telling and preservation of our history.

“Finally, I made this film because the story of my own journey of self-discovery and self-affirmation is intertwined with the community’s story. When I connected with Toronto’s black queer community in my early 30s it was a life-altering experience. I was ushered into a world of folks who looked like me and talked like me and were queer like me,” Pike said.

Co-Chair of the CSA’s Film and Visual Arts Committee and event organiser Dr Lisa Tomlinson told The Gleaner that the film’s Diasporic inclusion adds to the development of Caribbean cinema culture. She hopes the event will attract a wide audience.

“The nature of any documentary is to educate and inform viewers so through the storytelling of the different participants, I anticipate that this documentary film will educate viewers of the visible stories erased from Caribbean history,” she said.

sade.gardner@gleanerjm.com