NFB at imagineNATIVE
(October 7, 2019 – Toronto, ON) When the 20th annual imagineNATIVE Film + Media Arts Festival opens on October 22, work produced by the National Film Board of Canada will be well represented. In addition to the two feature-length films previously announced, nîpawistamâsowin: We Will Stand Up and Jordan River Anderson, The Messenger, there will be both animated and live action shorts. The animations come from the NFB’s Hothouse program, which is produced by Maral Mohammadian and Jelena Popović, and executive-produced by Michael Fukushima. The Hothouse program for emerging animators has helped kick-start the careers of a new generation of acclaimed Canadian animators. For its 12th edition, the NFB teamed up with imagineNATIVE and associate producers Amanda Strong and Amanda Roy to help address underrepresentation of Indigenous creators in film animation. Look for:
XO Rad Magical, directed by Christopher Gilbert Grant. This 2-minute production is a personal lyrical poem about the daily struggle of living with schizophrenia. This psychedelic and hypnotic film shows that there is beauty in the brains of those who are at war with themselves. It will screen on October 24 at 10 a.m. as part of the Festival’s Tribulations program at the TIFF Bell Lightbox 2
The Fake Calendar is also a 2-minute film and is directed by Meky Ottawa. It’s a neon glimpse into a personal world within an urban landscape. From FOMO to JOMO, The Fake Calendar is an artist’s expression of how people come up with interesting and creative ways to avoid social functions in favour of their own private space. The Fake Calendar is part of the festival’s Indig Love Stories program and screens on October 24 at 3:45 p.m. at the TIFF Bell Lightbox 1.
Collector directed by Kassia Ward screens as part of the Precipice program and is also two minutes long, or short in this case. A pair of unlikely travellers encounter a young man on the highway who seems to have forgotten that he can be seen. Collector explores the concept of semi-private spaces and how we act when we forget that we might be being watched.
Collector screens on October 26 at 1:15 p.m. at the TIFF Bell Lightbox 3.
Also screening in the Precipice program is the World Premiere of Freedom Road: Youth/Oshkaadiziig. Young Indigenous residents of Shoal Lake 40 share what it’s like to be forced to live away from their close-knit families and community to attend high school in Kenora, Ontario, while some of the young men are able to work on the construction of the road—a rare opportunity to have a good job in the community. Freedom Road is a five-part documentary series that tells the story of the Shoal Lake 40 Anishinaabe First Nation’s battle to build a road, after their community was forcibly relocated over 100 years ago. The short clip below is from Freedom Road: Youth/Oshkaadiziig, which screens on October 26 at 1:15 p.m. at the TIFF Bell Lightbox 3.
In the festival’s Imprint program, look for two short live action documentaries including Alexandra Lazarowich’s 5-minute long Lake. Filmed on location in Joussard, Alberta, Lake riffs off classic vérité cinema to craft a contemporary portrait of Métis women net-fishing. The film is inspired by the 1990 NFB short Minqon Minqon: Wosqotomn Elsonwagon (Shirley Bear: Reclaiming the Balance of Power), Catherine Martin’s look at Wolastoqiyik/Malecite artist Shirley Bear. Lake screens on October 24 at 5:30 p.m. at the TIFF Bell Lightbox 3
Now Is the Time from director Christopher Auchter runs 16-minutes and profiles internationally renowned Haida carver Robert Davidson who was only 22 years old when he carved the first new totem pole on British Columbia’s Haida Gwaii in almost a century. On the 50th anniversary of the pole’s raising, Haida filmmaker Auchter steps through history to revisit the day that would signal the rebirth of the Haida spirit. Now Is the Time screens Thursday, October 24, 2019 at 5:30pm at the TIFF Bell Lightbox, Cinema 3.
The imagineNATIVE Film + Media Arts Festival will also screen the NFB’s 1969 short, Loon Lake. Directed by the Indian Film Crew, this 23-minute film is about the Nehiyaw people of the Loon River Cree Nation. It was released at a time when their status on their ancestral lands in northern Alberta was being called into question. The Indian Film Crew was Canada’s first all-Indigenous production unit and was formed within the framework of the NFB’s historic community film initiative, Challenge for Change.
Loon Lake, part of the festival’s Talkback program screens on October 25 at 4:30 p.m. at the Bachir/Yerex Presentation Space, which is located on the 4th floor of 401 Richmond Street West (near Spadina) in downtown Toronto.
There is more information for the imagineNATIVE Film + Media Arts Festival online.
Images and film clips courtesy of the National Film Board of Canada.