My Viola

Sixteen year-old Jason Price is an underprivileged viola protegé preparing for the school concert. His mixed white and black racial background has never been much of an issue in his life, but when his mother is held up at gunpoint by an unidentified assailant, police search the neighborhood for the culprit…

Directors Statement

My Viola is inspired loosely by one of the times I was illegally searched by the police as a teenager. Four police officers approached me quickly with their hands on their drawn guns, searched my whole body without explanation and then left quickly in the middle of the afternoon. Someone told me later they heard they were looking for someone with a gun. That person did not look like me. 

As a biracial person with a lighter complexion, I think that I have had far fewer interactions with police than some. This interaction was terrifying, but communities of colour — including in Canada, including the community I grew up in — are policed in a terrifying way every day. I feel lucky that I have only been searched illegally a few times, and only carded maybe a dozen times. Most of those times I did not fear for my life, but sometimes I did. This is a sad thing to feel lucky about. 

Since this film’s release in 2016 at the Austin Film Festival, many black men and women have continued to be killed at the hands of the police in the United States and Canada. Many countless more have been wrongfully searched and wrongfully arrested, including friends, family members and neighbours.
 
While this film is a few years old, unfortunately it does not appear to be any less relevant with the passage of time. Of all my films, this is the one I hope to become the least relevant.