Jeff Barnaby Not Shy About Using Violence To Convey Indian Experience
By Susan Dunne
"We're very morally ambiguous and violent. … There were no good guys-bad guys scenarios in any of the play acting. It was a free-for-all," Barnaby says. "Having a philosophy like that before you were in nursery school just lends itself to graphic imagery."
Today, Barnaby, 34, is an up-and-coming filmmaker who uses violent scenes to help deliver his message. As he says: "They're an effective means to conveying any ethos. There's no better way to articulate the enormity of life metaphorically and denotatively and in a real short period of time than throwing some blood up on the screen."
Barnaby, who spent his childhood on a Mi'gMaq reserve in Quebec, presents filmgoers with unexpected stories about native peoples. His short films "Colony" and "File Under Miscellaneous" have racial issues at their core, but they are really intense psychodramas about men on the edge. "File Under Miscellaneous" is about a Mi'gMaq man who undergoes a horrifying procedure to change his race. "Colony" is about a Mi'gMaq driven to a violent mental breakdown when his girlfriend leaves him. "File" recently was shown at the Toronto International Film Festival.
Barnaby has just finished writing a script called "Blood Quantum," about Mi'gMaqs who discover they are immune to a zombie plague and must decide whether to help the white folks or help themselves.