July 27, 2016 – Montréal – National Film Board of Canada (NFB)
Five National Film Board of Canada Indigenous short films will be featured at the 2016 Festival Présence autochtone/Montreal First Peoples Festival (Aug. 3–10).
Making its world premiere is this river, a 20-minute documentary film offering an Indigenous perspective on the devastating experience of searching for a loved one who has disappeared. Written and directed by Métis writer Katherena Vermette and Erika MacPherson, this river is produced by Alicia Smith and executive-produced by David Christensen.
Named Best Short Documentary at the 2015 imagineNATIVE Film + Media Arts Festival, Bonnie Ammaaq’s 15-minute Nowhere Land is an elegy to her past in the vast interior of Baffin Island, after her parents left the government-manufactured community of Igloolik to live off the land, as had generations of Inuit before them. Nowhere Land was written by Ammaaq and Alicia Smith, produced by Alicia Smith and executive-produced by David Christensen.
Presented opening night, Etlinisigu’niet (Bleed Down), directed by Mi’gmaq filmmaker Jeff Barnaby, destroys any remaining shreds of the mythology of a fair and just Canada. His message: we are still here. Also featured at Présence autochtone are the shorts Nimmikaage (She Dances for People), by Algonquin/Métis director Michelle Latimer, and Sisters & Brothers, by Cree filmmaker and artist Kent Monkman. Both a requiem for and an honouring of Canada’s First Nations, Nimmikaage (She Dances for People) deconstructs the layers beneath the recorded pageantry of Canadian nationalism. A pounding critique of Canada’s colonial history, Sisters & Brothers draws parallels between the annihilation of the bison and the devastation inflicted by the residential school system.
Etlinisigu’niet (Bleed Down), Nimmikaage (She Dances for People) and Sisters & Brothers were produced for Souvenir, in which renowned artists address Indigenous identity and representation by reworking material from the NFB’s archives. Originally exhibited at the Aboriginal Pavilion during the Toronto 2015 Pan Am/Parapan Am Games, Souvenir is produced and executive-produced by Anita Lee.
During Présence autochtone, the NFB’s online screening room, NFB.ca, will also launch free streaming of Atikamekw filmmaker Thérèse Ottawa’s acclaimed short Red Path (Le chemin rouge), which received special mentions in the Best Short Film and Télé-Québec Best Choice Award categories during its world premiere last year at Présence autochtone, as well as a Golden Sheaf Award in Yorkton.
Montreal First Peoples Festival
Online Screening Room: NFB.ca