From ‘nothing’ to Oscar: Celebrated African-American filmmaker in Winnipeg – Manitoba

He’s been called America’s “least-known great filmmaker and most gifted black director” by the New York Times, but as a child, Charles Burnett was told by his junior high school teacher he would never amount to anything.

“I was in this classroom and the teacher came down the aisle pointing out students who weren’t going to be anything in life. And I was one of them, sitting down and he came over, stood over me and said ‘And you’re not going to be anything.’

“I remember walking home from school saying ‘I’m going to say something about this at some point.'”

Burnett was in Winnipeg this weekend, taking part in the Afro Prairie Film Festival at Cinematheque. There, his critically-acclaimed film To Sleep With Anger was screened for participants. Like most of his films, it features a…

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