A still from the short film Wash Day (directed by Kourtney Jackson)
Wash Day is one of the 11 short films screening at the 2021 Future of Film Showcase (FOFS), a Canadian not-for-profit media arts organization presenting short films from Canadian filmmakers aged 40 and younger.
As they get ready for the day, three young Black women discuss the public perception of their Blackness in relation to finding a strong sense of self. Toronto-based writer and filmmaker Kourtney Jackson explores the private acts of washing one’s hair and body as the criterion for her film. Wash Day is an intimate love letter to navigating the politics of one’s outwardly appearance and redefining what it means to be beautiful. This film brings incredible focus to Black women’s perspectives on their appearances, and how harmful public perceptions affect their individualism. Jackson explores how intimate, domestic acts such as washing hair or putting on makeup in their homes become a significant re-acquaintance with the body. With the beautiful use of voiceover to echo strong sentiments, Wash Day highlights the complexities of self-love for Black women and vocalizes their internal thought processes before stepping into the world. The experimental cinematography and editing, also accomplished by Jackson, bring an intimate feeling to the film. In under 10 minutes, three in-depth glimpses into women’s lives make a profound impact.
Wash Day sparks meaningful discussions about the inwardly and outwardly relationships between Black women and their bodies. From putting on wigs as a form of self-expression, to learning how to take care of natural hair, to wearing baggy clothes and being perceived as an adult in childhood years, this film makes a stunning depiction of self-love as a lifelong process. The film is full of so many strong sentiments, including the distinction made between beauty and looking good. The last woman featured in particular speaks on getting into the practice of complimenting friends on their beauty, and recognizing layered meanings of the word “beautiful”. Beauty is also being genuine, honest, and unapologetic, moving towards a definition beyond physical appearance.
As well, Jackson incorporates the complexities Black women face about ownership. The second woman featured speaks on feeling she has no ownership over her body, and takes pride in a feature such as her hair, which people touch without any understanding or regard of her own personal dimension and space. The first woman featured speaks on her natural hair suddenly being a burden after transitioning, and the importance of feeling secure in her beauty element. Wash Day brings expressive conversations to the forefront, and makes a lasting impact on redefining self-love as taking the time to love others. Kourtney Jackson has a resonating voice, and her beautiful film is the highlight of the 2021 Future of Film Showcase.
The 8th annual Future of Film Showcase will be available to stream across Canada for free on CBC Gem from July 9 to 22, 2021. Visit www.FOFS.ca for the full short film lineup, which includes more women-led stories to discover.
Editor's note: Wash Day is one of the 11 short films screening at the 2021 Future of Film Showcase (FOFS).