Skip to main content

Free, ticketed event.

“It is only with the heart that one can see rightly: what is essential is invisible to the eye.”—The Little Prince, 1943.

“I love when people doubt me…That’s fine … I know what I’m going to do.”—Charles Officer, 2022.

Planet Fantastic with Hot Docs Canadian International Documentary Festival present Force of Will, a free program including a screening of the National Film Board documentary directed by Charles Officer, Mighty Jerome, highlighting the story of Canadian track-and-field icon Harry Jerome. The program will also feature an insightful Q&A with Charles Officer’s industry colleagues and excerpts from the previously unseen last full-length video interview with Charles Officer in late 2022.

This event is curated and moderated by Powys Dewhurst and Dalton Higgins.

Who are these Black Canadians, who shine brightly for brief moments in time, and through force of will change their orbits for the better, then leave as quickly as they arrived? Both Harry Jerome and Charles Officer were luminous Black Canadians, with a preternatural ability to uplift those in their orbits.

A multifaceted artist, key themes resonate throughout Charles Officer’s many careers as a graphic designer, model, theatre, film and TV actor and director, and hockey player. In his time and through his work, he nurtured relationships, uplifting and connecting with communities.

Much like the subjects of his directorial work, evident in Officer’s diverse film and TV work— including Invisible Essence: The Little Prince, an exploration of the global popularity of the otherworldly fantasy fable novella The Little Prince, NFB’s Mighty Jerome and Unarmed Verses, CBC’s The Porter, The Skin We're In, and his final project in development, the hockey film Youngblood—are throughlines of tenacity, discipline, sacrifice, collaboration, imagination, and fighting for the marginalized. By exposing anti-Black oppression, he boldly confronted it.

Charles Officer's work dynamically embraced fiction, non-fiction, feature films, tv, web series, and theatre. He once said: "I had to find peace with the roadblocks and believe I won't die before I get to make these things. I'm about rolling the dice on yourself, even when it's hard."

Among his celebrated works is the National Film Board’s Unarmed Verses (2017), Nurse. Fighter. Boy (2008), and CBC’s The Porter, for which he won his final Canadian Screen Award as director.

Winner of 4 Canadian Screen Awards, Officer’s many awards include:

  • 2023 Toronto Film Critics Association Awards. Winner, Clyde Gilmour Award
  • 2022 Directors Guild of Canada. Winner, Outstanding Directorial Achievement, Dramatic Series, The Porter
  • 2021 Victoria Film Festival. Winner, Best Canadian Feature, Akilla's Escape
  • 2017 Hot Docs. Winner, Best Canadian Documentary. Unarmed Verses
  • 2017 Vancouver International Film Festival. Winner, Best Canadian Documentary. Unarmed Verses
  • 2012 National Academy of Television Arts and Sciences Northwest Regional Emmy for Documentary Historical. Mighty Jerome


 Garvia Bailey Marsha Green Michael A. Levine Lea Marin Powys Dewhurst Dalton Higgins


  • Garvia Bailey, broadcaster and producer

  • Marsha Green, showrunner, CBC's The Porter

  • Michael A. Levine, entertainment lawyer, executive producer, and literary agent

  • Lea Marin, CBC director of development, drama; producer, Unarmed Verses (NFB)

  • Powys Dewhurst, event producer and industry programmer (curator and moderator)

  • Dalton Higgins, author, publicist, and journalist (moderator)


  • Director(s)

    • Charles Officer
  • Producer(s)

    • Selwyn Jacob
  • Executive Producer(s)

    • Tracey Friesen
  • Writer(s)

    • Charles Officer
  • Editor(s)

    • Jesse James Miller
  • Cinematography

    • John Price
  • Composer

    • Schaun Tozer
  • Music

    • Schaun Tozer
  • Sound

    • Jonathan Ritchie

Promotional Partners

Member of

Directors Guild of Canada

Presented by Planet Fantastic with additional support from Telefilm Canada, National Film Board of Canada, and Ontario Creates.

Get the latest from Hot Docs

Sign up for e-news and keep up to date with the latest from Hot Docs and Hot Docs Ted Rogers Cinema.
  • Advance notices about upcoming films
  • The latest on festival dates and tickets
  • Customize your preferences
  • Unsubscribe at any time
Sign up