Festival to highlight diversity of Indigenous talent.
The works of Indigenous film and media artists from around the world will be showcased and celebrated in Toronto from Oct. 18 to 22 during the seventh annual imagine NATIVE Film + Media Arts Festival.
Both short and feature-length films will be screened during the festival, which will also focus on new media, radio works, art installations and more.
The festival kicks off on Oct. 18 with the first uncut screening of Tuli, a film by award-winning director Kanakan Balintagos from the Palaw'an nation in the Philippines. Tuli tells the story of a young girl who rebels against her abusive, alcoholic father and finds love with a female friend from her childhood, beginning a relationship that threatens to tear their village apart. Balintagos will be in attendance for the screening of his film.
Among the other films to be screened during the festival will be The Journals of Knud Rasmussen, the second feature film by director Zacharias Kunuk. The film, which received much praise and media attention after it opened the Toronto International Film Festival in early September, depicts the first meeting between European explorers and the Inuit. Kunuk, who won acclaim for his first feature film, Atanarjuat (The Fast Runner), will be at the screening.
Artists talks by Stephen Foster and Jude Norris are also scheduled as part of the festival, as are performances by Burnt-Project 1 and artists Maria Hupfield and Terrance Houle.
The festival will close on Oct. 22 with the screening of Alanis Obomsawin's feature-length documentary Waban-Aki: People from Where the Sun Rises. Written, directed and produced by Obomsawin, the film focuses on her return to Odanak First Nation in Quebec, the community where she grew up, and her examination of both the history and the contemporary reality of the people of the Abenaki Nation.
An awards ceremony is also scheduled for the evening of Oct. 22, where the winners of the festival will be announced. Awards will be handed out for best drama pitch, best documentary pitch, best music video, best experimental work, best Canadian short drama, best short drama, best short documentary, best new media work, best radio work and best dramatic feature. The Cynthia Lickers-Sage Award for Emerging Talent and The Alanis Obomsawin Best Documentary Award will also be given out during the ceremonies.
Tickets for the opening night screening of the festival are $12, with tickets for all other screenings ranging from $5 to $10. More information about the festival can be found online at www.imaginenative.org.
By MELANIE FERRIS