Documentarian apologizes for saying ‘it doesn’t matter’ who tells Black stories

By The Canadian Press

TORONTO — Canadian documentarian Barry Avrich says he “misspoke” during an awards acceptance speech when he said it doesn’t matter who tells Black stories.

Avrich faced criticism this week after comments at the Canadian Screen Awards virtual ceremony on Monday where his film “Oscar Peterson: Black + White” won a top award.

He said: “This is a testament that there are so many Black stories in Canada that need to be told. It doesn’t matter who tells them; we just need to tell them.”

The Black Screen Office and Reelworld Film Festival were among the film organizations that responded with statements saying Avrich’s remarks downplayed the importance of Black filmmakers in telling Black stories in Canada where it’s already difficult for them to secure funding.

Avrich’s documentary explores the life of acclaimed Black pianist Oscar Peterson and is told largely through archival interviews with the musician, while a list of accomplished Canadian jazz artists appear in musical breaks.

The director says he regrets that his words were “misinterpreted as anything but support for Black creatives telling their stories.”

This report by The Canadian Press was first published April 8, 2022.

The Canadian Press

Top Stories

Top Stories

Most Watched Today