Greater London Metropolitan Police’s 1st black officer to come out as gay, GAMAL ‘G’ TURAWA, for the inauguration of OPTIMISTA → Courage Night at QUAI 5160 – The Initiative


The non-profit Montreal collective Yellow Pad Sessions (YPS) is very pleased to present Courage, the first installment of its latest cultural event: OPTIMISTA, an ambitious multidisciplinary artistic project aiming to inspire and encourage people in times of hardship. uncertainty through a celebration of the human spirit. Courage is a thought-provoking artistic commentary on the difficulties of modern life, and how courage inspires us and transports us to a better world.

The evening, which will take place on Saturday, October 15 at 7 p.m. at QUAI 5160 – Maison de la culture de Verdun, will include the screening of two thought-provoking films (the multi-award-winning documentaries The Black Cop and Writing with Fire), a speech inspirational presentation by speaker Gamal “G” Turawa, a moving photo exhibition by Agustina Pedrocca and a vibrant dance performance by Diana León. The event will be followed by a cocktail party featuring live DJs (Webbed Feet radio crew and special guest DJ Rafalinio) and signature OPTIMISTA alcoholic and non-alcoholic cocktails served.

“OPTIMISTA is a response to the difficulties and isolation caused by the pandemic. Exploring Courage is therefore the perfect way to kick off the series. Art, as a powerful tool for commentary and social change, is a mirror of ourselves. Through our moving films, inspiring speakers, exhibits and performances, OPTIMISTA aims to spark courage, hope and joy in a place where we can come together once again. – Grace Sebeh Byrne (Co-Founder/CEO, Yellow Pad Sessions)

The evening’s speaker, Gamal “G” Turawa, protagonist of the short film The Black Cop (BAFTA award winner), will come from London, UK, to talk about courage and what it takes to change our views on resilience, race, equity and harmony in the world.

The documentary traces the story of ‘G’ – as he likes to call himself – who, when a member of the British police force, admitted to racially profiling and harassing black people at the start of his 26-year career. The first black Metropolitan Police officer in Greater London to openly declare his homosexuality, ‘G’ recalls growing up in a small Kentish village with a white foster family before becoming a member of the Metropolitan Police in his early twenties, where he used his position as an escape from his reality as a gay black man.

“It was with great humility that I learned that my short film, The Black Cop, had been chosen for screening at OPTIMISTA and that I had been invited to express myself in person. This shows the universality of its message, that we are all, in some way, exploring our place in an ever-changing world and that some of these changes challenge our sense of belonging or our identity.

I feel privileged to have received overall feedback in that the film gives people permission to have these courageous conversations, both with themselves and with others. Thus, some discover deeper levels of compassion that they did not suspect. I hope everyone who attends OPTIMISTA and watches the film will also be touched enough to have such conversations. Being the catalyst for such interactions makes me proud, not only of the film, but also of the fact that I have found meaning and purpose in the experiences that life has given me. – Gamal “G” Turawa

The Black Cop and keynote address will be followed by the screening of the Oscar-nominated documentary, Writing with Fire. From an overcrowded male-dominated media landscape emerges India’s only newspaper run by female Dalits (women who are part of India’s lowest caste). Armed with smartphones, Chief Reporter Meera and her team of reporters break with tradition, whether on India’s big issues or in the privacy of their homes, redefining what it means to be powerful. The directorial, writing and production team of Rintu Thomas and Sushmit Ghosh’s first feature-length documentary, Writing with Fire, won two awards at the 2021 Sundance Film Festival: the Audience Award in the Documentary – World Cinema category and the Special Jury Prize in the Documentary – World Cinema category “Impact for Change”, in addition to collecting a nomination for the 2022 Oscars for best documentary film, among many other awards and nominations.

The visual art element of the evening will be the Happy and Beautiful out of Spite intimate giant photography series, by Agustina Pedrocca. Inspired by the work of Nan Goldin, Agustina Pedrocca presents a moving series of portraits that document the loves, pleasures, trials and sorrows of Montreal’s queer community.

Courage’s performance, entitled On this path, you are sure to lose yourself, will be presented by contemporary dancer and choreographer Diana León. This work is a powerful expression of self-love that breaks with the game of convenience and our integrity as human beings.

FALL 2022 – SPRING 2023


The OPTIMISTA program is simply dynamic, stimulating and optimistic, and will be presented as a series of cultural events never before seen in Montreal – a new player in the city’s rich and diverse artistic and cultural ecosystem – through a series of multidisciplinary cultural events designed to explore the essential social themes of courage, compassion, love and community.

DATE: October 15, 2022
SPEAKER: From London, England, Gamal “G” Turawa (protagonist of the BAFTA-winning film The Black Cop) is the first British municipal police officer to openly declare his homosexuality. His personal and professional trials are a true model of courage!
SCREENINGS: The Black Cop, and the Oscar-nominated documentary, Writing with Fire – a touching story of the courage of emerging young Dalit (so-called untouchable) journalists stuck in the cluttered landscape of the male-dominated news world.
PERFORMANCE: Diana León, in a solo stage performance born of personal urgency and a manifestation of self-love, titled On This Path, You’re Sure to Lose Yourself.
EXHIBITION: A series of moving portraits entitled Happy and Beautiful out of Spite, by photographer Agustina Pedrocca, which documents the loves, pleasures, hardships and sorrows of Montreal’s queer community.
COCKTAIL EVENING: Live DJs (Webbed Feet radio crew and special guest DJ Rafalinio) and signature OPTIMISTA alcoholic and non-alcoholic cocktails will be served.


DATE: November 19, 2022
SPEAKER: From California, exiled Afghan LGBTQ+ rights advocate Nemat Sadat, author of the acclaimed novel The Carpet Weaver. He will explain why compassion is the key to equity for all gender identities and for human rights.
SCREENINGS: The Oscar-winning Queen of Basketball and the award-winning and acclaimed animated documentary, Flee. A special message from director Jonas Poher Rasmussen for OPTIMISTA audiences will be shown on the big screen.
PERFORMANCE: Melissa Julliet will present her dance piece entitled Mi, Ma; a bold play, full of humor and optimism.
EXHIBITION: Reihan Ebrahimi presents Loop in Loop, an installation of sculptures that refers to his Persian ancestry and his meditative practice.
COCKTAIL EVENING: Live DJs (Webbed Feet Radio Crew) and signature OPTIMISTA alcoholic and non-alcoholic cocktails will be served.

DATE: February 11, 2023
SPEAKER: Josephine Bacon, poet, author and Innu activist, recipient of the Ordre national du Québec.
SCREENING: My Name is Human on Josephine Bacon, directed by Kim O’Bomsawin.
PERFORMANCES: Laur Fugère, singer for Cirque du Soleil, Les Miserables, Cats, Jesus Christ Superstar, and many others. Joséphine Bacon will also recite her poems on the love of her culture, her language and the new generation of young Innu.
EXHIBITION: Painter Hannaleah Ledwell will present oil paintings that explore different languages ​​of love and their visceral experiences.
COCKTAIL EVENING: Live DJs (Webbed Feet Radio Crew) and signature OPTIMISTA alcoholic and non-alcoholic cocktails will be served.

DATE: March 4, 2023
SPEAKER: Duke Eatmon, Canada’s first musicologist and CBC host.
SCREENINGS: Swimming Club, a charming short film about how transgender swimmers create their own club in response to being ousted, and the “breathtaking” musical documentary, The Summer of Soul. This documentary highlights the importance of history for our spiritual well-being and testifies to the healing power of music in times of turmoil, past and present.
PERFORMANCE: Aliah Guerra whose voice has been compared to those of Erykah Badu and Sade in the registers of Neo Soul, R&B and Jazz. His hit track Out 2 Cali premiered on CBC Radio nationwide and made Spotify’s editorial playlist.
EXHIBITION: Quang Hai Nguyen, with revealing and personal photographs on breaking down intergenerational cultural and community barriers.
COCKTAIL EVENING: Live DJs (Webbed Feet Radio Crew) and signature OPTIMISTA alcoholic and non-alcoholic cocktails will be served.


Cineconferences for a better tomorrow

15 OCT 2022 – Courage
NOV 19, 2022 – Compassion
FEB 11, 2023 – Love
MAR 4, 2023 – Community

Doors open at 7 p.m. / Events start at 8 p.m.

WHARF 5160 – Verdun House of Culture
5160 LaSalle Boulevard, Montreal (Quebec) H4H 1N8

Saturday, October 15 at 7 p.m.
WHARF 5160 – Verdun House of Culture

We would like to thank the writer of this write-up for this awesome web content

Greater London Metropolitan Police’s 1st black officer to come out as gay, GAMAL ‘G’ TURAWA, for the inauguration of OPTIMISTA → Courage Night at QUAI 5160 – The Initiative