Director / Film Maker Toronto, ON. Born: London England.
Frances-Anne Solomon is an award-winning filmmaker, writer, and producer in film, television, radio, theatre, and new media. Born in London, England to Trinidadian parents and raised in the Caribbean and Canada, Frances-Anne began her television career at Banyan Productions in Trinidad. Eventually returning to Great Britain, she built a successful career at the BBC as a TV Drama Producer and Executive Producer, responsible for several strands of films and TV movies including the Black Screen Strand and Screen on the Tobe (with the BFI). These included productions such as Speak Like A Child (John Akomfrah), Love is the Devil (John Maybury), The Sixth Happiness (Waris Hossein) and Siren Spirits (Ngozi Onwurah, Pratibha Parmar, and Dani Williamson). Frances-Anne also worked as a radio drama producer/director at the BBC producing over 35 radio plays and as a documentary researcher/director for The Bandung File (Channel 4) and Ebony (BBC2). Frances-Anne trained as a film director in the UK at Bristol University’s RFT Programme and the prestigious BBC Drama Directors Course.
Growing up, Frances-Anne credits her mother for encouraging her to be who she wanted to be, and formative experiences during the course of her career include her first training in the arts with Stephen Martineau in theatre at the University of Toronto, past and present support from Jay Mac Pherson, and finally her work with the BBC. While at the BBC, Frances-Anne developed a public service model of high-quality film and television that is creative and entertaining and at the same time educational and informative.
Since returning to Toronto in 2000, Frances-Anne has continued creating, writing, directing and producing her own projects. She was the co-creator, producer and director of Lord Have Mercy! Canada’s multicultural hit sitcom, which aired on Vision TV, Toronto/One, Showcase and APTN in 2003 and was nominated for Best Comedy Series and Best Individual Performer (Leonie Forbes) at the Gemini awards. Her most recent project, A Winter’s Tale, received many prestigious international awards including Special Mention in the Paul Robeson Diaspora Category at FESPACO 2009, Africa’s Oscars held biannually in Burkina Faso, West Africa.
In addition to directing, Frances-Anne is the Artistic Director and President of the two companies she founded: Leda Serene Films, her film and television production company, and CaribbeanTales, a prolific not-for-profit that specializes in educational multimedia products. Frances-Anne is also the Founder and curator of CaribbeanTales Annual Film Festival, begun in 2006; Canada’s only forum showcasing the best of Caribbean cinema from around the world. In 2009, Frances-Anne also started the CarribbeanTales Youth Film Festival Celebrating Black History Month, a unique screening series that showcases Africentric films for high school and university students.
Frances-Anne has been a Visiting Lecturer in Film at the Errol Barrow Centre for Creative Imagination at the University of West Indies at Cave Hill, Barbados, the Film Department at UWI St. Augustine, Trinidad, New York University and Duke University. Frances-Anne is currently developing her critically acclaimed theatre play, Lockdown, launched at the Toronto Fringe Festival in 2009 into a full-length feature film.
Education: BA, Theatre Arts and English Literature, University of Toronto; Production Training Program, British Broadcasting Corporation; Postgraduate Degree, Radio Film and TV, University of Bristol UK; Film and Television Directors Course, British Broadcasting Corporation, Elstree UK.
Works: I Is A Long Memoried Woman (Arts Council of England, 1991); Reunion (BBC, 1993); Bideshi (British Film Institute, 1994); What My Mother Told Me (Channel 4, 1995); Peggy Su! (BBC Films, 1997); and Literature Alive (Bravo!/OMNI, 2006).
FAVOURITE BOOK “My favorite film is the Piano by Jane Campion.
En epic complex woman’s story of hardship and struggle that is also romantic and tragic at the same time. An immigrant story, set in the New world.”
FAVOURITE QUOTE “Write with your eyes like painters, your ears like musicians, your feet like dancers. You are the truthsayer with quill and torch. Write with your tongues of fire. Don’t let the pen banish you from yourself. Don’t let the ink coagulate in your pens. Don’t let the censor snuff out the spark, or their gags muffle your voice. Put your shit on the paper.” (Gloria Anzaldua)
GIVEN THE CHANCE, WHAT WOULD YOU LOVE TO DO THAT YOU HAVE NOT DONE YET? I am doing it!
WHO INSPIRES YOU? The truth inspires me. Heroism, creativity and generosity – all the ways that people find to arrive finally at the truth.
WHY DO YOU DO WHAT YOU DO? I am driven to tell our stories, as diverse and complex as they are. Stories to make us
laugh and cry. Honest truthful stories that reveal the joy and grief at the center of our
experiences as human beings.