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Alanis Obomsawin


B: August 31, 1932 in Abenaki territory in Lebanon, New Hampshire

When Alanis Obomsawin was six-months-old she returned to Canada with her parents to live in Odanak, their home reserve, on Québec’s lower south shore. It was in this close-knit community that she spent many a happy childhood moment singing songs and learning the stories of her people. In 1960 she made her professional debut as a singer in New York City. In 1967, NFB producers Joe Koenig and Bob Verrall invited the singer/storyteller to the Film Board to work as an advisor on a film about Aboriginal people. Obomsawin went on to direct films of her own, while continuing to perform and fight for justice for her people. Her first film was the 1971 short, Christmas at Moose Factory. She became one of Canada’s most distinguished filmmakers. Her film Kanehsatake: 270 Years of Resistance won 18 international awards. A lifetime member of the Board of Directors for the Aboriginal Peoples Television Network, Ms Obomsawin has also served as a Member of the Board for the Public Broadcasting System (PBS) in Vermont and National Geographic International. The asterisk (*) below indicates the 6 films that were gathered together in 1979 to form the National Film Board series, Sounds of Our People. Her film, Jordan River Anderson, The Messenger was selected to screen in the Masters program at the 2019 Toronto International Film Festival (TIFF). As part of a special retrospective titled Celebrating Alanis at the 2021 edition of TIFF, Ms. Obomsawin will be honoured with its Jeff Skoll Award in Impact Media.

Also see: Alanis Obomsawin: A Portrait of a First Nations Filmmaker By Adrian Harewood.
Also see: CDN Films at TIFF 2021 – Take 2.
Also see: TIFF Honours Two.
Also see: Toronto Film Critics Selects Alanis Obomsawin
Also see: 2020 DOC Awards Announced