Alanis Obomsawin: A Legacy
by Staff Editors
(November 27, Toronto, ON) Earlier this week in Montreal during RIDM’s 2023 festival, there was a special screening of very special DVD collection from the National Film Board (NFB). Fittingly it took place at the NFB’s Alanis Obomsawin Theatre and it was the official release of a boxed set of this remarkable filmmaker’s work. Titled Alanis Obomsawin: A Legacy, pre-orders available now and the 12-disc set will begin shipping in December 2023.
Over a legendary career spanning five decades, Abenaki filmmaker and activist Alanis Obomsawin has chronicled the hopes and struggles of Indigenous Peoples in their historic fight for their rights. She’s been an inspiration for generations of Indigenous creators and a trailblazer in women’s cinema since she began to make films at the NFB in 1967—receiving virtually every major Canadian honour for a lifetime of distinguished filmmaking and social activism that now totals an incredible 65 works.
Curated by Alanis Obomsawin herself, 28 of those new and classic films are together for the first time and includes seven never-before-seen bonuses as well as world premieres of four short films. This collection offers an exclusive look at her beginnings in cinema, her engagement in historic battles that are helping to transform the lives of Indigenous Peoples, and her dedication to Indigenous youth and the well-being of children, as well as her hope for the future. In addition to the 12 DVDs, Alanis Obomsawin: A Legacy features a full-colour 44-page booklet with an introduction by Jason Ryle, International Programmer, Indigenous Cinema, at the Toronto International Film Festival.
This is the largest collection of films by Alanis Obomsawin on DVD and a unique opportunity for cinephiles to own a special part of Canada’s cultural history: a highly personal portrait of sweeping social, political and cultural changes for Indigenous Peoples over the last half century.
Titles in the 12-disc box set include:
Alanis Obomsawin’s very first film at the NFB, the 1971 classic Christmas at Moose Factory; Her first feature-length documentary, the groundbreaking Mother of Many Children (1977), which created a space for Indigenous women’s stories and perspectives on the screen as a global feminist movement was taking shape; All seven films from her pivotal film cycle on the rights of Indigenous children and Peoples, which began in 2010 when she conducted the first interviews for The People of the Kattawapiskak River (2012) and ended, on an optimistic note, with her award-winning Jordan River Anderson, The Messenger in 2019; Recent works from 2021 inspired by her extensive personal archives, such as the powerful Honour to Senator Murray Sinclair and Bill Reid Remembers; Plus four new works making their world premiere, including Wabano: The Light of the Day and The Spirit of the Tŝilhqot’in People Is Hovering Over the Supreme Court. All titles are available in English and French, with four films featuring Cree version options.
A passionate mentor and educator all her life, Alanis has curated a lifetime of learning in one box set, helping viewers to understand and acknowledge the difficult realities and truths about the history of Indigenous Peoples in Canada. The NFB’s Education team will also be supporting the launch of Alanis Obomsawin: A Legacy with special resources available January 2024.