Jennifer Hodge da Silva

Jennifer Hodge da Silva, directed a number of films during the 1980’s that

established the dominant mode in African Canadian film culture. [. . . ] Working exclusively in documentary and often on sponsored films, she staked out a set of concerns and a mode of production that might be termed Black liberalism (Bailey, Cameron).

Jennifer’s particular gift was to present people from many different cultural backgrounds, native, Chinese, Black as real portraits not stereotypes. Her work has been lauded by critic, Cameron Bailey.

Another landmark film in Black film history was her Home Feeling: Struggle for a Community in 1983. where she explored the relationship of the Toronto police force and the Black community in a public housing neighbourhood. Rella Braithwaite in Some Black Women” described it as subtle with fire in every frame.

Jennifer’s particular gift was to present people from many different cultural backgrounds — First Nations, Chinese, Black — as real portraits not stereotypes. Her work has been lauded by critic, Cameron Bailey.

She interviewed her aunt, librarian and community activist, Lucille Vaughan Cuevas as part of her documentary, Myself, Yourself.

She died of cancer in 1989. She was posthumously presented with an award for her contributions on the same evening that her grandmother, Anne Packwood, was presented with the Wazee award, by Brian Mulroney, then Prime Minister of Canada at the Canadian Museum of Civilization in 1992 at the opening of the exhibition Many Rivers to Cross. (Wazee, a Swahili term for respect refers to society’s elders.)

Anna Packwood and four others received this reward for their lifetimes of service to the community. (Lee Williams who also received an award, was a sleeping car porter then supervisor and activist who worked to eliminate job discrimination.)

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