Special Event
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  • Special Guest

Regent Park Film Festival + BIPOC TV & Film present A Tribute to Charles Officer

Scotiabank Theatre Toronto


April 17, 2024

6:30 PM EDT



Regent Park Film Festival and BIPOC Film & TV present this special tribute to the life and career of Charles Officer by screening his brilliant feature Akilla’s Escape. The screening will be followed by a discussion reflecting on his legacy and enduring impact on the film industry. The panel, moderated by Sarah-Tai Black, will feature Officer’s producing partner Jake Yanowski, the film’s writer, Motion and stars of the film Thamela Mpumlwana and Donisha Rita Claire Prendergast.


For more on his legacy please click here.

Film Playing

Akilla’s Escape

Director Charles Officer
Run Time 90min
Genre Drama, Thriller
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Akilla (Williams), a 40-year-old drug dealer, goes on an epic one-night journey to find the gang that ambushed him during a drug deal and stole a major shipment. His only lead is one of the robbers, a teenage gang member he captured named Sheppard (Mpumlwana) who reminds him of his younger self (also played by Mpumlwana). Through glimpses of his childhood, we see the seemingly inescapable vortex of intergenerational violence that Akilla finds himself in. As the story reaches its thrilling climax, it begs the question: what will it take for the cycle to break?

Akilla’s Escape premiered at TIFF in 2020 and went on to win 5 Canadian Screen Awards.

Akilla’s Escape is a profound, tender reworking of the crime thriller” – Melissa Vincent, The Globe and Mail

Cast Saul Williams, Thamela Mpumlwana, Donisha Rita Claire Prendergast, Colm Feore

Ratings by Province or Territory

British Columbia
New Brunswick
Newfoundland and Labrador
Nova Scotia
Northwest Territories
Prince Edward Island


Jake Yanowski

Show Bio

Jake Yanowski is a Canadian-American producer based in Toronto, where he is a partner at Canesugar Mediaworks, a boutique production house that he operated with acclaimed filmmaker Charles Officer for nearly a decade. Jake’s producing credits include the award-winning feature documentary Al Purdy Was Here, Ron Mann’s Altman, and Charles Officer’s acclaimed documentaries The Skin We’re In and Invisible Essence: The Little Prince. He also produced Akilla’s Escape, which won five Canadian Screen Awards.

Thamela Mpumlwana

Show Bio

Thamela Mpumlwana is a Canadian actor. He is most noted for his performance as Sheppard in the 2020 film Akilla's Escape, for which he received a Canadian Screen Award nomination for Best Supporting Actor at the Canadian Screen Awards in 2021. His other credits include Star Trek: Discovery and Creeped Out.

Wendy "Motion" Brathwaite

Show Bio

Wendy “Motion” Brathwaite is a Canadian musician, writer and activist from Toronto, Ontario. She co-wrote the 2020 film Akilla's Escape with Charles Officer , for which they won the Canadian Screen Award for Best Original Screenplay. She has worked as a writer and story editor on the television series Coroner, and was nominated for Best Writing in a Drama Series at the Canadian Screen Awards in 2022. In 2023, she was nominated for Best Writing in a Web Program or Series at the Canadian Screen Awards for her work on the comedy web series Revenge of the Black Best Friend.

Donisha Rita Claire Prendergast

Show Bio

Donisha Prendergast is a filmmaker, actress and advocate, sharing stories to propel societal advancement. Collaborating with luminaries like Beyoncé and Sean Paul, her productions amplify marginalized voices and champion cultural preservation. As founder of Humanity Ova Vanity, she pioneers initiatives fostering artistic integrity and community engagement. 

Sarah-Tai Black

Show Bio

Sarah-Tai Black is the Manager of Programming at Regent Park Film Festival. As an arts curator and critic, their work centers on visual media and art-making with an emphasis on Black, queer, trans, and disabled futures. They are a regular contributing film critic for The Los Angeles Times and The Globe and Mail

Event Primary Language


Event Details

This event is part of a larger tribute to Charles Officer, with other events including screenings hosted by FIN Atlantic International Film Festival in Halifax and The Bookshelf Theatre in Guelph.


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Venue deemed accessible by event host. To discuss specific accessibility needs or questions, please contact [email protected]


Scotiabank Theatre Toronto, 259 Richmond St W, Toronto, ON, M5V 3M6
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