November 18, 2021 – Montreal – National Film Board of Canada (NFB)

After a successful online launch in Canada last year, Gentille M. Assih’s feature-length documentary Into the Light will be streaming on free of charge worldwide for a limited time, starting November 25, the International Day for the Elimination of Violence against Women. Assih was recently named one of Canada’s Top 25 Immigrants of 2021 by Canadian Immigrant magazine, and her film gives voice to inspiring Canadian women of African origin who regained control over their lives after suffering from domestic violence. Into the Light is a deeply moving documentary and a luminous dive into the quest for personal healing—a testament to resilience in the face of adversity.

An international offer, an important social issue

The film’s worldwide availability is part of the 16 Days of Activism against Gender-Based Violence and will end on Human Rights Day, December 10. After that date, the film will continue to be available free of charge in Canada.


“…Into the Light is also a luminous, hopeful film about not only violence but also how to overcome it.” ‒ Silvia Galipeau, La Presse+

Quick facts

Into the Light by Gentille M. Assih (79 min 46 s)
Produced at the NFB by Nathalie Cloutier
Press kit:

  • Into the Light features the liberating life stories and powerful words of inspiring Quebec women of African origin who’ve regained control over their lives after suffering from domestic violence.
  • The film transcends prejudice and breaks the silence, pulling back the curtain on a poorly understood, hidden world, while testifying to the tremendous power that comes from overcoming isolation and accepting one’s self.
  • The film follows Christiane, a high school French teacher, and her friend Aïssata, who works in finance. They had no clue that the process of immigrating to Canada and integrating into a new culture would contribute to the breakup of their families, which fractured as a result of domestic violence. Along the way, we also meet Chouchou and her husband, a younger couple who’ve recently arrived in Canada, with whom they want to share their experience.
  • Without shying away from the subject of immigration, Into the Light paints a unique portrait of strong, proud women who eloquently expose the mechanisms of domestic violence, which transcend cultural boundaries.
  • Gentille M. Assih’s close relationship and bond of trust with the film’s protagonists allowed her to create an authentic picture of these women’s liberating life stories. By transcending differences and giving us the opportunity to see these women move on with their lives, the filmmaker builds a bridge between cultures and speaks the language of universal humanity.

About the filmmaker

  • Writer-director Gentille M. Assih made her first documentary, Itchombi, in 2009, and that same year, she produced and directed the short drama Bidenam, l’espoir d’un village (Jury Prize at the Vues d’Afrique International Film Festival in Montreal).
  • In 2010, she made the documentary Akpéma, which laid the groundwork for Le rite, la folle et moi (The Rite, the Madwoman and Me). Released in 2012, this documentary feature won numerous awards, including the audience choice award for best documentary at the Festival Cinémas d’Afrique d’Angers in France.
  • She earned her master’s in Film from UQAM in 2013.
  • Into the Light is her first NFB film.
  • Assih turns an intimate lens on her subjects and fearlessly shines a light on taboo topics. While her camera remains unflinchingly focused on social issues and injustices, her sensitive writing conveys a distinctly positive vision of humanity.

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