Work in progress from Waterloo Architecture’s Living Architecture Systems Group

image of phoenix

Emancipation Seed is a short film set in the haunted sites of Toronto’s colonial slave-owning past. A young boy is transported into an alternate reality where he learns his ancestral stories of Black love, anguish and pride. He is aided and guided on his journey by an elder spirit Moko Jumbie. A deep connection between the elder and the boy results and creates powerful new seeds of resistance, alliance and emancipation for future generations.  

The seminal book Emancipation Day - Celebrating Freedom in Canada by Natasha L. Henry is the source for key images in the film. Emancipation Seed is inspired by the Caribbean carnival with its intermixed African and European sources. Carnival became the locus for communal and personal expressions of freedom in the colonial public domain. Like the elaborate costumes and performances in carnival, dream-like visions within the film create an expansive sense of dignity and reverence and offer new symbols of emancipation.

Filmed by acclaimed photographers Hyghly Alleyne and Eric Black. Featuring a special new collaboration by Michael Lee Poy and Philip Beesley in script, scenography and costume design, with contributions from OCADU, Waterloo Architecture’s Living Architecture Systems Group and many others. 

Emancipation Seed will be released in August 2021.