Since 2020, Skills for Change’s Spotlight Series has acted as a change evangelist in initiating more open discussions around socio-economic barriers that have plagued our societies, especially the racialized and marginalized communities.

As we start 2022 with a hope to serve more people and communities in need, we are ecstatic to collaborate with Hot Docs for hosting this year’s first Spotlight Series in a unique format. Hot Docs is a not-for-profit organization dedicated to advancing and celebrating the art of documentary and creating production opportunities for documentary filmmakers.

For this Spotlight Series, we will host 5 different sessions, featuring 6 short Hot Docs Citizen Minutes documentaries on different social themes focusing on racialized and marginalized communities followed by an interesting panel discussion with the filmmakers, the real-life heroes inspiring these documentaries and community organizations.

Our second session will be centered around the short film ‘Body Politics’ with Dr. Jill Andrew, MPP for Toronto-St. Paul’s that focuses on her fight for body justice, to the legislature as the first queer Black person elected to provincial parliament. Jill & filmmaker/narrator Aisha Fairclough will be in attendance for a discussion on the film with our CEO Surranna Sandy.

For our third session, we’ll be discussing two shorts: the first will be “Militant Mother”, about how in 1971, a group of mothers made their voices heard by blockading CN rail. We’ll be joined by filmmaker Carmen Pollard for a discussion. Our second short will be “Jean Swanson: We Need a New Map”, A profile of veteran activist and first-term Vancouver city councillor Jean Swanson. We’ll be joined by filmmaker Carmen Pollard. Both discussions will be moderated by Nidhi Khanna, Director, Programs Operations at Skills for Change.

For our fourth session, we’ll be discussing the short ‘Ride Fair’, about three community organizers with a history of standing up against big tech corporations who embark on an uphill fight to regulate Uber and Lyft. We’ll be joined by filmmaker Javier Lovera alongside organizer JJ Thompson and Earla Philips, one of the drivers featured in the film. The discussion will be moderated by Sampada Kukade, Director of Employer Engagement and Program Marketing at Skills for Change.

For our final session, we’ll be discussing the short “Nourrir Les Rêves / Feeding Dreams” about how In 2007, Lasallien Center opened their doors in St-Michel—one of the most disadvantaged boroughs on the island of Montreal. We’ll be joined by filmmakers Kimberly Ann Surin & AÏcha Morin-Baldé for a discussion lead by Corina Carvallo, Associate Director of Programs & Services at Skills for Change.