WATCH: CFC Conversations with Amanda Brugel and Clement Virgo

Posted: Mar 9, 2023

A split screen of two people in each image sitting in chairs on a stage holding microphones

In February, together with our presenting partner TD Bank Group (TD), we were honoured to present the revival of our acclaimed Black History Month Speaker Series with two exciting public CFC Conversations celebrating Black excellence, Black futures and Black stories in Canada’s screen industry and beyond.

On February 15, our speaker series kicked off with special guest, award-winning actress Amanda Brugel (The Handmaid’s Tale, Infinity Pool, Kim’s Convenience). Our executive director, maxine bailey, sat down with Amanda to discuss Amanda’s prolific career and invaluable contributions to Canada’s screen industry. Amanda is known worldwide for her role as Rita on all five seasons of the smash hit The Handmaid’s Tale, as well as her time on the judging panel of Canada’s Drag Race and for her roles on Orphan Black, Snowpiercer, Kim’s Convenience, Pretty Hard Cases, Sort Of, and more. Her film credits include 2020’s Sugar Daddy and the cult hit Becky, and last year’s Ashgrove, which she co-wrote, produced and starred in. Next up, you can catch Amanda in Apple TV’s Dark Matter, and in the Brandon Cronenberg film Infinity Pool, alongside Alexander Skarsgard. 

The evening featured an insightful conversation between maxine and Amanda about the dearth of representation in the screen industry, challenges that Black women face in the industry, and guests even got the inside scoop on Amanda’s manifestation routine. Watch the full conversation with Amanda Brugel in the video below: 

Then, on February 22, entertainment journalist and film critic Marriska Fernandes sat down with our very own alumnus and prolific film and TV director Clement Virgo (The Book of Negroes, Greenleaf) to discuss his storied career, breaking down boundaries in the industry, as well as his most recent critically acclaimed feature, Brother, which received a whopping 14 Canadian Screen Awards nominations the morning of the event! 

Clement first took the screen industry by storm with his groundbreaking debut feature RUDE (produced by CFC Features), which premiered at Cannes in 1995, was named the Best Canadian Feature Film at the 1995 Toronto International Film Festival, and went on to screen at numerous festivals around the world. He is well-known for his award-winning miniseries adaptation of Lawrence Hill’s The Book of Negroes, which debuted to record-breaking numbers on the CBC in Canada and on BET in the U.S.; and for directing credits on hit shows like Empire, Billions, The L Word, The Wire, and the Oprah Winfrey Network drama series Greenleaf, to name a few.

Marriska led a thoughtful conversation with Clement; they covered a range of topics, including Clement’s start in the industry, how the CFC impacted his career, his approach to filmmaking, advice he’d give his younger self, and more. Watch the full conversation with Clement Virgo in the video below:

We would like to thank everyone who joined us for our CFC Conversations: Black Excellence speaker series. Special thanks to our presenting partner TD who made this event possible, and to Cineplex for hosting us.

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