They met at York University as students and the rest is happy history for award-winning director David “Sudz” Sutherland and producer Jennifer Holness. The pair are the featured guests on Feb. 26 at The Independents, a monthly series of screenings and discussions on independent Canadian cinema presented by York University’s Department of Film & Video. The free screening and discussion begins at 6pm in Stedman Lecture Hall C.
Right: David “Sudz” Sutherland & Jennifer Holness
Sutherland and Holness will discuss their experience in the Canadian independent film industry, and show clips from their award-winning films Love, Sex and Eating the Bones (2003), My Father’s Hands (1999) and Speakers for the Dead (2000).
Film critic Cameron Bailey will host the presentation and moderate the discussion following. Bailey reviews films for NOW magazine, CBC Radio One and CTV’s “Canada AM”. He is the founding programmer of the Toronto International Film Festival’s Planet Africa section and former host/producer of the interview show “Filmmaker” on IFC Canada.
This sneak peek at Love, Sex and Eating the Bones takes place before the film opens on the big screen in Toronto in early March. A romantic comedy, it’s about a security guard and avid porn consumer who, after nurturing an intense fantasy life, discovers he has trouble performing with a real woman.
Left: Hill Harper as “Michael” and Marlene Afflack as “Jasmine” in Love, Sex and Eating the Bones
The film contains cameos by The Barenaked Ladies’ Ed Robertson and big-draw hip hop singer Kardinal Offishall. The film won Best Canadian First Feature at the 2003 Toronto International Film Festival and Best Feature at the Victoria Film Festival.
Sutherland’s short film, My Father’s Hands (1999) marked his debut at the Toronto International Film Festival. The film explores the rift between a Jamaican emigrant and his resentful Canadian-born son. My Father’s Hands toured the festival circuit in Canada and the US, winning four Golden Sheaves at the 2000 Yorkton Festival and garnering a Gemini nomination for Best Short. It earned Sutherland bragging rights as the first non-American winner of the $20,000 HBO Best Short Film award at the 2000 Acapulco Black Film Awards.
In 2001, Sutherland co-directed Speakers for the Dead with Holness, a documentary about a small town in rural Ontario and its quest to restore its history and dignity of its Black descendants. It went on to win Télé-Québec’s Chantal Lapaire Award at the Vues d’Afrique film festival in Montreal and Best Documentary at the 2000 Reel Black Film Awards for Vision and CBC Television.
Right: A still image from the documentary Speakers for the Dead
Recently, Sutherland completed his first television film script, Title Shot, about the life of turn-of-the-century boxer Sam Langford.
The equally talented Holness has produced a number of award-winning independent films and documentaries. She also works in television production on dramatic and variety programs, including Global’s “Ready or Not”, CTV’s “The Mike Bullard Show”, “The Tara Lipinsky Show” for CBS and CBC’s “Ekhaya: A Family Chronicle”.