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Black History Month: emerging Calgary filmmakers celebrate Black culture, diversity in cinema


Two Calgary content creators have created short films for an initiative that promotes Black film-makers and stories about Black culture. 

Grants worth $20,000 were awarded to the film-makers as part of the first ever Black Creators Edition in a collaboration with Telus Storyhive and the Black Screen Office.

February also marks Black History Month.

"The stories I like to tell are stories that are influenced by the people around me and my community and how I exist," said Misha Maseka, Calgary-based creator of the short film Sweeter Blue.

She says her perspective allows for nuanced storytelling about how simple yet complicated the end of romantic relationships can be, and centres two Black protagonists in her film.

"By way of moving and existing in this body," Maseka says, "I already have a world view that is different from my white male counterparts."

She adds her film promotes awareness, appreciation and celebration of diverse communities.


Most of Maseka's film crew were women and women of colour.

Anthony Onwardi is the cinematographer for Sweeter Blue and is pursuing his passion for camera operating in Calgary.

"The opportunity is what we always ask for. The opportunity to let us tell our stories and the opportunities to give us the chance to be as creative as possible," he says.

Anthony Onwardi is a cinematographer who shot Sweeter Blue

Onwardi said stories by Black creatives should be highlighted outside the month of February.

"I want people to understand that every day it's amazing to be Black. Every day it's an opportunity to get better at what you do. Every day it's an opportunity to show love to each and every person.

"To me," he adds, "Black History Month is every day."


Rochell-Ann Thomas is the filmmaker behind Scammed, a narrative inspired by her personal experience.

Thomas says that 28 days in a short month can feel crammed with celebrations of Black excellence and addressing slavery, and says that recognizing the richness of Black culture needs to become more regular and ongoing.

Rochell-Ann Thomas

Especially to share stories from the diverse perspectives that exists within Black culture, said Thomas. 

"As a Jamaican, my stories are different than an African persons. Than an Asian persons. These funders give us the tools and resources to bring our stories to light."

Thomas said she was able to incorporate Jamaican expressions in an authentic way, because of her personal perspective as the filmmaker.

"Watching Scammed you can see the Jamaican part of it. Straight through each scene, you can see a reflection of my culture, some of the expressions that I would say, and that's the beauty about it."

The films are available to stream on the Storyhive YouTube channel.

Maseka plans to enter Sweeter Blue into national and international film festivals.

Onwardi continues to seek film projects in Calgary as a camera operator.

Thomas continues to manage her production company CSD Media with plans to create another film. Top Stories

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