Black history, Black stories, and Black joy

Black History Month may be coming to an end, but it’s never the wrong time for Black history, Black stories, or Black joy.

This list was graciously compiled by Black Women United Yeg. They asked for suggestions from their community and chose films that do not employ stereotypical characters and tropes, or focus on Black misery and subjugation.

Consider adding the films below to your watch list to experience year round.

1) Daughters of the Dust (1991)

The first feature film by an African-American woman (Julie Dash) distributed nationally in the States. Looks at the Gullah culture in South Carolina and the struggle to preserve African cultural practices that withstood the assaults of enslavement into the modern era.

2) Free Angela and All Political Prisoners (2012)

College professor Angela Davis’ social activism implicates her in a botched kidnapping that ends with four people dead and her name on the FBI’s most-wanted list.

3) Black Mother, Black Daughter (1989)

Filmmakers Sylvia Hanilton and Claire Prieto explore the lives and experiences of African Canadian women in Nova Scotia, their contributions to home, church and community, and the strength they pass on to their daughters.

4) Chisholm ’72: Unbought & Unbossed (2004)

Pioneering politician Shirley Chisholm is the subject of this lauded documentary. The nation’s first African-American congresswoman, the passionate Chisholm launches a campaign for the United States presidency in the 1972 election, and wins an impressive amount of support, given the era and the still-prevailing prejudices of many voters. The film takes a close look at her presidential run, providing interviews with Chisholm and the dedicated individuals who worked on her groundbreaking campaign.

5) Pariah (2011)

In a desperate search for sexual expression, a Brooklyn-based teenager assumes paradoxical identities and stands to lose her family and friends while setting herself up for heartbreak.

6) Moonlight (2016)

Chiron, a young African-American boy, finds guidance in Juan, a drug dealer, who teaches him to carve his own path. As he grows up in Miami, Juan’s advice leaves a lasting impression on him.

7) Malcolm X (1992)

A tribute to the controversial black activist and leader of the struggle for black liberation. He hit bottom during his imprisonment in the ’50s, he became a Black Muslim and then a leader in the Nation of Islam. His assassination in 1965 left a legacy of self-determination and racial pride.

8) 24 Days in Brooks (2007)

Over the course of a decade Brooks, Alberta, transformed from a socially conservative, primarily white town to one of the most diverse places in Canada as immigrants and refugees flocked to find jobs at the Lakeside Packers slaughterhouse. This film is a portrait of those people working together and adapting to change through the first-ever strike at Lakeside.

Metro Cinema Fundraising Survey

Metro Cinema is a community-based not-for-profit organization, meaning we rely on donations from patrons like you to continue providing diverse and unique programming. Whether or not you have donated to Metro Cinema Society before, we encourage you to fill out this survey and help provide feedback for our fundraising campaigns and initiatives.

Fill out the survey here.

Family Day Colouring Contest

Happy Family Day! It’s a perfect day to kick off our first ever, all-ages colouring contest!

Take your pick of these beautiful colouring pages created by Metro’s team of fabulous volunteer designers, and dig out your crayons, markers, digital art, or your favourite art supplies.

Download colouring pages here

A jury of Metro’s staff and board will choose a winner in the following categories based on our favourite entries. Winners will receive a Metro prize pack and will be announced on Feb 26.

Category 1: Age 0-8
Category 2: Age 8-12
Category 3: Age 13+ (Adults welcome and encouraged!)

To enter, submit your full name, age, and a scan or photo of your completed work to by February 21. By entering, you agree to allow your entry to be used online and on social media.

No printer? No scanner? Pop by the Garneau Theatre. Paper copies are available for curbside pickup at the front door, and completed entries may be dropped off in the mailbox located next to the red side door on 87 Avenue.

Winners must pick up their prize at the Garneau Theatre.

A True Pioneer: The Films of Oscar Micheaux

By Maggie Hardy

Oscar Micheaux was a leader, his art blazed trails and his self-sufficiency and DIY nature has paved the way for countless independent creators. Like many pioneers, however, his true impact wasn’t realized until decades after his passing. He was born on  January 2, 1884 in Metropolis, Illinois to a former slave. Micheaux was a jack of all trades, his work spanned from writer to steelworker to Pullman porter. After seeing most of America via the rails and building up some decent savings he became a homesteader in South Dakota and began to write articles and books about his experience farming. Some of his early articles were published in the Chicago Defender (which at that time was the most circulated Black-owned newspaper in the country) and in 1918 his semi-autobiographical novel The Homesteader caught the eye of George Johnson.

Actor Noble Johnson (King Kong) and George Johnson founded the Lincoln Motion Picture Company in 1916, it was the first Black owned film production company and focused exclusively on race films. While Lincoln only lasted five years and made a scant five pictures, it was George Johnson’s interest in Micheaux that pushed him into film. Lincoln never managed to produce The Homesteader, so Micheaux decided to start his own company, the Micheaux Film Corporation, and make the film himself.

Micheaux quickly became a director, writer, and producer of renown. His projects were numerous, in 1922 alone he made four films and between 1920 and 1934 he made an average of 2.3 films a year! He worked in multiple genres and even did a few horror films, though no examples of this work exist today.

If anything Micheaux was a passionate and somewhat blunt filmmaker. Almost all of his pictures dealt with the bigger picture issues of Blackness in America and he focused on particular themes like “passing”, interracial relationships, and the social standing of mixed peoples.

Lost Films, Lost Histories

One of the most tragic aspects of early cinema is the staggering number of films which have been totally lost. While some lost films can be traced to specific events like the 1937 Fox vault fire where more than 40,000 reels went up in flames, the loss of race films in part due to their perceived lack of value and niche distribution is tantamount to the suppression of marginalized voices.  Of Micheax’s forty-two directorial credits a scant ten of them appear to be available in any sort of form today and of those only six are readily watchable (you can however read almost all of his novels). This tragedy is further compounded because the ‘20s and ‘30s had some of the highest representation that Black filmmakers would see for decades in the USA. There’s almost a 50 year gap between some of the first feature films directed by Black women and Kathleen Collins’ Losing Ground in 1982. From Losing Ground it would be another 10 years before Julie Dash’s Daughters of the Dust would be the first commercially distributed narrative feature created by a Black woman. Black history is the history of American film and the seeds that were sown by Black pioneers like Micheaux a hundred years ago are still growing proud and strong today.


Body and Soul
A stunning debut from civil rights activist and singer Paul Robeson. Body and Soul tells the story of a prisoner who disguises himself as a Reverend in a small town. High melodrama ensues, featuring enough lies, loves, and evil identical twins to make most modern soaps blush. Selected by the Library of Congress for inclusion in the National Film Registry in 2019.

Watch the film here.


In this Harlem Renaissance talkie a love triangle gone wrong sees Eloise Jackson (Hazel Diaz) leave Alabama for the excitement of Harlem. A great showbiz drama. Starring famed vaudeville singer Cora Green and features a cavalcade of talent, from song and dance to some fabulous trumpet courtesy of Dolly Jones (the first female trumpet player to record a jazz album).

Watch the film here.

Long Weekend Popcorn Pop-up

Pre-orders are now open for our long weekend popcorn pop-up, celebrating both Valentine’s Day and Family Day!

Visit to pre-order popcorn, candy, Blindman Brewing beers, merch, and more for pickup at the Garneau Theatre on your choice of Sunday, Feb. 14, or Monday, Feb. 15 from 12-6pm.

Choose your preferred pickup day as you add popcorn to your cart, so our staff know which morning to pop it fresh for you and your loved ones to enjoy. Please maintain a safe distance from other customers while waiting your turn. Only one person will be permitted to pick up their order at a time.

Pre-orders close on February 13 at 10pm.
Beer orders must be picked up by an adult with valid ID. 

On the World of Wong Kar-wai

Written by Erin E. Fraser

I have never been to Hong Kong, and yet I have a sense for Hong Kong. A sense for its streets, a sense for its mood, a sense for its people. I have never been to Hong Kong, but I have seen the films of Wong Kar-wai.

Known for his vibrant, atmospheric romances and crime dramas, Wong’s films are best described as concentrated feelings rather than traditional, plot-driven cinema. His dazzling visuals—courtesy of a long-standing collaboration with idiosyncratic Australian cinematographer Christopher Doyle—and often non-linear narratives evoke a certain yearning and desire. He finds romance in the mundane, like when he’s able to make a dishcloth and a bar of soap into a metaphor for longing and unrequited love in Chungking Express. His superb use of popular music wrings new meaning out of Western pop songs, contrasting and recontextualizing them against the neon backdrop of Hong Kong’s crowded-yet-lonely streets.

Wong won the Best Director prize at the Cannes Film Festival in 1997 for Happy Together. In 2016 when the BBC polled 177 film critics from around the world to find out what they thought the 100 greatest films of the 21st Century were so far, Wong’s masterpiece In the Mood For Love came in second only to David Lynch’s Mulholland Drive and just ahead of Paul Thomas Anderson’s There Will Be Blood.

These six feature films and one short in Criterion’s World of Wong Kar-wai highlight some of Wong’s best work, including indelible performances from frequent collaborators Tony Leung, Maggie Cheung, and Andy Lau. Wong is constantly tinkering with his films, changing things here and there for different releases. It’s as if he is never completely satisfied with the “finished” versions and wants to keep returning to their worlds over and over. This collection of new restorations is no exception and he has said that the changes he has made here are to align with how he had originally envisioned the films. Unsurprisingly, there has been some debate over this choice. While some might see it as a betrayal of the original theatrical releases, I find it only adds to this sensation that his films are living, evolving things rather than static works of art. They exist in a liminal state, shifting and changing and mirroring the melancholy narratives they convey.

Wong Kar-wai makes films about the importance of human connection in a lonely world, something that feels especially relevant at the moment as we find ourselves physically separated from one another.

And I promise, you will never look at a dishcloth and a bar of soap the same way.

Watch all seven films here, through our virtual cinema.

Metro Cinema Popcorn Pop-Up

Happy International Popcorn Day!

Orders are now open for our latest popcorn pop-up! Visit  between January 19-22 to pre-order popcorn, candy, Blindman Brewing beers, merch and more for pickup on Saturday, Jan 23, from 12-6. (Beer orders must be picked up by an adult with valid ID).

Our staff will pop you fresh popcorn on Saturday morning and have orders ready for safe pick-up at the main doors of the Garneau Theatre beginning at noon. Please maintain a safe distance from other customers while waiting for your turn. Only one person will be permitted to pick up their order at a time.

Pre-orders close on January 22 at 10pm.

Metro Cinema 2020 Poster Auction

Did you know that Metro Cinema’s 11×17 movie posters are created by a team of talented volunteer graphic designers? That’s right! For years, talented artists have created unique new movie posters to hang in our theatre and around town. Now, you have a chance to bring these original works of art to your own home. Some of these kind artists have made a selection of great movie posters from our past screenings available for auction, as a fundraiser for Metro Cinema.

Follow this link to bid on fan favourite movie posters that were designed by members of our outstanding volunteer team. Winners will receive a beautiful high quality 11×17 print and the proceeds will help our organization weather this challenging time.

But wait, there’s more!

The Grand Prize is a custom movie poster! The winner has the opportunity to choose an artist from our list of participating designers to receive a customized, full-size theatrical movie poster for the film of your choice! The Grand Prize includes an authentic cinema poster display case to hang your masterpiece. View all the participating artist’s portfolios below and follow this link to bid on the grand prize!


How will the Grand Prize winner select an artist?
• A Metro representative will contact the winner and put them in touch with their choice of artist from our list of participating volunteers. Be sure to check out the participating artist’s portfolios!

How will the artist know what poster to make?
• The winner will get to choose the film and provide some additional details about the film choice. After that, the artist will get to work creating the custom poster masterpiece.

Can I request changes to the finished poster?
• No. Just like when they make a poster for Metro Cinema, the artist will have full creative freedom. You should discuss all ideas during the initial consultation.

How long will it take for the grand prize winner to get their poster?
• Metro Cinema will work with the artist to determine a timeline for the completion of the artwork. Every artist’s process is different and something that cannot be rushed, therefore completion time may vary.

But what will I do with such a giant movie poster?
• Metro Cinema will print the full-size theatrical poster (24 x36 inches) and provide an authentic cinema poster display case for you to hang your poster in.

How can I pay for my item if I have the winning bid?
• A Metro representative will be in touch to arrange for payment with options that include, Credit, Debit, Cash, or Cheque.

What if I can’t pick up the prize if I win?
• Shipping may be arranged as an additional cost, separate from the value of the winning bid.

Fundraising Campaign

Hello Metro Cinema supporters,

Metro Cinema is back open and we are excited to be screening films again! The bustle of filmgoers and the smell of fresh popcorn is a delight to the senses. Though our capacity is reduced, we are programming a familiar mix of indie new releases and nostalgic favourites, with the same commitment to providing a platform for local filmmakers and artists, but with enhanced safety procedures.

Metro has always relied on support from our community and given the new constraints we are facing, that support is more vital than ever. We are now experiencing the added challenges of more than 80% reduced capacity, costly safety measures, and a quickly evolving film exhibition landscape.

A donation to Metro Cinema Society will have the following direct impacts to your community:

  • Ensure that Edmontonians can continue to enjoy the historic Garneau Theatre as it was intended.
  • Allow us to continue bringing new, exciting, and different films to the screen.
  • Provide local filmmakers, artists, and musicians with a safe space to present their art.

Enjoying a movie at the Garneau Theatre is great entertainment and an escape from the daily grind, but the art form of film also has the ability to soothe, heal, and comfort us in darker times. It can empower and elevate the voices of the underrepresented, and shine a light on unfamiliar worlds. This is what film means to us at Metro and why we are so passionate about what we do. Whether you are looking to get your mind off of something or turn your mind on to something new, Metro Cinema welcomes you back to the Garneau to laugh, cry, and grow with us. Your financial support is absolutely vital to us fulfilling this purpose through these trying times.


Please considerer giving at one of the following tiers, or any amount within your means in support of community cinema.

$100 – Altruistic Donor – With a minimum donation of $100 you will receive full society membership, a tax receipt, and the knowledge that you have helped an Edmonton-based organization continue to bring great film, conversation, and experiences to our community.

$500-$999 – Seat-saver Donor – We have 521 seats at Metro Cinema. You can keep one of our seats audience-ready with your $500 membership. Saving a seat for others to enjoy the Metro Cinema experience has its own feel-good rewards and, because we know you love it, 10 free small popcorns. You will also receive full society membership and a tax receipt.

$1000-$4999 – Row-saver Donor – Saving a row of seats for our community is generous and kind. The Row-saver donation comes with full society membership, 10 free admissions to regular Metro Cinema programming, and a tax receipt. **

$5000 and up – Dedicated to Metro Premier Donor – This is our premier donor tier and, as such, comes with big benefits. Along with full society membership, we will help you create a curated film night for you and your guests with a special seat dedication. Your name will be engraved on a seat holder plaque for all to see in recognition of your generous contribution and comes with a tax receipt.


**Metro Cinema is a registered charity and is happy to provide tax receipts for donations that meet current Canada Revenue Agency policies regarding memberships. Metro Cinema is a not for profit Society, and we are responsive to the ideas and desires of our membership. These members have an opportunity to help shape the future of Metro by voting in general meetings, electing the volunteer board of directors, and supporting film and the arts in Edmonton.

Metro Cinema Society membership is valid from the date of purchase until the next Annual General Meeting (held each year in November).



Dan Smith,
Executive Director
Metro Cinema


Metro Cinema Reopening

Metro is back!

We’re so excited to announce our return to theatrical screenings and welcome audiences back to the Garneau Theatre, beginning July 10, 2020. We have been hard at work in these past few weeks making sure our space is safe, comfortable, and outfitted with new health and safety measures. We want to thank everyone for the ongoing support throughout this shutdown and for your patience as we have taken the extra time to plan our reopening. Our community has shown us so much kindness in these difficult weeks and we are profoundly grateful. Things are going to look a little different at the Garneau for a while. We still have great programming and delicious popcorn, but you can now also expect:

  • At least two metres of distance between seats, with accommodation for family units and cohorts
  • Cashless and tap payment options at our concession and box office
  • Enhanced sanitation procedures including regular disinfecting of auditorium seating
  • 20% capacity in our spacious 500 seat auditorium
  • PPE for our staff and guests
  • So much hand sanitizer!

Please check out the full details of our new safety measures and practices before stopping by to enjoy a film!


Our Programming Schedule
As part of our gradual reopening plan, we return with a limited, weekend-only screening schedule. This will allow us plenty of time for cleaning between shows and gives us a sustainable way to operate such a large space at a 20% capacity. We are eager to expand our schedule as soon as is reasonable and will do so as soon as we are able. In the meantime, you can check in weekly at to see the great films we have in store each weekend!


Renting the Theatre
Maybe you and your cohort family are interested in a private movie party. Or perhaps your business is looking for a unique opportunity for conference space. If you would like to host a private event here at the Garneau Theatre, check out our updated rental details here or get in touch at

We look forward to experiencing cinema together again!


Opening Weekend Titles:

First Cow
USA 2020, 122 min, Dir: Kelly Reichardt

Two travelers, on the run from a band of vengeful hunters in the 1820s Northwest, dream of striking it rich, but their tenuous plan to make their fortune on the frontier comes to rely on the secret use of a landowner’s prized dairy cow.
Friday July 10 @ 7PM, Sunday July 12 @ 3PM


Moonrise Kingdom
USA 2012, 94 min, Dir: Wes Anderson

A pair of young lovers flee their New England town, which causes a local search party to fan out to find them.
Saturday July 11 @ 7PM