the NFB at imagineNATIVE 2013



Festival presents legendary filmmaker Obomsawin’s new doc Hi-Ho Mistahey!, world premiere of Weetaluktuk’s Timuti, as well as photo exhibit from Hagan’s Similkameen Crossroads

The latest film by the most legendary figure in First Nations cinema, the world premiere of a new Inuit production and an exhibition showcasing a new interactive project by a Métis digital artist will all be featured at October’s imagineNATIVE Film + Media Arts Festival, where the leadership of the National Film Board of Canada (NFB) in Aboriginal film and new media will once again be on display.

The festival will present acclaimed director Alanis Obomsawin’s new feature documentary Hi-Ho Mistahey!, which takes audiences into the heart of a national campaign to provide fair access to education for First Nations youth; the world premiere of Inuit artist Jobie Weetaluktuk’s Timuti, a deeply personal look at his people’s rich storytelling tradition as experienced in his own extended family; as well as a photo exhibit by Vancouver artist Tyler Hagan, whose interactive work Similkameen Crossroads ( was developed through the NFB and imagineNATIVE’s Digital Media Partnership.

Hi-Ho Mistahey! – screening Saturday, October 19, at 4:15 p.m.

In 2008, 14-year-old Shannen Koostachin, a student from the Cree community of Attawapiskat, launched a campaign to build a suitable school for the children of her village. When her first attempt to get funding failed, she reached out to children across Canada, who started to join her fight in the hundreds. Two years later, tragedy struck when Shannen was killed in a car accident. The community was in shock—but determined to continue Shannen’s fight. Following in her footsteps, a group of young leaders raised awareness about First Nations education conditions among Canadian youth and fought for their rights, flying to Geneva to deliver their message to a UN committee.

In the feature documentary Hi-Ho Mistahey!, Alanis Obomsawin brings together the voices of those who are continuing to work to make Shannen’s Dream—the dream of fairness in education for First Nations children, in schools that are safe and welcoming—a reality. The executive producers for the NFB are Ravida Din and Annette Clarke.

One of Canada’s most distinguished filmmakers, Ms. Obomsawin has devoted her life to chronicling the lives and concerns of First Nations people. Hi-Ho Mistahey! was the runner-up for the People’s Choice Award in the documentary category at the Toronto International Film Festival (TIFF), where it had its world premiere, with Obomsawin also honoured at TIFF with an inaugural Birks Diamond Tribute to the Year’s Women in Film, presented in partnership with Telefilm Canada.

Timuti – screening Sunday, October 20, at 3:45 p.m., as part of the Legacy Heroes shorts program

Spring has returned to Canada’s Eastern Arctic. The Innuksuak River flows with renewed vigour, the tundra is alive with birdsong—and a baby boy has come into the world. They will call him Timuti, a name that echoes across generations, evoking other Timutis, alive and dead, who will nourish his spirit in the years to come.

In this half-hour film, artist Jobie Weetaluktuk turns his gaze on his own extended family, honouring the abiding power of ritual through the tender story of a young woman and an unplanned child. A privileged insider, he observes the interplay of rituals that marks the arrival of his newborn nephew— documenting the child’s traditional naming and dressing and his Christian baptism. Framing scenes of domestic intimacy against the vast beauty of Inukjuak, Weetaluktuk draws upon his people’s rich storytelling tradition to celebrate their resilience and relate a delicate account of family renewal.

Timuti is produced for the NFB by Kat Baulu, who also produced Weetaluktuk’s first film with the NFB, InukShop (2009), part of the Vistas collection of short works by Aboriginal artists, developed jointly by the NFB and APTN. The executive producer for Timuti is Ravida Din.

Similkameen Crossroads exhibit

The imagineNATIVE festival will celebrate the launch of Tyler Hagan’s Similkameen Crossroads in October with a photo exhibit from the interactive production. Presented at Gallery 44 (401 Richmond Street West, suite 120) from October 17 to November 23, with Hagan speaking and taking questions on October 18 from 6 to 8 p.m., the exhibit will also feature Similkameen Crossroads onsite, so visitors can be among the very first to experience this new interactive work.

Driving east along the Crowsnest Highway, as you exit the old mining town of Hedley, BC, you’ll come across an early 20th-century chapel perched atop a hill. This idyllic white church is located on the Upper Similkameen Reserve. Similkameen Crossroads pulls off the highway and explores this church and the land around it long enough to place it, to learn its history, and to meet its present while confronting the conflicted position of the Church on First Nations reserves in Canada. It’s a highly personal undertaking for Hagan, who, since obtaining his Métis citizenship, has struggled to reconcile his suburban Christian upbringing with the blighted history of the Church in Indigenous communities.

Similkameen Crossroads is produced by Jennifer Moss, Dana Dansereau and the NFB Digital Studio. The executive producer is Loc Dao. Similkameen Crossroads is the second interactive release from the NFB/imagineNATIVE Digital Media Partnership, which supports new forms of Indigenous artistic expression and offers Canadian Aboriginal artists an opportunity to develop audacious, innovative and socially relevant new media works.

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