Watch short films by immigrant and refugee women on Multiculturalism Day
On June 27, alumnae of The Shoe Project – a women-led, non-profit writing and performance initiative founded by Canadian author Katherine Govier – presented short autobiographical films created in collaboration with filmmaker Gerda Cammaer, an associate professor at Toronto’s Ryerson University.
In 2017, Cammaer received popular acclaim for producing and directing Taxi Stories – a series of short mobile films about cab drivers, immigration and multiculturalism – in partnership with Toronto’s Harbourfront Centre and the city’s woman-led Beck taxi company, which is billed as North America’s largest fleet.
The film program for this edition of The Shoe Project, conceived and coordinated by Cammaer – who worked with former student Serene Husni – and financed with a grant from RBC Foundation, marks the first time since the project began 10 years ago that women newcomers, many of them highly skilled leaders, will present their stories on film instead of performing them for an audience.
Filmmaker Reem Morsi, a Shoe Project alumna, hosted the online program, which broadcasted on June 27 from 2:00 p.m. to 3:30 p.m. EDT (6:00 to 7:30 p.m. GMT) on Canada’s Multiculturalism Day.
With a background in international relations and human rights at the United Nations, Morsi has also directed two feature-length films.
The short films feature stories about Western-style boots in Istanbul by Simten Osken, qib qabs slippers in Damascus by Maya Kabbani, bare feet and ophthalmology in Mali by Umut Duygu Uzunel, high heels as an act of defiance during interrogation in Turkey by Elif Derin and Valentino brand-name shoes as a symbol of love in Rome by Elizabeth Meneses Del Castillo.
In addition to RBC Foundation, The Shoe Project Shorts are supported by the in-kind support of Trinity Square Video in Toronto. The Shoe Project is in partnership with PEN Canada, a non-profit group that advocates freedom of expression. Local partners include the Calgary Immigrant Women’s Association and PIRS in Vancouver. The Shoe Project has been supported in part by the government of Canada through the federal Community Support, Multiculturalism, and Anti-Racism Initiatives Program. It was incubated at The Bata Shoe Museum in Toronto.