Charles Officer at 44th KVIFF
|Occupation||screenwriter, actor, film director|
The youngest of four children born in Toronto, Ontario to a Black British father and a Jamaican Canadian mother, Officer studied communication design at the Ontario College of Art and Design (OCAD), but left to play professional ice hockey in the U.K. He was drafted by the Calgary Flames and moved from England to Salt Lake City to play for an NHL farm team. He abandoned professional hockey due to injury problems and returned to OCAD, before attending the Neighborhood Playhouse in New York City.
Officer’s directorial debut, When Morning Comes, premiered at the 2000 Toronto International Film Festival (TIFF). His other work includes the short films Short Hymn Silent War (2002), Pop Song and Urda/Bone (2003), a music video for K'naan’s “Strugglin’” (2005) and television pilot Hotel Babylon (2005).
The 57th Berlin International Film Festival selected his feature screenplay Nurse.Fighter.Boy for its Sparkling Tales writer’s lab in 2007. Inspired by Officer's sister's battle with sickle cell anemia, the film was produced while Officer was a student at the Canadian Film Centre. The film was shot over 23 days with a hand-held camera shot on location in Toronto, in areas where Officer grew up, including the back alleyways of Eastern Avenue; Woodbine and Danforth Avenue; and a boxing club in Cabbagetown where Officer had learned to fight at age 13.
Nurse.Fighter.Boy premiered at TIFF 2008 and won the Audience Award at the International Filmfestival Mannheim-Heidelberg and the audience award for Best in World Cinema and a jury prize for Best Cinematography at the Sarasota Film Festival. It was also released theatrically in Canada on February 2009.
In 2009 Officer directed two short films for the cross-platform project City Sonic. Officer, along with six other directors, shot 20 short films about Toronto musicians and the places where their musical lives were transformed. Officer directed films starring D-Sisive and Divine Brown.
Premiering at the Vancouver International Film Festival on October 8, 2010, Mighty Jerome explores the rise, fall and redemption of Harry Jerome, Canada’s most record-setting track and field star. Archival footage, interviews and recreations are used to tell the story of what Jerome’s university coach, Bill Bowerman, called “The greatest comeback in track and field history.” Mighty Jerome is produced by the NFB’s Selwyn Jacob.
In June 2015, Officer completed principal photography in Toronto on a National Film Board of Canada documentary entitled Unarmed Verses, produced by Lea Marin, which explores youth and race-related issues in the city in the aftermath of the shooting of Trayvon Martin in the United States.
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- Ellis, Suzanne (2008-09-14). "Sister's Battle With Sickle Cell Anemia Inspired Filmmaker Charles Officer's Nurse.Fighter.Boy". CityNews (Rogers Broadcasting). Retrieved 2009-04-24.
- "Former hockey player makes cut onstage". Calgary Herald (Canwest). 2008-09-18. Retrieved 2009-04-22.
- Bailey, Pamela. "Calling The Shots". Sway. Retrieved 2009-04-24.[dead link]
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- "Charles Officer begins production on NFB Harry Jerome documentary". AfroToronto. 2009-04-19. Retrieved 2009-04-21.
- Zacharias, Yvonne (8 October 2010). "VIFF: The story of Harry Jerome is a moving piece of sports history". Vancouver Sun. Retrieved 12 January 2011.
- Schaefer, Glen (8 October 2010). "REVIEW: Mighty Jerome". Vancouver Province. Retrieved 12 January 2011.
- Anderson, Kelly (30 September 2010). "VIFF Preview: "Mighty Jerome"". Realscreen. Retrieved 12 January 2011.
- Lacey, Liam (15 June 2015). "Unarmed Verses: New NFB documentary explores youth and race in Toronto". Globe and Mail. Retrieved 29 July 2015.