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Esery Mondesir

Living in: Toronto, Ontario
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Esery Mondesir is a Haitian-born, Toronto-based artist and filmmaker. He has worked as a high school teacher, a book designer, and a labour organizer before receiving an MFA in cinema production from York University (Toronto) in 2017. His work takes a critical stance on modern-day sociopolitical and cultural phenomena to suggest a reading of our society from its margins. Motivated by his own diasporic experience, Mondesir’s films draw from collective memory, official archives, vernacular records, and the everyday to explore migration and exile as sites of identity formation and cultural resistance. His work has been shown in Canada and internationally. In 2016, he received the Lawrence Heisey Graduate Award in Fine Arts and, in 2017 he received the Paavo and Aino Lukkari Human Rights Award from the Centre for Research on Latin America and the Caribbean at York University.


Where were you born, where did you grow up, Where do you live now?
Born in Port-au-Prince Haiti, live in Toronto

First film you made, and where and when?
The Last Chapter, 2012 (?), a short doc about the closing of the Toronto Women’s Bookstore

Latest film you made, and where and when?
Pariah, mon frère, shot in Tijuana, Mexico  

Describe your current living space.
I am a member of WoodTree Housing Coop

What Canadian would you challenge to make an isolation movie?
Myriam Charles, based in Montreal

Worst thing about being in isolation?
The impact on marginalized communities, especially migrants

Best thing about being in isolation?
Would not say I was in isolation – given the privileges that I have: I am sheltered, with electricity, water, wifi, telephone, a car, etc. but as the busy world around me slowed down, I had time to get into gardening and woodworking

Favourite book to read in isolation?
Black Protest: History, Documents, and Analyses; 1619 to the Present, Joanne Grant Ed.

Favourite music to listen to in isolation?
No rush, slow touch

Favourite movies to watch in isolation?
I watched a lot of CNN

Favourite meal in isolation?
Lots of vegetables

What’s the last best thing you cooked?
Mayi Kole Legim