Honouring Indigenous Filmmakers
by Ralph Lucas – Publisher
(June 15, 2020 – Toronto, ON) Northernstars is published in Toronto. We acknowledge that we are on the traditional territory of many nations including the Mississaugas of the Credit, the Anishnabeg, the Chippewa, the Haudenosaunee and the Wendat peoples and that the city and surrounding area is now home to many diverse First Nations, Inuit and Métis peoples.
The idea for Northernstars began long before it became a website and when we went online in February of 1998 I am proud to say those first digital pages contained many Indigenous Canadian actors including Chief Dan George, Jay Silverheels, Graham Greene, Tantoo Cardinal, Augie Schellenberg and many others.
Traditionally the term filmmaker has been used to describe the producer and/or director of a film. We’re using it here to cover everyone involved in the production, particularly the people in front of the camera. Several years ago we began recognizing a different Black Canadian filmmaker each day in February, Black History Month. Our plan had been to do the same thing this month, National Indigenous History Month but the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic meant a reduction in resources and a shift in plans. As we approach National Indigenous Peoples Day, June 21st, we decided to push ahead and beginning today we will highlight the careers of three Indigenous filmmakers each day for the remainder of the month.
Today we look at Adam Beach, Cara Gee and Graham Greene. Combined they represent 287 productions that would not have been the same without them.
Adam Beach was born on the Dog Creek Reserve near Ashern, Manitoba. He signed up for a drama class in high school where he discovered he had a natural talent for acting. His career began 30 years ago when he landed a small role in the television miniseries Lost In the Barrens, based on the novel by Farley Mowat and starring Graham Greene.
Cara Gee was born in Calgary but grew up in Aurora, Ontario and has a BFA in acting from the University of Windsor. She made her screen debut ten years ago in a short film and made her feature debut in 2013 in Empire of Dirt. More recently she costarred with Harrison Ford in a remake of The Call of the Wild.
Graham Greene is an Academy Award nominee, the recipient of the highly coveted Earle Grey Award and was honoured with an Order of Canada in 2015. His career began in 1979 and a remarkable 162 credits later Graham Greene will turn 68 in a few days time.
The foundation of why Northernstars was created was the enduring belief that Canada will never have a true star system until our filmmakers become household names, known far and wide for their work. It is my sincere hope that these three highly talented people have already reached that status.
Ralph Lucas is the founder and publisher of Northernstars.ca. He began writing about film and reviewing movies while in radio in Montreal in the mid-1970s.