Event Category: Opening

Black Futures Month Pop Up Opening – Toronto

BFM in white block letters on a black background

Opening event: February 17.

Join us for the Toronto edition of BlackLivesMatter’s Black Futures Month Pop Up, running from February 17 – March 3. Featuring live feeds from the rest of the global pop up- in Atlanta and Los Angeles.

Black Futures Month Pop Up – Toronto on Facebook

Featuring work by:
Gloria Swain
Diseye Thomson
Kike Otuije
Kyisha Williams
Jasmyn Fyfe
Ravyn Wngz
Rodney Diverlus
Pete Owusu-Ansah
Kim Ninkuru
Karen Miranda Augustine

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Shorts Screening Series

A black and white photo of a woman sitting in a dimly lit bus. The reflection of her face is half visible in the window

Please note that this event is a part of the Opening Night Reception and is only accessible with a ticket to TransMilitary, the Opening Night Film.

More information on the Human Rights Film Festival website


How to Disarm a Fighter Jet: Early one January in 2017 a priest and a quaker activist were discovered midway through a break-in at an airbase in the north of England. Their plan was to destroy British made fighter jets bound for the war in Yemen. These jets were part of a multibillion pound weapons deal with Saudi Arabia: a deal that politicians, legal experts and NGOs have deemed illegal. Charged with criminal damage, the pair gambled their liberty for a chance to put the arms trade on trial.

Over the Wall: A coincidental meeting between two kids from both sides of the separation wall catches them by surprise, as they learn that reality is different than what they’ve been told.

We the Children: We the Children is a short documentary about childrens’ thoughts and feelings on politics. Sparked by the 2016 elections results, we witness how a group of children, ages 7 to 11, at a democratic school in Harlem, New York City, responds to their concern about the direction their country might take as a result of Donald Trump elected as president. Through an ongoing journey that involves their own civic law education, community involvement, and activism, they ultimately question the general perception of children’ s limited role in politics and open the door for further discussion.

Timbó: Construction of dams by energy companies in the Brazilian Amazon would destroy the heart of the world’s largest rainforest, and severely affect the community of the indigenous people in the area. If built, the dams would flood an area the size of London, Paris and Amsterdam combined. The flood would also cause a large amount of toxic plants to dissolve in the water, leading to severe poisoning or even death among the local tribes. These plants are commonly known as Timbó.

Gaze: On her way back from work a woman witnesses something happening in the bus and she has to decide if she reveals it or not.


A person running on a gravel road through a wooded area, with a black t-shirt and shorts, with Army in yellow letters

Based on outdated and discriminatory medical policies dating back to World War II, transgender people were banned from serving in the US military until July 2016. While an estimated 15,500 transgender people serve in the U.S. armed forces, transgender service members have had to conceal their identities due to the military gender-based restrictions. TransMilitary follows Senior Airman Logan Ireland, Corporal Laila Villanueva, Captain Jennifer Peace and First Lieutenant El Cook as they work together to repeal the ban on transgender troops. Putting their careers and families on the line, they fearlessly confront the top brass Pentagon officials, demanding justice and inclusive policies. While they succeeded to lift the ban in 2016, the Trump administration continuously attempts to block transgender people from serving. In the midst of Trump’s effort to erase transgender rights, TransMilitary is a powerful reminder of the resilience and perseverance of the US transgender troops and transgender community at large.

Ticket also includes access to the Opening Night Reception + Shorts Screening Series.

More information and tickets

Flourishing: Somewhere We Stay Authentic

A painting of a sunset, with the foreground in dark blue, a deep red sky, and wisps of clouds with a greenish tinge.

Featured Artists
Richard Harlow and Maanii Oakes

FLOURISHING: SOMEWHERE WE STAY AUTHENTIC is the second exhibition in this series, featuring Maanii Oakes and Richard Harlow. Hailing from opposite sides of the country, these two artists converge to present work illustrating the inescapable impact of one’s environments, natural and human. SOMEWHERE WE STAY AUTHENTIC offers the audience glimpses into the artists’ efforts to navigate potentially overwhelming terrain, negotiating their own versions of landscapes in which they are able to thrive. We can never truly escape our past or the forces that have brought us to the here and now, but perhaps in looking honestly and unflinchingly at who and where we are, we open ourselves up to the potential of co-creating of what will be.

Drawing from the senses to invigorate new ways of experiencing visual art, this joint exhibition embodies an interdependent exchange of processes that uproot the narrative of the gallery setting. Oakes uses the performance of skin stitching and handpoke tattooing, as well as sculpting with artificial red and black sinew sewn through raw deer hide. Harlow uses painting to evoke and invite new sensations through touch. The two met for the first time at the Flourishing artist retreat in Halifax and quickly connected as artists and friends. What started as a reciprocal interest in each other’s disparate experiences progressed to sharing sculptural painting techniques and Indigenous teachings. Their 3D butchery scene is a tactile combination of their exchange of skills and knowledge.

More information on the Tangled Art + Disability website
Flourishing: Somehow We Stay Authentic on Facebook

Exhibition Dates: November 2 – December 19, 2018
Opening Reception: November 9, 6:00-8:00 pm
Second Saturday Social: November 10, 2:00-4:00 pm
Artist Talk with Richard Harlow: December 8, 2:00-4:00 pm

The Song and The Sorrow

A close up of a person wearing headphones in front of a recording microphone with a pop filter

Open captioned.

Legendary Canadian songwriter, Gene MacLellan is best known for his hits from the 1970s, including “Snowbird,” “Put Your Hand in the Hand” and “The Call.” Juno-award-winning musician, MacLellan gained national attention as one of the most brilliant songwriters in the Canadian music industry but he was never comfortable with being in the spotlight. After struggling with depression, MacLellan took his own life in 1995.

The songwriter’s daughter and musician Catherine MacLellan was only 14 when her father committed suicide. Years after his death, Catherine revisits her father’s past trying to understand his life-long battle with depression. The Song and the Sorrow captures Catherine’s personal struggle to reconcile her family’s tragedy and break the silence surrounding mental illness.

Accompanied by live performances from Catherine MacLellan and Workman Arts’ Bruised Years Choir. Q&A with the director following the screening.

42 minutes. Toronto premiere.

More information and tickets

Flourishing: Somehow We Stay Attuned

A square filled with smaller pixelated squares in shades of grey, with many multicoloured squares distributed through

Peter Owusu-Ansah, Sarah Ferguson, and Salima Punjani

FLOURISHING: SOMEHOW WE STAY ATTUNED is the first of four exhibitions that make up the series, FLOURISHING. Featuring the work of seven artists from across Canada, this exhibition series addresses the complexities of what it means to flourish, and how flourishing exists in harmony with, and in juxtaposition to, suffering.

SOMEHOW WE STAY ATTUNED is more inquiry than proclamation. The three featured artists do not present simple answers but rather, transform the gallery into a forum unfolding debate – within themselves, with each other, and with the audience.

Ferguson’s work explores the Trans experience; how Trans individuals embody themselves and their environments. Owusu-Ansah’s work as a Deaf artist seeks to deepen audiences’ perception of visual art, and understanding of how Deaf folks navigate a hearing world. Punjani’s work asks audiences to interact with their bodies and their surroundings in new contextual ways. Each artist uses their work as a springboard for us to challenge our understandings of bodies, both our own and those of others.

More information on the Tangled Art + Disability website

September 7, 6:00 – 8:00 pm

Community Session with Peter Owusu-Ansah:
September 15, 12:00 – 2:00 pm

Artist Talk with Sarah Ferguson, Peter Owusu-Ansah and Salima Punjani:
September 22, 2:00 – 4:00 pm

Second Saturday Social:
October 13, 2:00 – 4:00 pm

Present Tense: IAL Exhibition Opening

A light purple and mint green vertical gradient with the words Present Tense in white

Inclusive Arts London’s Bridging Forward: Accessibility Arts Festival is bringing exciting works from local, provincial, and national artists to London over June and July 2018. This exhibition features emerging to established contemporary visual and media artists from Southwestern Ontario and beyond, including: Elaine Stewart, Aislinn Thomas, Hailey Doxtater, Jenelle Rouse, Vero Leduc, Sarah L and Judith Purdy. All events are open to the public and presented in accessible locations.

Present Tense: IAL Exhibition Opening with works by:
Elaine Stewart
Aislinn Thomas
Hailey Doxtater
Jenelle Rouse
Vero Leduc
Sarah L
Judith Purdy

For more information: Inclusive Arts London Exhibition Opening on Facebook

The Milky Pop Kid & Keep the Change

A couple holding hands and walking away, down a beach boardwalk

Opening night! The night begins with cocktails and hors d’oeuvres at Toronto Reference Library in the Appel Salons at 7:00 PM, with honoured guests, artists, filmmakers, and activists in attendance. RAFFTO is delighted to welcome juror and friend of the festival Angelo Murreda to host the evening. Following the screening we will be joined by special guests from the feature film.

The Milky Pop Kid:
An actor and disability consultant is asked to help a former child star prepare for his triumphant comeback in a likely award-bait role.

Keep the Change:
David is an upper-class charmer struggling to hide his high-functioning autism. Forced by his parents to attend Connections, a support group for people on the autism spectrum, David falls in love with Sarah, a sheltered young woman who challenges his identity as “normal.”

Winner, Best U.S. Narrative Feature and Best New Director, 2017 Tribeca Film Festival

Tickets: The Milky Pop Kid & Keep the Change

For more information about the films: The Milky Pop Kid & Keep the Change