ABOUT THE CURATOR: LAURIE TOWNSHEND
Writer-director, educator and photographer Laurie Townshend credits her mantra, “You have as many hours in a day as Beyoncé” for her ability to make groundbreaking films while successfully lobbying her 8th graders for “coolest teacher” nods.
ABOUT THE PANELIST: ALEXA JOY
With a thematic lens aimed squarely on acts of courage made visible through crisis, The Railpath Hero (2013) features a spellbinding performance by Stephan James (Selma, Race, Beale Street), in a story about the threads of resilience that hold a young athlete's life together in the wake of childhood sexual abuse. Laurie’s take on human connectedness is explored in Human Frequency Streetdocs (2014). Award-winning Charley (2016) connects the work of late civil rights activist Charles Roach to today’s BLM movement. Currently, Laurie is in pre-production on Mothering in the Movement (2022), a coming-of-middle-age saga that follows Staceyann Chin, Brooklyn’s most outspoken poet-activist and poster-mom for radical Black parenting as she raises her daughter Zuri, while investigating the past of her own mother who abandoned her as an infant.
Alexa Joy is a researcher, activist and artist whose work attempts to dismantle structural white supremacy while encouraging demonstrations of Black, radical-advocacy. Her work as the founder and president of Black Space Winnipeg inspires her to push for authentic dialogue on challenging anti-Blackness in Canada and establishes critical inquiries on deconstructing how we think of race and racism. As a vocal percussion, Alexa explores the power of breath and rhythmic dialogue to create percussion communication while pushing the boundaries of beatboxing. Alexa continues to disrupt institutional inequalities by searching for truth and justice for society's most vulnerable. Alexa was also the Director of the Afro Prairie Film Festival in Winnipeg, Manitoba.