What Are You? shows how a seemingly simple question comes with a rather complex answer.
In this revealing documentary, What Are You? eleven people with a range of backgrounds discuss what it is like being of mixed racial heritage within the context of North America. Each of the participants presents their unique outlook on growing up mixed and the challenges they've faced in their lives.
No two experiences are identical when speaking about their journey of how each person came to perceive themselves. Many speak of the difference between how they saw themselves versus how the world at large treated them. There are several instances of being "othered" by friends and relatives alike or how seeds of doubt were planted at childhood to disrupt their own sense of self. The interviewees voice unique concerns about acceptance, culture, and society and how even their own self-identification undergoes shifts.
The overall program will be supplemented by several other short films by Richard B. Pierre and the screening will be followed with a Q&A session moderated by Martina Douglas.
For years I've been asked the strange, confrontational question: ”What are you?” The question concerns my racial identity, and it unsettles me because I don't have an exact answer and because I simultaneously don't believe it matters. But it's also a question that the more it is asked, the more it seems to matter. ”What Are You” is a short personal documentary that uses interviews to explore the lives of multiracial people (myself included) as they reveal the struggles and challenges of being of mixed racial heritage in Canada.Richard B. Pierre
”What are you?” is a question I've been asked too many times to count. I think mostly it's a question that is asked out of pure curiosity without an agenda, but it immediately makes me feel as if I am some strange otherworldly oddity. It's something I've struggled with for years, and I hope this film helps other mixed people who are wrestling with that same aggravating question.
About Richard B. Pierre
Richard B. Pierre
Multiracial Black Filmmaker
Richard B. Pierre is an award-winning multiracial Black filmmaker who has written and directed over a dozen short films that have been broadcast in the US, Africa, and Europe and screened in over sixty festivals worldwide. His work tackles a range of genres and subject matter; most recently focussing on race.
His first foray into documentary filmmaking "What Are You?" was nominated for a 2020 Golden Sheaf Award and won Third Place Winner at Los Angeles Cinefest 2020. His latest project “An Uninvited Guest” funded by the Ontario Arts Council, world premiered at the 2020 San Diego Black Film Festival. Richard is currently developing a short-form series, a documentary and several feature film projects.
Equity, Diversity and Inclusion (EDI) Educator, Trainer and Facilitator
Martina Douglas-Muir is an Equity, Diversity and Inclusion (EDI) educator, trainer and facilitator. She currently works for the University of Toronto, Mississauga, as a Program Coordinator for the Equity, Diversity and Inclusion Office.
She has a Master of Professional Education in the field of Equity, Diversity & Social Justice from Western University, and an undergraduate degree from York University in Sociology. Martina is extremely passionate about the field of EDI, specifically concerning the themes of race, gender and culture. It is Martina’s hope that one day all will feel included, welcomed and valued as they are.