(November 9, 2015 – Toronto, ON) The 16th Annual imagineNATIVE Film + Media Arts Festival ended on October 18th but one award could not be announced. That’s because a lot of ballots had to be counted in the 2015 Air Canada Audience Choice Award. Today, imagineNATIVE was able to announce that Adam Garnet Jones’ debut feature, Fire Song received the largest number of votes.
The Air Canada Audience Choice Award was created in 2014 to give audiences a chance to vote for their favourite film from the Festival by rating them at each screening in a special balloting system. Over 9,372 votes were cast for 123 eligible films this year. Presented by Air Canada, the award includes a cheque for $1,000.
“Our presentation of the Audience Choice Award is an exciting way for Air Canada to take our partnership with imagineNATIVE and our support to Indigenous Cinema to another level,” said Eric Lauzon, Manager In-Flight Entertainment for Air Canada. “We have been developing this relationship through our Canadian in-flight entertainment programming and are thrilled to announce that the Audience Choice Award this year is going to the debut film by Adam Garnet Jones.”
One of the first feature films by a First Nations director to deal with two-spirited people, Fire Song focuses on a young Anishinaabe man who is forced to choose between staying in his community, and exploring the expanded possibilities of the world outside. Screened as the Closing Night Gala at imagineNATIVE, the film is a breathtaking and powerful story of identity and strength and features impressive performances by the cast, including screen legend Jennifer Podemski. With sensitivity and intelligence, Fire Song confronts some of the most pressing questions facing First Nations communities and announces the arrival of a powerful new voice in Canadian cinema.
“The Air Canada Audience Choice Award recognizes the film that captured the hearts and minds of our audiences in a meaningful way,” said Jason Ryle, imagineNATIVE’s Executive Director. “We are absolutely thrilled with the response we’ve received for the Award from our audiences and congratulate Adam and the entire Fire Song film team.”
Fire Song will screen as part of the Winnipeg Aboriginal Film Festival on November 20, 2015.