Canadian Film of the Day: September 9
(September 9, 2018 – Toronto, ON) There are so many different ways that the Toronto International Film Festival is important. To filmgoers it’s a chance to see international films that might otherwise never make it to the city. To the large film companies it’s a chance to preview their best stuff, create some buzz, weeks or months before their films open in general release. Then there’s the filmmakers themselves, the famous, the simply well known, the ones to watch and the first-timers no one yet knows. Their small block of time, equal to the length of their film and maybe a Q&A afterward is a moment to stand in the spotlight and proudly proclaim “I made this.” For some it will be a launching pad, for others just another step in an endless walk toward fame or heartbreak or maybe both.
There’s a special spotlight on women filmmakers this year and in our pick for today’s Canadian film, there’s an added layer because the film is an Indigenous production.
Falls Around Her began production on April 3rd of this year. Five months later it’s having its World Premiere at one of the most important film festivals on the continent and in October it will be the opening Gala film at the imagineNATIVE film and media festival.
Falls Around Her was shot on the sacred land of Atikameksheng Anishnawbek, which is home to writer and director Darlene Naponse and her ancestors. Atikameksheng Anishnawbek is a First Nation in northern Ontario, located about 20 km southwest of Sudbury. Now complete, the production is an amalgamation of Toronto and Atikameksheng Anishnawbek/Sudbury/North Bay crews along with many indigenous locals. For the locals, it was the biggest production to ever have its home base on the reservation.
It stars Tantoo Cardinal in the role of Mary Birchbark, a legendary singer who returns to the vast wilderness of her reserve to reconnect with the land and her community. Mary begins to sense that someone might be watching her. Unsure of what is real and what is imagined, Mary embraces isolation as she explores the psychological impact of her past and present. Award-winning actor, television host, former MP, and producer of original Aboriginal content, Tina Keeper costars as Betty Wigwam.