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Jordan River Anderson, The Messenger

Alanis Obomsawin
2019 | 66 min

Selections and Awards

  • Winner – Best Canadian Documentary AwardVancouver International Film Festival, Vancouver, Canada (2019)

  • Official SelectionToronto International Film Festival, Toronto, Canada (2019)

  • Official SelectionFIN Atlantic International Film Festival, Halifax, Nova Scotia (2019)

  • Official SelectionCalgary International Film Festival, Calgary, Canada (2019)

  • Official SelectionRencontres internationales du documentaire, Montreal, Canada (2019)

  • Official Selection imagineNATIVE Film + Media Arts Festival, Toronto, Canada (2019)


Long synopsis

Trailer

Promotional Material

Team


Alanis Obomsawin
Director | Writer | Producer
Biography
Photo
Photo : Cosmos Image


Alanis Obomsawin

Alanis Obomsawin, a member of the Abenaki Nation, is one of Canada’s most distinguished documentary filmmakers. As a prolific director with the National Film Board, she has created an extensive body or work focusing on the lives and concerns of Canada’s First Nations.

She began her professional career in 1960 as a singer in New York City. In 1967, producers Joe Koenig and Bob Verrall invited her to join the NFB as an adviser on a film about Indigenous peoples. She has not put down her camera since.

An activist as well as a filmmaker, Obomsawin is driven to provide a forum for the country’s First Peoples. Her entire filmography is a testament to that desire. Her documentaries have always sought to show the importance of roots and strong intergenerational bonds for the preservation of Indigenous cultures—from Christmas at Moose Factory (1971), in which she used children’s drawings to tell the story of a Cree village on the shore of James Bay, Ontario, to Jordan River Anderson, The Messenger (2019), her most recent film (her 52nd), which documents the long struggle to establish the right of Indigenous children to receive, in their own communities, the same high standard of health care as the rest of the Canadian population.

Obomsawin is a director who knows how to film conflict, as demonstrated by her four films about the Oka Crisis of 1990: Kanehsatake: 270 Years of Resistance (1993), winner of 18 international awards; My Name Is Kahentiiosta (1995); Spudwrench: Kahnawake Man (1997); and Rocks at Whiskey Trench (2000).

Other films in this category are Incident at Restigouche (1984), an intense, gripping account of a raid by provincial police on a Mi’kmaq reserve in Quebec; Richard Cardinal: Cry from the Diary of a Métis Child (1986), a disturbing look at the suicide of an adolescent; and more recently, The People of the Kattawapiskak River, an in-depth investigation of the Cree housing crisis at James Bay, which won the award for best social/political documentary at the 2014 Canadian Screen Awards, as well as Hi-Ho Mistahey!, which had its world premiere at the Toronto International Film Festival in 2013 and was  nominated for best feature documentary at the 2014 Canadian Screen Awards. In 2018, a more serene Obomsawin documentary, Our People Will Be Healed, won the APTN Award at the Montreal First Peoples’ Festival.

The people of the community of Odanak and their stories are at the heart of her widely acclaimed Waban-Aki: People from Where the Sun Rises (2006), and her short film Sigwan (2005). The village’s basket-makers inspired her to make a series of prints, which will be exhibited at the Montreal Museum of Fine Arts from June 7 to August 25, 2019.

Alanis Obomsawin has received numerous awards and honours throughout her career. She was inducted into the Canadian Film and Television Hall of Fame in 2010, and in 2014 she received the Academy of Canadian Cinema and Television Humanitarian Award, an honour given in recognition of exceptional contributions to the community and the public sector. In 2015, the Valdivia International Film Festival (Chile) recognized her body of work with its Lifetime Achievement Award, and she received an Honorary Life Member Award from the Directors’ Guild of Canada in 2018.

Obomsawin has received honorary doctorates from many universities, including Dalhousie University in 2016 and McGill University in 2017. In 2016, she also received two of the highest civilian honours conferred by the Province of Quebec when she was named a Grand Officer of the National Order of Quebec and awarded the Prix Albert-Tessier.  In 2019, she became a Companion of the Order of Canada.


Annette Clarke
Executive Producer
Biography
Photo
Photo : NFB


Annette Clarke

Annette Clarke is an accomplished producer whose award-winning films challenge stereotypes and bring diverse voices to the forefront. For the past 25 years, she has collaborated with both emerging and established talent to tell powerful, transformative stories. As Executive Producer for NFB’s Quebec-Atlantic studio, Annette has met cattle rustlers in Kenya, foreign workers in Labrador, the endangered bluefin tuna, rock-star chefs decrying food waste, and an animated young girl who copes with her mom’s mental illness by losing herself in the imaginary world of books. Annette’s recent producer credits include Vive la rose (2009, TIFF and Sundance), The Chocolate Farmer (2010, Hot Docs, RIDM), Flawed (2010, Hot Docs, Silverdocs, double honours at PSIFF, Emmy nomination), The Boxing Girls of Kabul (2011, IDFA and CSA for best documentary short), Hard Light(2012, FIFA Jury Award), Buying Sex (2013, Hot Docs), Danny (2014, Hot Docs Big Ideas series), 54 Hours (2014, Yorkton Founder’s Award),Gunrunners (2015, Hot Docs) and Hand. Line. Cod. (2016, TIFF)

Images

Jordan and his mother, Virginia Anderson
Julian Falconer at a Human Rights Tribunal hearing
Children at a Human Rights Tribunal hearing
Elder Elmer Courchesne
Noah Buffalo-Jackson and his father, Richard Jackson
Noah Buffalo-Jackson and his mother, Carolyn Buffalo
March for Jordan's Principle at Norway House
Jordan and his father, Ernest Anderson
Senator Daniel Christmas and his daughter, Gail
Spirit Bear Day at the Senate
Jordan's Principle Parade
Jordan's Principle Parade

Credits

Director and Writer
Alanis Obomsawin

Editor
Alison Burns

Camera
Maarten Kroonenburg
Ben Low
Pedro Ruiz
Kent Nason
René Sioui Labelle
Martin Duckworth

Drone Footage
Robert Rideout

Location Sound
Tod Van Dyk
Lynne Trépanier
Thierry Morlaas-Lurbe
Gaëlle Komar

Sound Editor
Don Ayer

Production Assistant
Ryan Queskekapow

Guide/Driver
Richard Jackson
Montana Reserve

Original Music by
Lauren Bélec
Michel Dubeau

Musicians
Michel Dubeau: Shakuachi, Kalima, Duclar, Bass Clarinet, Harmonic Flute
Lauren Bélec:  Guitar, Piano, Pedal Steel, Percussion, Programming

Narration
Alanis Obomsawin

Sound mix, Voice Recording and Music Premix
Geoffrey Mitchell

Animation
Glenn Gear

Cree Translation
Madeline Gamblin

Research
Alanis Obomsawin
Katherine Kasirer

Rights Clearance
Katherine Kasirer

On-Line
Denis Pilon

Graphic Design & Titles
Mélanie Bouchard
Jacques-Bertrand Simard

Digital Editing Technicians
Pierre Dupont
Isabelle Painchaud
Patrick Trahan

Technical Coordinators
Daniel Lord
Mira Mailhot

Assistant to Alanis Obomsawin
Michael Shu

Marketing Manager
François Jacques

Marketing Coordinators
Sophie Thouin
Jolène Lessard

Publicist
Jennifer Mair
Patricia Dillon-Moore

Legal Counsel
Dominique Aubry

Production Coordinator
Christine Williams

Senior Production Coordinator
Camila Blos

Studio Administrators
Leslie Poyntz
Camila Blos

Producer
Alanis Obomsawin

Executive Producer
Annette Clarke

Executive Director, Programming & Production
Michelle Van Beusekom

Special Thanks

THE ANDERSON FAMILY, RYAN QUESKEKAPOW,
FIRST NATIONS CHILD AND FAMILY CARING SOCIETY OF CANADA,
CAROLYN BUFFALO AND RICHARD JACKSON (PERSONAL FAMILY PHOTOS),
WAPEKEKA FIRST NATION, NORWAY HOUSE CREE NATION,
HEALTH SCIENCES CENTRE WINNIPEG – CHILDREN’S HOSPITAL,
DR. MICHAEL KIRLEW,
GRAND CHIEF ALVIN FIDDLER,
THE FAMILIES OF JOLYNN WINTER AND CHANTEL FOX

© 2019 National Film Board of Canada



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  • About the NFB

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