THE VIDEOS BELOW ARE AVAILABLE FOR FREE STREAMING: DECEMBER 1st at 10am (EST) - DECEMBER 2nd at 10am (EST)

 
WATCH "PROMISE ME": A PANEL DISCUSSION

Promise Me: A Panel Discussion (2020), in collaboration with, Archive/Counter-Archive, the McGill Institute for Gender, Sexuality and Feminist Studies, Mediaqueer and the Moving Image Research Lab, Duration: 1:11:19 


Médiaqueer, in partnership with VUCAVU and Women’s Health in Women’s Hands CHC is pleased to present, A Filmmaker in Focus: Alison Duke. These programs provide only a glimpse of Alison’s extensive filmography, however within the context of December 1st being World AIDS Day we wanted to take this opportunity to recognize the work done in the fight against HIV, to show support for people living with HIV, and to commemorate those who have passed away from AIDS-related illness. These three programs celebrate the innovative and powerful work of this dynamic storyteller who works to build awareness around the extreme social injustice and horrific treatment of Black people living with HIV/AIDS as they try to navigate their health care needs in Canada.

Mediaqueer

A Filmmaker in Focus:
Alison Duke

Presented by Médiaqueer

A Filmmaker in Focus: Alison Duke

Promise Me

Watch the trailer here: https://player.vimeo.com/video/411455095


Promise Me follows the story of Yolanda and her daughter Charlie as they are ripped apart by illness, an unjust system, and a failure to face the truth. Charlie still has hope and is adamant in caring for her mother, Yolanda Thomas, as her health takes a turn for the worse. Loyal, she insists on sticking by her mother’s side until the very end. But when her school begins to notice Charlie’s absence, she is placed under a system of surveillance and Charlie will soon come to find that some decisions are outside of her control.


Promise Me is a film that is inspired by events while filming the documentary The Woman I Have Become about eight African, Black and Caribbean women living with HIV/AIDS in Toronto trying to build awareness about their struggles in the Canadian health care system. The Woman I have Become was produced for Women's Health in Women's Hand - Community Health Center. The children of one of them mothers were apprehended by Child Welfare because she was too sick to mother. A week later the mother passed away. Alison Duke carried the story with her and wrote an article about it called “The Missing 17 Minutes” for the Project Muse Journal. The story has haunted her psyche for years and recently, she turned it into a short dramatic script. Promise Me, is her first fictional work to date.

 

Promise Me: A Panel Discussion

As we continue to have conversations around defunding police, a question has arisen about where and how policing Black lives happens, to borrow Robyn Maynard’s phrase, in Canadian society. The Promise Me: A Panel Discussion is a discussion with filmmaker Alison Duke, McGill Social Work professor Alicia Boatswain-Kyte, and the Promise Me film cast and crew that is moderated by McGill professor Alanna Thain, and Festival du nouveau cinéma representative Émilie Poirier. They reflect upon the story of Promise Me and the ways in which various Canadian systems contribute to the policing of Black lives.
 


Promise Me: A Panel Discussion (2020), in collaboration with, Archive/Counter-Archive, the McGill Institute for Gender, Sexuality and Feminist Studies, Mediaqueer and the Moving Image Research Lab, Duration: 1:11:19
 

TO WATCH THIS PANEL, PLEASE SEE THE VIDEO AT THE VERY TOP OF THIS PAGE or CLICK HERE: https://vimeo.com/483590834

 

Loyal, she insists on sticking by her mother’s side until the very end.

 

"Positive Women: Exposing Injustice", Alison Duke, 00:45:07 (2012)
Still from: "Positive Women: Exposing Injustice", Alison Duke, 00:45:07 (2012) 
 

Positive Women: Exposing Injustices

Positive Women: Exposing Injustice is a 45-minute documentary film that tells the personal stories of four women living with HIV in Canada – a Quebecker who was charged for not telling her partner that she had HIV at the beginning of an ultimately abusive relationship, a young woman who chose not to pursue charges against the man who infected her, an Aboriginal woman who has personally faced extreme stigma and threats, and a Latina woman who describes the challenges of disclosure and intimate relationships for women living with HIV. Their stories are real, raw and from the heart, and tell the truth about what it is like to live in a society that all-too-often criminalizes intimate behaviour between consenting adults and discriminates against those living with HIV. Legal experts, doctors, counsellors, and support workers also lend their voices to challenge current Canadian laws that are letting down the very women they are meant to protect. Positive Women: exposing injustice was produced for the HIV Legal Network.

Their stories are real, raw and from the heart, and tell the truth about what it is like to live in a society that all-too-often criminalizes intimate behaviour between consenting adults and discriminates against those living with HIV.
"Promise Me", Alison Duke
Poster image for "Promise Me", Alison Duke, 00:24:47 (2019)

 

ABOUT ALISON DUKE

With 20+ years of experience as a writer, director, producer and visual artist, Alison Duke aka “Golde” is a storyteller, in every sense of the word. She tells dynamic stories that illuminate history, document the present and push culture forward. Duke’s filmmaking career began in the 90s when she produced music videos for some of the biggest names in Canadian music, like Maestro Fresh Wes, Glenn Lewis and Nelly Furtado. Duke made her directorial debut with the ground-breaking 2001 documentary Raisin Kane: a rapumentaory. She works with producers, directors and artists on projects that bring diverse audiences together to affect positive social change. Recently she founded Oya Media Group with filmmaker Ngardy Conteh George.

In 2016, Alison executive produced the Akua Benjamin Legacy Project with five Black female filmmakers from Toronto. This series of five award-winning short documentaries celebrate the legacy of Toronto’s renowned black activists; Gwen and Lenny Johnson, Marlene Green, Rosie Douglas, Dudley Laws and Charles Roach. Promise Me is her first non-fiction work to date. She completed Promise Me as part of her MFA thesis film at York University. She has several projects in development including her second narrative.

Find out more : https://vucavu.com/en/artists/d/alison-duke

SUPPORT WOMEN'S HEALTH IN WOMEN'S HANDS (WHIWH)

Those who would like to provide additional support can donate to the Women’s Health in Women’s Hands CHC (WHIWH). Donations can be made through the WHIWH donation administrator, CanadaHelps. They can  specifically indicate that their financial support is to go to the "Skills Project-Women living with HIV" whose aim is to strengthen the capacity of African, Caribbean and Black (ACB) women living with HIV/AIDS throughservice coordination/provision of primary health care, health promotion, capacity building and skills development. This program supports more than 350+ women living with HIV at WHIWH. 

Click here to donate.
 

The mandate of WHIWH is to provide primary healthcare to racialized women from the African, Black, Caribbean, Latin American and South Asian communities in Toronto and surrounding municipalities. They are committed to working from an inclusive feminist, pro-choice, anti-racist, anti-oppression, and multilingual participatory framework in addressing the issue of access to healthcare for their mandated priority populations encompassing gender, gender identity, race, class, violence, sexual orientation, religion, culture, language, disability, immigration status and socio-economic circumstances.

More information about the WHIWH and the support they offer can be found here : https://www.whiwh.com/
 

Those who would like to provide additional support can donate to the Women’s Health in Women’s Hands CHC (WHIWH).
VUCAVU thanks Mediaqueer for their collaboration!

         


 
This curated program is part of the VUCAVU Expanded project.
We acknowledge the support of the Canada Council for the Arts.​