In an announcement today, Hot Docs shared that For Viola, a new series named after Nova Scotian civil rights activist Viola Desmond, will provide audiences with free monthly VOD screenings of BIPOC-led documentaries that share stories and perspectives of Black, Indigenous, and People of Colour.

In the organization’s anti-racism statement, they acknowledge that their role “as a community leader demands we take action to dismantle systems of oppression”, and this programme, overseen by Julian Carrington and volunteer coordinator Dawnalda Brennan, is one step that the Hot Docs is taking to ensure marginalized voices are amplified, and barriers to access are removed. 

The two documentaries available to stream right now are the incredible Canadian films Unarmed Verses, directed by Charles Officer, and Lessons Injustice directed by Karen Chapman. Later this month, the third film in the For Viola series will be In My Blood It Runs, an Australian doc by Maya Newell. More info on all three powerful titles below.

D: Charles Officer | 86 mins | 2017 | Canada
A remarkably astute and luminous 12-year-old girl’s poignant observations about life, the soul and the power of art give voice to a Toronto community facing imposed relocation, and speak to our universal need for self-expression and belonging.

D: Karen Chapman | 9 mins | 2017 | Canada
A father sets out on a car ride with his teenage son and reflects on the conversation he knows he will soon have to have: how to conduct himself as a young black man in Canadian society.

D: Maya Newell | 84 mins | 2019 | Australia
Considered a promising leader by his elders but a failing student by his westernized school teachers, an Aboriginal boy in central Australia must straddle two worlds, coming of age in the midst of a larger cultural battle between colonizers and colonized.

In 1946, Viola Desmond went to go see a film in a Nova Scotian theatre, and challenged segregation by sitting, and refusing to leave, the “whites only” section. This series is named after her, in honour of her bravery. Watch these compelling docs at home with your family.