Nick Cannon Says Spike Lee ‘Passed the Torch to Me’ (Video)

Toronto 2016: “King of the Dancehall” director and star talks “new generation” of black filmmakers

Last Updated: September 11, 2016 @ 3:35 PM

One emerging trend that the Toronto International Film Festival reflects this year is the growing number of African American filmmakers.

“It’s a new generation of storytellers that are really exciting and telling many different stories,” said Nick Cannon, director and star of the dramatic musical “King of the Dancehall.”

Debuting at TIFF 2016, the film marks Cannon’s third directorial feature. It’s centered on a young man from Brooklyn who gets caught up in Jamaica’s lively Dancehall music scene.

“We want to control our messaging and can control the narrative we have to step up and actually do it,” Cannon told TheWrap of rising filmmakers during an interview at TIFF.

Other rising black filmmakers showing their films at this year’s festival in Toronto are Nate Parker with “Birth of a Nation” — who co-wrote, directed, produced and starred in the film. There’s also Barry Jenkins who directed “Moonlight.”

Cannon recalled a conversation he had with “Do The Right Thing” director Spike Lee. “He said he was passing the torch onto me and I said, ‘Alright I’m gonna go.'”

What inspires Cannon the most, he said, was new and different voices are emerging from black filmmakers. “That’s what’s wonderful to me. That’s what I’m inspired by — that we’re not telling the same stories,” he told TheWrap.