— Black Cop (@blackcopmovie) November 10, 2016
A Halifax-made, award-winning film has been picked up for distribution in the United States and Latin America.
Black Cop, written and directed by Cory Bowles, will be released on-demand on May 1 through Samuel Goldwyn Films.
“We’re happy that it’s going to a wider audience,” said Bowles. “That’s something that’s really difficult, to have a major backing for that to happen.”
Black Cop is Bowles’ first feature film. It was filmed in Halifax in 2016 and went on to win ‘Best Canadian Feature Film” at the 2017 Vancouver International Film Festival. It focuses on the day-to-day of a black police officer, who’s already dealing with a struggle between duty and moral obligation before being profiled by his colleagues while he’s off-duty.
The film is a satire of race relations, law enforcement and the public perception of both, said Bowles. It’s sparked conversations about these topics following festival showings, which he hopes will continue after the on-demand release.
“There’s always an audience of people who relate who are (at festival showings) to talk as well, and then they end up having a platform and a voice, so it becomes a good discussion,” said Bowles. “It’s about the movie, for a minute, and then it becomes a big discussion, and it’s usually a really positive discussion.”
The film is making its way around the festival circuit, which included an appearance at FIN: Atlantic International Film Festival in September.
The on-demand release isn’t the first time the film will be seen in the U.S. Bowles brought it to festivals in New York, Chicago and Kansas, which he said was an interesting experience.
“In a state like Kansas, that was amazing talking to people. We’re talking about a red state, so I think I spoke to a lot of people who already have their perceptions,” he said. “They were thankful to see it in a different way, but to see it in a different way without feeling attacked.”
It became common for these post-film conversations to go past the scheduled time.
“That’s the best possible outcome for me, having the input come back,” said Bowles. “For me, that’s what a good movie does. It makes me think about things, consider things.”
Originally Black Cop was a short film Bowles had created, when looking for a project between seasons of Trailer Park Boys.
“I knew it was going to be a feature; I didn’t know what the feature was going to be. I just did a short that was basically the bare point of the film, the absolute satire of the moment,” said Bowles. “After the short, I knew where I needed to look for that character.”