September 14, 2013

News from TIFF 2013

Some reports from this year's Toronto International Film Festival:

First Nations filmmakers slam ‘Hollywood Indian’ image“Our iconography has been peppered through film since the inception of film so we’ve always associated with film, but have never been truly represented and you’re starting to see a shift in that,” said filmmaker Jeff Barnaby (“The Colony”), who was born and raised on a Mi’gmaq reserve in Canada’s Quebec province.TIFF’s native-Canadian features leave stereotypes in the dust[W]hen one of the world’s foremost film fetes programs three native-themed pictures pretty much back-to-back–a documentary, Hi-Ho Mistahey!, by National Film Board veteran Alanis Obomsawin, and two dramatic features, Jeff Barnaby’s Rhymes for Young Ghouls and Empire of Dirt, directed by Peter Stebbings–there’s a near-automatic tendency among mainstream pundits, regardless of ideology, to try to clump (ghettoize?) them together for purposes of winkling out big meanings, common threads, comparisons and contrasts. Revenge on the Rez: Roseanne Supernault of 'Rhymes for Young Ghouls'Roseanne Supernault is an award-winning Metis Cree actress whose recent work includes the acclaimed series Blackstone--and with Rhymes for Young Girls, she's again featured in a gritty drama set on a First Nations reserve. Yet Rhymes for Young Ghouls, a revenge-fantasy story that tackles the legacy of residential schools and takes place on the fictional Red Crow Mi'kmaq Reserve in 1976, is quite different. On the website of the Toronto International Film Festival, where Rhymes for Young Ghouls had its premiere on September 9, the film is described as "an S.E. Hinton novel ... re-imagined as a righteously furious, surreal thriller."Empire of Dirt: a busy post-TIFF life ahead“It was surreal,” [actress Cara] Gee recalled of the experience, a year after filming the low-budget drama about three generations of Cree women fighting to break free of a cycle of shame, addiction and bad decisions. “I was very, very nervous my first time seeing my dumb face in a giant screen. That’s trippy.”Aboriginal film 'Empire of Dirt' 'not trying to shove issues down throats'"We're not trying to shove any kind of issues down anyone's throat. It's a human story and hopefully that's what comes through," said Cara Gee, who plays a young single mother and former addict trying to save her teenage daughter from making the same mistakes she did.Comment:  For more on TIFF 2013, see Hi-Ho Mistahey! and "Big Year" for Native Films at TIFF.

Below:  Roseanne Supernault.

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