January 8, 2018 – Vancouver – National Film Board of Canada (NFB)
Legendary First Nations filmmaker Alanis Obomsawin and BC animator Hart Snider will be in attendance at the 2018 Victoria Film Festival (February 2–11, 2018), along with a selection of eight animated and documentary works from the National Film Board of Canada.
Obomsawin will be at The Vic on February 3 at 9 p.m. for a screening of Our People Will Be Healed, her 50th film in the 50th year of a distinguished filmmaking career, which will be accompanied by her very first film, the 1971 release Christmas at Moose Factory. Snider will be at the festival for the world premiere of his Vancouver-produced short Shop Class in Shorts Program: BC on February 7 at 7 p.m. in the Odeon 5.
NFB documentaries screening in Victoria also include Charles Officer’s award-winning feature Unarmed Verses (February 2 at 6:30 p.m., Capitol 6 | Feb. 11 at 1:30 p.m., The Vic) as well as the BC premiere of Jay Cardinal Villeneuve’s short doc Holy Angels (Shorts Program: Indigenous, February 4 at 9 p.m., The Vic).
Snider’s Shop Class will be joined by three more NFB shorts: Three Thousand by Asinnajaq, in Shorts Program: Ontario, February 3 at 4 p.m., Capitol 6; as well as My Yiddish Papi (Picbois Productions/NFB) by Éléonore Goldberg, and Eva Cvijanović’s Hedgehog’s Home (NFB/Bonobostudio), both in Shorts Program: Quebec, February 4 at 1:30 p.m., Capitol 6.
Vancouver-based NFB associate producer Teri Snelgrove will also be present to take part in the festival’s Spring Board Panel “Meet the Funders” on February 3 starting at 4 p.m. in the Parkside Hotel theatre.
About the films
Our People Will Be Healed
Recently named to the Toronto International Film Festival’s list of the top ten films of 2017, Our People Will Be Healed takes audiences inside the Helen Betty Osborne Ininiw Education Resource Centre, an innovative N-12 school in the remote Cree community of Norway House, 800 kilometres north of Winnipeg, whose educators and programs are helping First Nations children to learn, thrive, and grow up strong and proud. Our People Will Be Healed is the latest in a cycle of films by Obomsawin that explore First Nations rights in Canada. The series began with her 2012 Donald Brittain Award-winning The People of the Kattawapiskak River and continued with Hi-Ho Mistahey! (2013), Trick or Treaty? (2014) and We Can’t Make the Same Mistake Twice (2016). It will also continue with Obomsawin’s 51st film, Jordan’s Principle (working title), now underway.
Christmas at Moose Factory
This animated short by Obomsawin is a charming study of life at Christmas time in Moose Factory, an old settlement on the shore of James Bay that’s mainly composed of Indigenous families. Made up entirely of children’s crayon drawings and narrated by a young girl, the 13-minute film illustrates incidents big and small with childish candor, conveying to the viewer a strong sense of being there.
In this animated short, writer/director Hart Snider takes us back to junior high school in the late ’80s for a dark but funny coming-of-age story set in the era of the Walkman, Pac-Man and Wayne Gretzky. Voiced by Fred Ewanuick (Corner Gas), Shop Class is an honest look at growing up, exploring themes of high-school alienation, old-fashioned gender roles and becoming comfortable in your own skin—through the eyes of a teenager who is no longer a boy but is not quite sure what it means to be a man. The 9-minute short is produced and executive produced by Shirley Vercruysse for the BC and Yukon Studio in Vancouver.
As Victoria struggles to maintain affordable housing for residents, Charles Officer’s Unarmed Verses explores a similar dilemma in Toronto, offering audiences a thoughtful and vivid portrait of a marginalized community facing imposed relocation in that city’s north-east end. At the centre of the film is the remarkably astute and luminous Francine Valentine, whose poignant observations about life, the soul, and the power of art give voice to those rarely heard in society. Selected to TIFF’s Top Ten and named Best Canadian Documentary at the Vancouver International Film Festival, Unarmed Verses is produced by Lea Marin and executive produced by Anita Lee for the NFB’s Ontario Studio.
Jay Cardinal Villeneuve’s Holy Angels powerfully recaptures Canada’s colonialist history through impressionistic images and the fragmented language of a child. In 1963, Lena Wandering Spirit was one of the more than 150,000 Indigenous children who were removed from their families and sent to residential school. Villeneuve met Lena through his work as a videographer with the Truth and Reconciliation Commission, and brings her recollections to vivid life through the performance of five-year-old Phoenix Sawan. The 14-minute Holy Angels is produced by Selwyn Jacob, with Shirley Vercruysse as executive producer for the NFB’s Pacific and Yukon Studio in Vancouver.
In Three Thousand, Inuit artist Asinnajaq, also known as Isabella-Rose Weetaluktuk, plunges us into a sublime imaginary universe: 12 minutes of luminescent, archive-inspired cinema that recast the past, present and future of Inuit in a radiant new light. Embedding historic footage into original animation, she dives into the NFB’s vast archive to parse the complicated cinematic representation of Inuit, conjuring up a vision of hope and beautiful possibility. Three Thousand is produced by Kat Baulu for the Quebec and Atlantic Studio.
My Yiddish Papi
A young woman decides not to answer a phone call from her grandfather, unaware that it will be his last. When he dies, she is overwhelmed with guilt and regret and can’t sleep. But then she remembers a promise made long ago: to illustrate his wartime adventures as a member of the French Resistance. Éléonore Goldberg is a filmmaker, animator and cartoonist whose screenplay for My Yiddish Papi won the SODEC/SARTEC Award and the Special Jury Prize at the “Cours écrire ton court” contest. The seven-minute short is produced by Karine Dubois (Picbois Productions) and Julie Roy (NFB), and executive produced by Roy.
Winner of more than 25 international awards and honours, including the Young Audiences Public Prize at the Annecy International Animated Film Festival, Eva Cvijanović’s Hedgehog’s Home is a sumptuous and delicately choreographed stop-motion fable reviving the timeless and timely notion of cultivating our own place of safety, dignity and comfort, no matter how big or small. Narrated by Kenneth Welsh (Twin Peaks), this 10-minute international co-production is produced by Jelena Popović (NFB) and Vanja Andrijević (Bonobostudio, Croatia), with Michael Fukushima as executive producer.
Electronic Press Kit | Images, trailers, synopsis: Christmas at Moose Factory | Hedgehog’s Home| Holy Angels| My Yiddish Papi| Our People Will Be Healed| Shop Class| Three Thousand| Unarmed Verses
Victoria Film Festival