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For Viola

Hot Docs' screening series centering Black, Indigenous, and People of Colour (BIPOC)-led stories and filmmakers, named in honour of Canadian civil rights icon Viola Desmond. This series seeks to affirm Hot Docs as a space of inclusion for BIPOC creators and audience members alike. To minimize barriers to audience participation, all screenings in this series are free of charge.

Who Was Viola Desmond?
Viola Desmond (1914–1965) was a Black Nova Scotian entrepreneur and pioneer in the struggle against anti-Black racism in Canada. In 1946, Desmond was arrested and jailed when she refused to leave the whites-only seating area of a Nova Scotia cinema and was subsequently convicted and fined. In one of the first known legal challenges to racial segregation in Canada, she fought to overturn her conviction. She received a posthumous pardon from the Nova Scotia government in 2010.

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