February 01, 2011

The Cave at Sundance

Tsilhqot’in Helen Haig-Brown Splashes at SundanceWhen Helen Haig-Brown and six fellow aboriginal filmmakers were asked to make short films for the 10th anniversary of the ImagiNATIVE Film + Media Arts Festival, they each received individual instructions that took them out of their comfort zones.

Helen Haig-Brown, for instance, was told to make science-fiction and wasn’t allowed to do her own camera work or editing. And there were other stipulations.

“The guiding rule for the group was that the films needed to use a language other than English, and had to incorporate the theme of patience,” the CBC reported at the time.

For her 10-minute short The Cave, which just wrapped up a week of screenings at the Sundance Film Festival, Haig-Brown put a sci-fi twist on a very unscientific topic: She remade the Tsilhqot’in story of a horseriding hunter who stumbles upon a portal to the afterlife. It is in Tsilhqot’in with English subtitles.

“I knew right away I didn’t want to do space and aliens,” Haig-Brown told the CBC. She said her cousin suggested she retell the Tsilhqot’in story.

“The eerie film had a polished, big-budget feel,” the CBC wrote when the film came out in 2009.
Comment:  For more on Sundance, see Wapawekka at Sundance and Choke at Sundance.

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