Reel North Film Festival & Indigenous Arts at The Banff Centre

Now that Blow Out's met the CUFF festival deadlines, working on other stories. Like this one I found in my family tree: 

"LaRonge was a lonely and hostile environment for a socialist."  My great-uncle Brady on the left. 

"LaRonge was a lonely and hostile environment for a socialist."  My great-uncle Brady on the left. 

My great-uncle, Jim Brady, was an activist for indigenous (aka human) rights and against war and facism in the mid-20th Century. 

"...Jim Brady's personal preferences led him to live close to the Indian side of his ancestry. Shaped by industrial society, he nonetheless shunned its urban environment and its middle-class trappings. It was Brady's conviction that the life of one man has little significance in the scheme of things, and the manner of his death, unobserved and unmarked by any ceremony, seemed to confirm that conviction."

He was a shy intellectual, reluctant leader, and sometimes poet. When he disappeared on a surveying trip in the 1960s, some people thought the government - or powers that be - killed him. Although my dad thought that if he was murdered, it was by someone's jealous husband.  No one will ever know.  

Jean Cuthand, Norries, and Brady at an anti-nuclear arms demonstration in Regina, April 1, 1961

Jean Cuthand, Norries, and Brady at an anti-nuclear arms demonstration in Regina, April 1, 1961

It's an interesting thing, to be Metis. By definition it means "mixed", which means more than one, which means you don't fit into any one place, but also that limiting definitions are by definition tragicomedies to us. In Jr. High, there was a "rumor" that I hid my "nativeness" with pale makeup; at the time I was most insulted that people thought I wore that much makeup.  Looking back, I'm sad to acknowledge that those kids assumed someone with indigenous ancestry would want to hide it. 

~

The Reel North Film Festival, a screening of Indigenous work from Canada.

In short, no pun intended, my mind was blown. The screening room was packed, which is always my favorite way to watch a film. The pure talent of the story tellers lifted stones off my heart - they were stories I could feel. Each one had a distinct voice and a purpose for being. 

Image from Tungijuq by Félix Lajeunesse and Paul Raphaël. Copyright Isuma Distribution International Ltd.

Image from Tungijuq by Félix Lajeunesse and Paul Raphaël. Copyright Isuma Distribution International Ltd.

Here's the write-up from the festival's page - if you get a chance, keep your eye out for each of these filmmakers - they won't disappoint.

Indigenous Arts brings you Canada’s Reel North exploring the stories and landscapes from Canada’s far north. Come and experience 60 minutes of short films by award-winning Indigenous filmmakers Zacharias Kunuk (Inuk), Alethea Arnaquq-Baril (Inuk), Louise Flaherty (Inuk), Stacey Aglok MacDonald (Inuk), Michelle Latimer (Métis), and Paul Raphaël and Félix Lajeunesse.

Curated by imagineNATIVE Film + Media Arts Festival, and co-produced with The Banff Centre as part of Hi-Rez Storytelling.

a special thank you to imagineNATIVE for their curatorial skills, the Banff Centre and in particular Kathy Morrison, who's efforts and company quickly made me feel at home.