114 minutes – Documentary
Festival release date: April 29, 2019 (Hot Docs – World Premiere)
Release date: June 14, 2019 (Toronto, Vancouver)
Production company: Cave 7
Canadian distributor: Mongrel Media
There Are No Fakes looks inside the usually obscure world of art and art sales. This story revolves around a specific work by Norval Morrisseau, also known as Copper Thunderbird, who was and arguably remains the most influential Indigenous artist in Canada. He is usually referred to as the founder of the “Woodlands style.” The central story revolves around one of his paintings, “Spirit Energy of Mother Earth.” Owned by musician Kevin Hearn (The Barenaked Ladies) who also wrote the music for the film, the authenticity of his painting is called into question and he subsequently decides to sue the art dealer. This launches an investigation into the painting’s provenance and the eventual unravelling of an art fraud ring with different factions, all claiming to be the true protectors of the Anishinaabe painter’s legacy. It’s a 114-minute mystery story where culture and commerce collide all deftly handled by the film’s director, Jamie Kastner.