In Memoriam: Charles officer

National Canadian Film Day 2024 is dedicated to Charles Officer

REEL CANADA is devastated to learn of the passing of our beloved friend, colleague, and board member Charles Officer. Charles forever changed the Canadian film and television landscape with his fierce dedication to portraying Black perspectives and experiences.

There are special events on National Canadian Film Day paying tribute to Charles:

In Toronto: Regent Park Film Festival + BIPOC TV & Film Present a Tribute to Charles Officer – Followed by a discussion with special guests reflecting on his legacy and enduring impact on the film industry.

In Toronto: Centre For Social Innovation Presents Unarmed Verses – Followed by a discussion with Art Starts, the community arts program featured in the film.

In Guelph: The Bookshelf Presents Nurse.Fighter.Boy. – Hosted in conjunction with Arts Everywhere and Guelph Black History Society.

In Halifax: FIN Atlantic International Film Festival Presents Unarmed Verses – preceded by an introduction by Lisa Haller, Director of Programming for the Atlantic International Film Festival.

Charles Officer was our beloved friend, colleague, and board member. Charles was passionate, devoted, and generous. Any project he was involved in was better for his contributions; he built community wherever he went. Charles was a huge supporter of REEL CANADA’s mission, and was deeply committed to mentoring and inspiring young people through everything he did.

He helped grow our organization beyond its educational roots to reach out directly to audiences across the country. He participated in online and in-person sessions with students, broadening their understanding of complex issues such as racism and what it means to be Canadian. We remember fondly and with great gratitude his five-city tour of schools in 2014 with his film Mighty Jerome. He met thousands of students and had a remarkable way of connecting with them personally and making them feel heard and understood, even in a packed auditorium.

We were proud and grateful to have his voice on our board; his guidance will be missed and impossible to replace.

We mourn the loss of all the stories he had yet to tell.

His passing is an enormous loss for the Canadian film industry, and an even larger one for anyone who knew or loved him.

Charles loved young people and had an extraordinary ability to connect with them. Check out this video from our 2013 cross-Canada tour.

This is a clip of Charles Officer and Norman Jewison, who also passed this year, in conversation at the Canadian Film Centre, discussing Jewison’s career within the context of the social justice movement.