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Abbotsford Film Society screens Shaft for Black History Month

Iconic 1971 film was crossover success with both Black and white audiences
Richard Roundtree stars in Shaft, which will be screened by the Abbotsford Film Society on March 1. (MGM photo)

The Abbotsford Film Society (AFS) screens the movie Shaft on Friday, March 1 to celebrate Black History Month.

The film will be shown at The Banquet Room at Emmanuel Mennonite Church, 3471 Clearbrook Rd. Doors open at 7:30 p.m., and the screening begins at 8 p.m.

The screening takes place just after Black History Month ends (due to booking challenges at The Banquet Room) but AFS president Aaron Dawson felt it was important to commemorate Black History with the screening of this iconic film.

“Shaft was ground-breaking. It was one of the first films that spoke directly to Black audiences and gave them a big-screen hero to look up to in a way that even other Blaxploitation movies didn’t,” Dawson said.

Shaft was adapted from a novel by Ernest Tidyman of the same name.

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In the novel, the protagonist was a white man, but director Gordon Parks chose to cast Richard Roundtree in the lead. This decision is credited with impacting the success of Shaft as well as the future of Blaxploitation films.

The 1971 film emphasizes Black Power while exploring themes of masculinity and sexuality.

Shaft was notable for its crossover success with both Black and white audiences. Its soundtrack, recorded by Isaac Hayes, won two Grammys as well as an Academy Award for Best Original Song, making Hayes the first Black man to win an award for that category.

In 2000, the film was selected for preservation in the U.S. National Film Registry for being culturally, historically and esthetically significant. Dawson hopes that screening Shaft will help the audience create an appreciation and awareness for how much of an impact this had.

“It’s important to have representation that goes beyond stereotypes,” Dawson says. “This was the movie that proved to Hollywood that they could make movies for more than just white people – something they need to keep being reminded of.”

Tickets for the screening are $7 at the door or online at

Guests are encouraged to use the Clearbrook Road entrance to the parking lot and enter on the north side of the building.

Abbotsford News Staff

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