Inaugural Roger McTair Award presented to Ryerson University student

Inaugural Roger McTair Award presented to Ryerson University student

November 23, 2017

In elementary school, Kathleen Moyana was exposed to teaching that’s focussed on film-based storytelling.

That combined with her love for telling stories put her on a career path journey early in life.

“It just sort of grew from there and I realized there was this great medium that could be used to share my stories and life perspective with other people,” said Moyana who is the first recipient of the Roger McTair Student Filmmaker Award. “Who doesn’t like watching movies?”

Ian Kamau, McTair’s son, made the presentation in his father’s presence at Ryerson University’s School of Image Arts awards last week.

Born in Saskatoon to immigrants from Zimbabwe and Poland and raised in Ottawa, Moyana was honoured to be the recipient of the inaugural award.

“As I did my research, I was very impressed with my donor’s extensive body of work,” she said. “It’s obvious that he has a penchant for hard work that allowed him to rise to the top of his game. Now, he’s helping others to get to that plateau and I am so grateful.”

The fourth-year integrated digital studies student appeared in ‘High Scores Hang’, an experimental comedy in which a group of destructive teens are involved in an ‘over-the-top’ game show and are forced to compete in an increasingly strange set of tasks for an energetic host and a live studio audience.

Her favourite film is ‘The Lord of the Rings’ which is a series comprising three high adventure films. She also loves watching anything that’s ‘not super-grounded’ in reality.

“I like to experience an alternative universe,” said Moyana who is on the Dean’s List.

She’s currently putting the final touches on a short animation film that she hopes will be completed before the end of the year.

“It doesn’t have a name yet, but it’s based on the concept of a future where water is sort of this very precious commodity,” Moyana said.

After graduating from university, she plans to work in advertising and marketing.

“That will have something to do with animation,” added Moyana. “I am also interested in television, so we will see how that goes.”

The second Black Canadian filmmaker after Fil Fraser, McTair produced nine films between 1977 and 2000.

Fraser and the late Jennifer Hodge and her husband Paul de Silva were the only visible minorities making films in Canada when McTair and his ex-wife Claire Prieto migrated from Trinidad & Tobago in the early 1970s.

Failing to secure a job in advertising after being told by several agencies that his Canadian experience was minimal, McTair freelanced for several years before making his first film, ‘It’s Not an Illness’

He collaborated with Hodge on ‘Home Feeling: Struggle for a Community’, a feature film released in 1983 that examined the tenuous relationship between the police and residents in the Jane-Finch community, and directed ‘Jane Finch Again!’ four years later.

McTair also wrote a diversity column for the Toronto Star for nearly three years before teaming up with Prieto in 1991 to produce ‘Jennifer Hodge: The Glory and the Pain’ that paid tribute to the life and ground-breaking work of Hodge whose pioneering projects in the 1980s established the dominant mode in African-Canadian film culture.

Just as he was completing ‘Journey to Justice’ which was the story of six Canadians who took the racism they faced to court, he accepted a job offer from Seneca College where he spent 18 years as a lecturer.

McTair, who suffered a stroke and eye problems after retirement, will release a book of short stories, ‘My Trouble With Books’, shortly.

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