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Unarmed Verses

Unarmed Verses
Charles Officer
National Film Board
86 minutes
With visiting director Charles Officer



This feature documentary presents a thoughtful and vivid portrait of a community facing imposed relocation. Toronto Community Housing’s Villaways neighbourhood was built in the 1970s in an isolated and marginalized part of the city. It’s been designated for redevelopment and during construction all the current residents will be relocated. The revitalization promises a fresh start, but for those who call Villaways home, the transition is a major disruption amidst their ongoing struggles. 

At the centre of the story is a remarkably astute and luminous Fancine Valenite, a 12-year-old growing up in the area. Her world revolves around her friends and family. By joining the local Arts Starts’ Up & Rooted music program she embraces the opportunity to express herself with honesty and beauty, giving voice to those rarely heard in society.

Through her words and following her daily routines, director Charles Officer has created a poetic work of cinema that transcends social observation.


About the Director

Charles Officer is a Jamaican-Canadian writer, actor, director and former professional hockey player. Charles was the recipient of the Ontario Premier’s Emerging Artist Award and his first feature documentary Mighty Jerome: The Greatest Comeback inTrack & Field History won four Leo Awards and nominated for an Emmy Award in 2012. His most recent film Unarmed Verses was named Best Canadian Feature at the 2017 Hot Docs Canadian International Documentary Festival and Best Canadian Documentary at the Vancouver International Film Festival.


Post Film Discussion:

Director Charles Officer will be in attendance to lead a post-film discussion.


Earlier Event: November 17
The Road Forward
Later Event: November 18
Let There Be Light