July 19, 2009

Montreal's First Peoples' Festival

Montreal’s First Peoples’ Festival features multi-disciplinary arts, culture and fun

By Gale Courey ToensingIndigenous films and videos; paintings, sculptures, baskets and pottery; demonstrations of stone cutting, totem making and other traditional artisan skills; workshops, lectures, forums and storytelling; networking with indigenous peoples from the other side of the nearby river to as far away as Polynesia; hundreds of musicians, singers and dancers making music so joyful and compelling that the audience got on its feet and danced, were all part of a summer solstice ceremony.And:“Andre Dudemaine, one of the founders of Land InSight, is a film guy and there were a lot of indigenous filmmakers around at the time who were making videos and shorts, and experimenting with features, and we wanted to give them a voice, give them exposure. So the festival was only film for the first five or six years and then some people started to say we ought to give exposure to dancers and musicians and artists, too. And that started happening gradually and now it’s 19 years later–how time flies–and it’s a multi-disciplinary, multi-cultural festival,” Loyer said.

More than 50 films–documentaries and features–were screened. In addition to the screenings, more than one dozen invited filmmakers took part in side events such as lectures, workshops and forums.
Comment:  For more on the subject, see Native Documentaries and News.

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