August 9, 2017 – Toronto – National Film Board of Canada (NFB)
The 50th film from Alanis Obomsawin in the 50th year of her legendary filmmaking career, the world premiere of Dominic Etienne Simard’s new animated short, as well as North American premieres of Oscar-winning animator Torill Kove’s latest gem and Matthew Rankin’s dazzling short film on the visionary Nikola Tesla—the lineup of National Film Board of Canada films at the 2017 Toronto International Film Festival features powerful stories and astounding visual delights from acclaimed Montreal directors.
Our People Will Be Healed, Alanis Obomsawin – Masters
Making its world premiere in the Masters program, Our People Will Be Healed is the latest feature documentary by distinguished Abenaki filmmaker Alanis Obomsawin. The film 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 and thrive, growing up strong and proud. The school’s name honours a young woman from Norway House whose notorious 1971 murder was left ignored and unsolved for 16 long years, with the film providing a sobering look at the painful history endured by Cree people in northern Manitoba. But in her 50th film, Obomsawin offers a tremendously hopeful vision for First Nations peoples, showing us how improved education can save lives and change the future for Indigenous youth.
Children’s rights have been a central theme in much of Obomsawin’s incredible body of work. Our People Will Be Healed is the latest in a cycle of films that 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 was Jordan River Anderson, a child from Norway House whose too-short life was marred by inadequate health care for a rare medical condition, who became a symbol in the fight for equal health and social services for First Nations, as documented in Obomsawin’s 2016 film. Jordan will also be the subject of Obomsawin’s next film, her 51st, tentatively titled Jordan’s Principle. For Obomsawin, this new film cycle represents a departure for her and for First Nations: “Young people are leading the way. Their leadership and strength is beautiful and inspiring. We are on the road to a place we’ve never been before, to a new age for Indigenous peoples, and it is our youth who are leading us. This is what I am trying to show in these films.”
Short films by Dominic Etienne Simard, Torill Kove and Matthew Rankin – Short Cuts
Premiering in Short Cuts, Charles is the second instalment in animator Dominic Etienne Simard’s emotionally charged trilogy, which began with his Canadian Screen Award-winning 2011 NFB animated short Paula. The title character in Charles is a little boy who knows he’s not like other kids. At school, his classmates regularly remind him of just how different he is. At home, he doesn’t receive the care and attention that other children in his neighbourhood seem to get from their parents. To weather the daily ridicule and injustices, Charles invents a fantasy world inhabited by good-hearted little frogs. Simard won the Cours écrire ton court competition from Quebec’s Société de développement des entreprises culturelles for the script for Charles, which is a Canada/France co-production of DES animations, Les Films de l’Arlequin and the NFB, and is produced by Dominic Etienne Simard (DES animations), Dora Benousilio (Les Films de l’Arlequin) and Julie Roy (NFB).
Making its North American premiere in Short Cuts is Norwegian-born animator Torill Kove’s latest Mikrofilm AS/NFB co-production, Threads. The film explores the beauty and complexity of parental love, the bonds that we form over time, and the ways in which they stretch and shape us. It’s the fourth NFB-co-produced animated short for Kove, winner of the Academy Award for The Danish Poet (2006) and an Oscar nominee for My Grandmother Ironed the King’s Shirts (1999) and Me and My Moulton (2014). A film without words, Threads speaks volumes about the attachments we crave, form and sometimes grieve, as they evolve in ways that can leave us feeling lonely or left behind—as any parent of an adopted or biological child knows only too well. With her signature style of minimalistic characters and simple line drawings, Kove takes us on a journey in Threads that is at once intimate in its telling and expansive in its scope. The film is produced by Lise Fearnley and Tonje Skar Reiersen for Mikrofilm AS and Michael Fukushima for the NFB’s English Animation Studio.
After making its world premiere at the 56th International Critics’ Week during the Cannes Film Festival and screening in the official competition at the prestigious Annecy International Animated Film Festival, Matthew Rankin’s visually stunning THE TESLA WORLD LIGHT comes home to Canada for its North American premiere in Short Cuts. Winner of Annecy’s “Off-Limits” Award for his 2014 short Mynarski Death Plummet, Rankin offers up a tragic fantasy in his new film about the father of alternating current, inspired by real events. This electrifying short by the Winnipeg-born Montreal filmmaker is a spectacular burst of image and sound that draws as much from the tradition of avant-garde cinema as it does from animated documentary. THE TESLA WORLD LIGHT is produced and executive produced by Julie Roy for the NFB’s French Animation Studio.
Electronic Press Kit | Images, trailers, synopsis: Charles | Threads | THE TESLA WORLD LIGHT
Toronto International Film Festival
Les Films de l’Arlequin