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Africville in Black and White

Review by Michelle Brunet, Halifax

I wasn’t quite sure what to expect as I entered St. Matthew’s Church in Halifax on Tuesday evening. The FIN Atlantic International Film Festival production was advertised to be a “live documentary” to tell the beginning, life and tragic end of Africville, Canada’s largest, historic African Canadian community that was located in the north of Halifax for over 200 years. Gazing around the packed church in anticipation, I noticed colourful cardboard dog cutouts, two large screen televisions mounted at the front, and a clothesline with laundry hanging to dry.
The production opened with live guitar and banjo, and actor Justin Carter (whose biological mother grew up in Africville) inviting us to imagine we were sitting inside Africville’s Seaview Baptist Church. The meaning of “live documentary” format quickly became apparent: the feature consisted of both pre-recorded and live interviews with former residents of the community, academics and politicians, inte…

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