Hot Docs has added the new monthly film series For Viola to its VOD platform Hot Docs at Home. Named in honour of Canadian civil rights icon Viola Desmond, the important documentary series will centre around Black, Indigenous and People of Colour (BIPOC)-led stories and filmmakers.

This fall, the series will feature Charles Officer’s 2017 Festival doc Unarmed Verses and the 2019 Festival film In My Blood It Runs, directed by Maya Newell. The series began this September with Karen Chapman’s short film Lessons Injustice, which was commissioned as part of Hot Docs’ short compilation In the Name of All Canadians commemorating Canada’s sesquicentennial. To minimize barriers that may prevent audiences from participating, all presentations included in For Viola will be free of charge.

For Viola is programmed by Hot Docs’ distribution manager Julian Carrington and volunteer coordinator Dawnalda Brennan, in consultation with Hot Docs’ Equity, Diversity and Inclusion (EDI) anti-racism working group. The series is one of many initiatives the group has undertaken to amplify marginalized voices and create a more diverse and inclusive culture within the organization. To learn more, please see Hot Docs’ anti-racism statement.

IN MY BLOOD IT RUNS – Official Selection, Hot Docs Festival 2019
D: Maya Newell | 84 mins | 2019 | Australia
Considered a promising leader by his elders but a failing student by his westernized school teachers, an Aboriginal boy in central Australia must straddle two worlds, coming of age in the midst of a larger cultural battle between colonizers and colonized.
Available October 29

UNARMED VERSES – Official Selection, Hot Docs Festival 2017
D: Charles Officer | 86 mins | 2017 | Canada
A remarkably astute and luminous 12-year-old girl’s poignant observations about life, the soul and the power of art give voice to a Toronto community facing imposed relocation, and speak to our universal need for self-expression and belonging.
Now streaming

D: Karen Chapman | 9 mins | 2017 | Canada
A father sets out on a car ride with his teenage son and reflects on the conversation he knows he will soon have to have: how to conduct himself as a young black man in Canadian society.
Streamed in September 2020

Click here to stream.

Viola Desmond (1914–1965) was a Black Nova Scotian entrepreneur and pioneer in the struggle against anti-Black racism in Canada. In 1946, Desmond was arrested and jailed when she refused to leave the whites-only seating area of a Nova Scotia cinema and was subsequently convicted and fined. In one of the first known legal challenges to racial segregation in Canada, she fought to overturn her conviction. Though her conviction was not reversed in her lifetime, she received a posthumous pardon from the Nova Scotia government in 2010.

For Viola is supported by the City of Toronto and the Donner Canadian Foundation.

About the Author

Bryen Dunn is a freelance journalist with a focus on travel, lifestyle, entertainment and hospitality. He has an extensive portfolio of celebrity interviews with musicians, actors and other public personalities. He enjoys discovering delicious eats, tasting spirited treats, and being mesmerized by musical beats.