Remembering filmmaker Charles Officer, who ‘cut through the ideology’ with incisive storytelling

Black Jewish documentary filmmaker Charles Officer passed away at age 48 in Dec. 2023 due to an illness. (Photo courtesy of Hot Docs)

On December 1, 2023, Charles Officer passed away at age 48. The award-winning filmmaker was revered in the national arts community, having directed documentaries such as Invisible Essence, about the cultural impact of The Little Prince, and The Skin We’re In, a film adaptation of author Desmond Cole’s popular essay on racism in Canada. His movies were purposeful and personal, tackling topical issues with incisive commentary and deep research.

The 2024 Hot Docs film festival in Toronto will be commemorating Officer’s life with a tribute screening of his 2010 film Might Jerome on May 4, including a Q&A panel with some of his industry colleagues. Two friends and collaborators join Culturally Jewish to describe Officer’s unique life as a Black Jewish arts worker in Canada: Jake Yanowski, who cofounded the production company Canesugar Filmworks with Officer, and Michael Levine, one of Canada’s foremost literary agents.


Culturally Jewish is hosted by Ilana Zackon and David Sklar. Our producer is Michael Fraiman, and our theme music is by Sarah Segal-Lazar. We’re a member of The CJN Podcast Network. To support The CJN and receive a charitable tax receipt, please consider a monthly donation by clicking here.