Charles Officer, known as one of the leaders in Black Canadian independent film, has died. He was 49 and succumbed at his home in Toronto Friday from complications from a heart attack.
Officer had been battling what’s been described as a lengthy illness that was not specified. He had a lung transplant in December 2022.
Officer’s best-known film was the 2009 indie Nurse.Fighter.Boy, an urban love story. He also directed four episodes of The Porter, a CBC/BET+ drama about railway workers from both sides of the Canadian-U.S. border.
He was a cofounder of the Black Screen Office in Canada, and launched and ran Canesugar Filmworks with longtime business partner Jake Yanowski.
Officer’s latest film was Akilla’s Escape, a crime noir. His other fims included the documentary Mighty Jerome and Unarmed Verses.
The Toronto Black Film Festival on X, formerly Twitter, saluted his career: “We’re deeply saddened by the loss of Charles Officer. His impactful work in film and storytelling touched many hearts, and we were honored to present many of his films and welcomed him at TBFF back in 2013. May his legacy continue to inspire us all.”
The National Film Board of Canada also noted him: “Today, we mourn the passing of Canadian filmmaker Charles Officer and extend our sympathies to his loved ones.”