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Film director from New West screening a film during Black History Month

Black History Month: Jamila Pomeroy’s Union Street - a hit at the VIFF - returns to the big screen (and little screens, too) in February.

An award-winning B.C. writer and director who once called New West home is part of a film being screened during Black History Month.

Jamila Pomeroy, who grew up in New West, is an award-winning B.C. writer/director and on-screen talent. Her debut documentary feature film, Union Street, celebrates the Black community in Vancouver and speaks to the challenges the community has faced historically due to systemic racism.

“Spanning across three generations, Union Street chronicles the ongoing effects of racism, displacement and the cultural erasure of African Canadians,” said a synopsis of the film. “While examining the systemic and political mechanisms that destroyed Hogan’s Alley in the 1960s, Vancouver’s historic Black community for almost a century is brought back into the spotlight.”

Train porters, speakeasies, juke joints and a thriving community all existed in the Black neighbourhood – and so did musicians like Jimi Hendrix, Louis Armstrong and Ella Fitzgerald, said the synopsis.

“The reverberations of this thriving community and its erasure are still felt, and in the face of adversity a new generation of Black Vancouverites work to rebuild community and facilitate Black joy,” said the overview of the documentary. “As they reclaim cultural space and give voice to black experiences in Vancouver, they also redefine what it means to be African-Canadian.”

Union Street, which premiered at the Vancouver International Film Festival in October 2023, returns to theatres for a limited engagement in February as part of Black History Month programming at VIFF Centre. You can view the trailer here.

In celebration of Black History Month, VIFF Centre is presenting two series this month – Celebrating Black Futures and A New Chapter. Pomeroy is curating A New Chapter.

“A New Chapter brings back the made-in-Vancouver festival hit Union Street for a limited engagement at the VIFF Centre (Feb. 2 to 7), presenting the definitive film record of Hogan’s Alley,” said the VIFF website. “Additionally, director Jamila Pomeroy has selected two inspiring international films as a sidebar to these screenings: Boots Riley’s Sorry to Bother You, and Suhaib Gasmelbari’s Talking About Trees.”

Union Street is also launching across Canada, starting Feb. 20, on TELUS Optik TV channel 8 and on

Pomeroy, a Kenyan-Canadian, is an internationally-published writer with nearly a decade of experience spanning print, new media, film and animation. She also works as a director, independent producer and actor/host.

Pomeroy wrote, directed, produced and hosted her first TV series, A Happier Planet With Jamila Pomeroy, which aired nationally on CBC in 2022. Union Street was an official 2023 selection of VIFF and the 2023 Reelworld Film Festival, where she won Outstanding Director for a Feature Film.