ROUGE -- June 17, 2010 Salle Cassavetes (Excentris)
"Here we are blending
the turbulent Ottawa river with other rivers teeming with fish
feeding on the icy Far North, the founding Great River seasoned
by its salty estuary and backwaters with a hint of peaty aftertaste.
May all great thirsts for freedom be quenched as we drink deep
of these waters of life.” (Michel Faubert).
20th anniversary of First People’s Festival began last night
with an encounter between three cultures: Autochtone (traditional
and contemporary), English and French. Performing together on
stage were Robert Seven-Crows, Samian, Michel Faubert, Elisapie
Isaac and Marie Jane Lamond, with VJ Lady Pink Rubber Lady providing
the imagery. Métis/Mi’kmag Robert Seven-Crows is a singer, song
writer, performer and an A’tukwiwenu (traditional story teller).
Calling his style “Swamp-Folk," his music is a “métissage”
of his native roots: R&B and folk. Born in 1983 in the small
community of Pikogan in Abitibi-Témiscaminque, Samian is an
Algonquin who incorporates his native language and rhythms with
contemporary Hip-Hop. Michel Faubert is a story teller combining
creative intuition and Québec roots. Born to an Inuk mother
and a father from Newfoundland, Elisapie Isaac is a young Canadian
pop singer. Marie Jane Lamond combines traditional Gaelic songs
from Cape-Breton Island with traditional pop sounds.
The evening was a resounding
start to a celebration of diversity in all its guises. The concert
is to be broadcast on radio on the following: CBC Radio 2 June
21 at 7pm; CBC North June 24 at noon and Espace Musique July
3 at 8pm; and on the web at http://www.cbc.ca/video/#/Shows
from June 18 and directly on June 21st with Li Robbin’s blog
at http://www.cbc.ca/radio2/. You could also watch video clips
onhttp://musique.radio-canada.ca/Accueil.html from June 14.
The clips were provided by Wapikoni Mobile.
Peter Brossens, Jessica Woodworth
The Altiplano (Spanish for High Plain) is located in the Andes
in West-Central South America. Film opens in the Andean indigenous
village of Turbamba where Saturnina (Magaly Solier) is preparing
for her wedding. During the procession, which includes distracted
children excited over a spill of mercury, the statue of the
Virgin Mary falls and shatters. Film then segues to Iraq where
Grace (Jasmin Tabatai) is forced to take a photo of her colleague.
Her Belgian husband Max (Olivier Gourmet) is a cataract surgeon
assigned to an eye clinic in the Andes near the village where
the locals are succumbing to mercury poisoning. "Altiplano"
lyrically probes our divided yet linked world. A surreal and
symbolically rich film set against the breathtaking view of
the Andes in Peru.
This film documents performance troupe’s 21 day excursion (21
people plus three babies) across Nunavut from Igloolik to Pond
Inlet to Clyde River on skidoos in Apr/May 2009. They presented
their show at Pond Inlet and Clyde River plus workshops. Film
appeals to mostly local interests.
Anais Huerta, Raul Cuesta
When Antonia, a native Mazahua woman, was younger she left her
village for Mexico City. After nearly 40 years she returns.
The narrative is told mainly through her own words. A cautionary
tale that life rarely turn out as we expect.
Samson and Delilah (credibly portrayed by first timers, Rowan
McNamara, Marissa Gibson) are two indigenous Australian adolescents
living in a remote Aboriginal village, who fall in love. At
first they resist their mutual attraction. Samson detests his
brother’s band playing Reggae. Delilah takes care of her sick
grandmother. After Samson smashes his brother’s guitar and gets
beaten up for it and then Delilah’s grandmother dies, they steal
a car and escape to Alice Springs. Once there they have one
misadventure after the next. This is a powerful, emotionally
packed film that exposes the plights and difficulties that indigenous
peoples worldwide, face on a daily basis.
refreshing look at Canada’s correctional system. This film profiles
the inmates of minimum security facility Kwìkwèxwelhp Institution
(formerly Elbow Lake Institution) in BC on Chehalis First Nations
land. Aboriginal spirituality is this institute’s central core
approach to rehabilitation. Too many inmates profiled. This
made it difficult to follow their progress.
FROM THE TUNDRA,
Anastasia Lapsui, Markku Lehmuskallio
Seven stories centering on the nomadic Nenet people of the Russian Tundra as they struggle to keep their traditions despite pressure to assimilate into modern Russian culture. Subtitles in French on a black and white background made film a little difficult to follow.
-- PUDANA: LAST OF THE LINE,
Anastasia Lapsui, Markku Lehmuskallio
An adult Neko recounts her story of life when as a young girl
staying with her grandmother and her Shaman grandfather she
was taken against her will by Russian authorities and forced
to ‘become Russian.’ A docufiction that powerfully portrays
how the strong inevitably succeed in enforcing their will upon
the weaker. As well, the film makers give us an excellent chronicle
of the history and life of, not only the Nenet but of all indigenous
peoples around the world (for ex. the Inuit).
Low budget indie First People’s take on the zombie genre. Eddie
is heading to college accompanied by Ray, his father and Dax,
his uncle. He is to be the first in his family to go. They are
Native American from the Comanche tribe. While stopping for
gas, supplies and nature, everyone around them drops dead --
except for bizarre gas attendant -- to return as zombies. A
fun and entertaining diversion for those who occasionally enjoy
a zombie flick.
Tcikitanaw is an Atikamekw word that signifies 'the highest
mountain.' The mountain is situated just north of the Atikamekw
community of Opitciwan, Quebec. Anne Ardouin revisits the adolescents
(who are now young adults) interviewed in her 1997 film “Awacak”
to reflect on the paths they have taken and on the horizons
of their future.
CHRONICLE OF FILMS
Here are the films (features plus shorts) of all the films I was able to see during this year’s First People’s Festival (in chronological order -- as seen):
WINDIGO; Kris Happyjack-Mckenzie 10 min 42
A fictional look at the often thin line between life and death.
CHIFFRE; James Picard; 2 min 57
Why do the Innu say numbers in French?
RETURN OF THE GOOSE DANCE; Abhish S.Birla; 22 min 45
A Cree community desires to embrace the past and bring back forgotten celebrations.
SANGRADOURO; Amandine Goisbault, Tiago Campos Tôrres, Divino Tserewahu Tsereptsé; 30 min
A portrait of a group of Xavante who have taken refuge in the state of Mato Grosso in the Salesian mission of Sangradouro.
LES PETITS BONHEURS; Mary-Pier Ottawa; 2 min 27
An experimental view of the good side of life.
TSI TKAHEHTEYEN (THE GARDEN); Zoe Leigh Hopkins; 11 min 51
Three women visit a magic garden where the gardener will grant that which they wish for.
HORSE YOU SEE; Melissa Ann Henry; 4 min 7
Getting to know Ross, a Navajo horse.
THE CAVE; Helen Haig-Brown; 10 min 42
A Tsilqot’in hunter on horseback accidently discovers a portal into the afterlife.
DANCERS OF THE GRASS; Melanie Jackson; 2 min 15
Animated display of the traditional hoop dance which symbolizes unity among nations.
IN THIS MANNER; I AM; Velma Kee Craig; 4 min
A Navajo woman and a white man randomly meet and somewhat converse.
WAPOS BAY: THE HARDEST LESSON; Trevor Cameron; 26 min
Animated series on APTN. In this episode, T-Bear and two of his friends try to arrange for his widowed father to get remarried. They forget one important element, to get his permission.
SHIMÁSÁNÍ; Blackhorse Lowe; 15 min
A young Navajo woman desires to explore the world but she is held back by the need to care for her grandmother.
QIMMIT: CLASH OF TWO TRUTHS; Ole Gjerstad, Joelie Sanguya; 52 min
An investigation into the massacre of sled dogs in Inuit communities in the 1950s, 60s and 70s and the usual clash of memories between the two sides.
NE LE DIT PAS; Jani Bellefleur- Kaltush; 5 min 46
An experimental short exposing the destructive power of
TCIKITANAW; Anne Ardouin; 70 min
Director returns to Opitcikwan to see how the adolescents (now young adults) she filmed in 1997 to reflect on the paths they have taken and on the horizons of their future.
TUNGIJUQ; Félix Lajeunesse, Paul Raphaël; 7 min 10
A surreal meditation on the place of the seal hunt amongst the Inuit.
POWERBALL; Gary Farmer; 5 min
Two homeless men search the trash for items that are worth keeping.
THE DEAD CAN’T DANCE; Roderick Pocowatchit; 104 min
First Peoples take on the zombie genre.
SEVEN SONGS FROM THE TUNDRA; Anastasia Lapsui, Markku Lehmuskallio; 90 min
Seven anecdotes centering on the struggles of the Nenet people to hold on to their traditions.
PUDANA: LAST OF THE LINE; Anastasia Lapsui, Markku Lehmuskallio; 83 min
Neko recounts the stories of her childhood when she was taken from her home and forced to learn Russian ways.
KEEPING QUIET; Shane Belcourt; 9 min 20
A solitary man named Bob tries out the world of classified dating.
HER SUGAR IS; Dana Klaxton; 2 min 36
Peeling away the layers of history through a burlesque performance
THE MEANING OF LIFE; Hugh Brody; 82 min
A profiling of inmates at the minimum security Kwìkwèxwelhp Institution (formerly Elbow Lake Institution) in BC on Chehalis First Nation land.
NIA’S MELANCHOLY; S.F. Tusa; 10 min 30
A tale of the spiritual journey and redemption of Nia, a young Yolangi girl, who after the suicide of her sister finds solace in the recesses of her mind.
SAMSON AND DELILAH; Warwick Thornton; 101 min
The misadventures of two Aboriginal adolescents in love.
1150 KM ET UNE MÉTISSE; Raphaël Bélanger; 16 min 34
The destinies of Max, a drifter and Mady, a runaway wishing to return home meet in a downtown Montreal parking lot.
WELCOME; Daniel Gerson; 8 min 30
A boy whose only playground is the decrepit and impoverished city streets.
REHJE; Anais Huerta, Raul Cuesta; 68 min
After 40 years in Mexico City, Antonia, a native Mazahua woman returns to her village.
BUNKY ECHO HAWKE: A PROACTIVE ARTIST; Tracy Rector; 6 min
A portrait of Native American contemporary artist Bunky Echo Hawke.
WARBRICK; Maihana Durie, Pere Durie; 12 min
Dramatization of Joe Warbrick, who in London England 1889, inspired his worn out New Zealand native rugby team to play the game against England or forfeit.
ARTCIRQ EXPEDITION; Derek Aqqiaruk; 101 min
This film documents performance troupe’s 21 day excursion across Nunavut on skidoos in Apr/ May 2009.
ALTIPLANO; Peter Brossens, Jessica Woodworth; 109 min
A drama that lyrically probes our divided yet linked world.