Rosie Awori (LJI)
Motivated by his passion to promote diverse Black stories, Montreal based film maker, Henri Pardo has been curating content geared to promoting the Black narrative for the past 15 years and now his passion is taking him to the next level. Netflix and The Canadian Film Centre (CFC) have chosen his project to potentially benefit from their inaugural development accelerator program.
His film Kanaval (creole for Carnival) is among the films chosen by the The CFC/Netflix Project Development Accelerator which is part of the larger Netflix/CFC Global Project, which targets Canada’s traditionally under-served creatives and communities.
The film is set in the early 70s, Kanaval follows the story of a young boy and his mother who settle in a small rural village in Quebec after hastily leaving their troubled hometown in Haiti. The young boy counts on Kana, his invisible friend from his birth country, to understand the new world around him.
“I had to get my mother’s permission to tell her story and finally she agreed so I am eager to tell it right,” Pardo says in an interview with the CONTACT.
This initiative by Netflix and The Canadian Film Centre (CFC) took place from May through August 2020 and was designed to offer advanced development and workshopping support to projects that have international co-production potential.
Born in New Brunswick to Haitian parents, Henri Pardo is an Afro-centric filmmaker.
After training as an actor at the Conservatoire d’art dramatique de Montréal and 15 years after he embarked on the journey to satisfy his desire to tell stories. He is a graduate of the National Institute of Image and Sound (INIS). He serves as the President of Black Wealth Media, a Montreal-based company, which develops and produces Afrocentric content.
Pardo says he is all about inclusivity and telling Black stories as accurately as he can. He is currently working on filming a feature documentary, The Jackie Robinson Myth,
produced by Catbird productions in partnership with Documentary Channel. With this film, Henri Pardo investigates Jackie Robinson’s myth about the situation of the inhabitants of La Petite Burgundy, the birthplace of jazz in Montreal and, above all, the birthplace of one of the Black community in Montreal.
“I wanted to explore the myth of the Jackie Robinson era in the little burgundy area in Montreal,” he says.
He is not only pursuing film making but he has also united his creative auspices to form Black Wealth Media.
“Black Wealth Media is an online platform that will be used to showcase Afrocentric stories,” Pardo explains. “We will officially be launching in February of 2021 and we will be looking for other Black creators to come on and showcase their work on the platform.”
Pardo is a founding member of the Black on Black films collective. This Montreal collective is composed of Afro-descendant directors, producers and screenwriters who work to promote and develop an Afro-centric cinema in Quebec. The collective’s mission is to represent Afro-descendant creators and artisans from the artistic world to institutions.
The support is provided with a view to the professionalization of Afro-descendant artists by offering several creative tools (from design, to production, to post-production), while ensuring the dissemination of their works.
Check out Henri Pardo’s initiatives at: