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title card: The North Was Our Canaan“WIFF Under the Stars” will screen a documentary on the local history of the Underground Railroad as part of an outdoor film festival this weekend.

Outdoor film fest to screen award-winning local documentary

A film documenting the local history of the Underground Railroad is on the program of the Windsor International Film Festival’s “WIFF Under the Stars” event this weekend.

The North Was Our Canaan was named Best Canadian Documentary Short at the International Black and Diversity Film Festival. The film focuses on those who crossed the Detroit River into Sandwich seeking freedom from slavery. Stories about the abolitionists who made Sandwich the base of their anti-slavery activism are told by descendants of those who undertook this daring quest to forge a new life in Canada.

Directed by UWindsor alumnus Anushray Singh (MFA 2020) and produced by Heidi Jacobs and Irene Moore Davis with the aid of a mostly undergraduate student crew, the project is part of a partnership between the Essex County Black Historical Research Society, Leddy Library, and the Centre for Digital Scholarship.

The North Was Our Canaan has been a beautiful journey where, for once, I realized the power of films and filmmaking,” says Singh. “It has been a privilege to get to relay important Black history through the heart and soul of the denizens of Sandwich. In the process of making this film, I grew both as a storyteller and, above all, as a human.”

The film festival will transform Charles Clark Square in downtown Windsor into an outdoor cinema. It is screening The North Was Our Canaan at 3 p.m. Sunday, July 25. Find details at https://windsorfilmfestival.com/.