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Keepers of the Earth: First Nations Women Directors

THU, AUG 5 / 7:30 pm
Curated and introduced by Michelle Latimer

Now, more than ever before, Indigenous, female filmmakers worldwide are reclaiming the medium of film as an essential storytelling tool. In the past decade alone, great strides have been made in contemporary, Aboriginal cinema, creating opportunities for emerging, women directors to realize their vision. Their work has been exhibited nationally and internationally, critically lauded for its undeniable authenticity: remarkable stories being told from the inside out. And, yet, it remains a tenuous path that female filmmakers must forge. The presence of Aboriginal women directors within the film industry is still disproportionately small, and it can be exceptionally challenging for those rising within the craft. For this reason, it’s important to celebrate the emerging women who persevere with tremendous vision to enrich the creative renaissance that is Aboriginal cinema. In this spirit of celebration, all of the films you will see within this program have been directed, written and/or produced by emerging, First Nations women.

Traditionally, women within First Nations communities are regarded as ‘Keepers of the Earth.’ The mothers, daughters, wives and sisters of our communities carry the responsibility to be the voice for that, which cannot speak. With confident determination the films featured here honour this tradition, and examine how history has informed where we stand today. Within this work you will find reflected a playful exploration of feminine sexuality, the nuanced complexities of motherhood, and an intuitive acknowledgement of life and loss. In their own unique way, each of these films bridge the divide of gender and politics to reveal the profound human bond that connects us all. This program includes several award winning works by Canadian Aboriginal women as well as Manitoba artists Jacqueline Traverse and Terril Calder. Michelle Latimer
LA RECONTRE (THE MEETING) – Dir. Marie-Ève Aster | 2008 | Canada | 3 min – Innu, with English subtitles
Worlds collide when two strangers meet on a cold winter night between Sept-Îles and Caniaspisca. Marie-Ève Aster is an emerging filmmaker based in Lac John-Matimekush in Quebec. This film was made as part of the NFB Wapikoni Mobile Shorts Program.

RETHINKING ANTHEM – Dir. Nadia Myre | 2008 | Canada | 3 min
The National Anthem is revisited in this poignant sketch of our “home and native land.” Nadia Myre (Algonquin) is a multidisciplinary artist who has been exhibiting her work nationally. She received her BFA at Concordia University and a Fine Arts diploma at the Emily Carr Institute of Art & Design.

LOVE ON THE STREET – Dir. Kerry Potts | 2009 Canada | 11 min
Five people living on the streets share intimate stories on the meaning of love. Based in Toronto, Kerry Potts (Teme-Augama) is making her directorial debut with Love on the Street, which premiered at the ImagineNATIVE Film Festival in 2009.

POSTSCRIPT – Dir. Shannon Letandre | 2008 | Canada | 6 min
A young woman contemplates her childhood as she writes a heartfelt letter reflecting on her relationship with someone estranged, but close to her heart. Shannon Letandre (Oji-Cree) is currently completing her second BA in Film Production at Concordia University. Previously, she directed Nganawendaanan Nde’ing (I Keep Them in My Heart) through the National Film Board’s First Stories program, which screened at imagineNATIVE in 2006.

EMPTY – Dir. Jacqueline Traverse | 2009 | Canada | 5 min
Set to music by Little Hawk, this animated and starkly honest story is a daughter’s tribute to her estranged mother. A mother to three daughters, Ojibway/Cree filmmaker and painter Jacqueline Traverse has recently finished her fourth year of Fine Arts studies at the University of Manitoba. Her film Two Scoops premiered at imagineNATIVE 2008.

KIR OTCI NTCOTCO (FOR YOU, MOM) – Dir. Mariana Niquay-Ottawa | 2008 | Canada | 4 min
A touching visual portrayal of a letter intending to reconcile the past and apologise for a turbulent adolescence and misdirected angst. With the support of the Wapikoni Mobile project, Mariana Niquay-Ottawa (Atikamekws) makes her directorial debut with this short film, which was programmed at the Festival du nouveau cinéma de Montrèal in 2008.

LE REVE D’UNE MERE (A MOTHER’S DREAM) – Dir. Marie-Eve Grignon Canada | 2007 | Canada | 7 min – Algonquin and French, with English subtitles
A deeply touching and heartbreaking story of a mother’s love for her two children who live in foster care. Marie-Eve Grignon (Algonquin) made this project through Wapikoni Mobile, a traveling production studio for youth in Canadian Aboriginal communities. This is her first film.

EU•THA•NA•SIA – Dir. Jani Lauzon | 2008 | Canada | 6 min
eu•tha•na•sia follows the footsteps of a young Aboriginal girl as she leaves the beauty of her natural surroundings to attend Residential school. Only upon her return to nature is she able to shed the shoes that lead to a path of self-destruction. Jani Lauzon (Métis) is a three time Dora Mavor Moore nominated actress, a Juno and CAMA nominated singer/songwriter and a Gemini Award winning puppeteer. eu•tha•na•sia marks Jani’s debut as a filmmaker and was made possible through imagineNATIVE/LIFT mentorship program.

TOMORROW – Dir. Michelle Latimer | 2007 | Canada | 5 min
A young woman asks herself if it is possible to feel alone in a city of millions, after life-altering news forces her to make a difficult decision.

HONEY FOR SALE – Dir. Amanda Strong | 2009 | Canada | 7 min
Director Amanda Strong concentrates her camera on the tenuous life of the honeybee in an attempt to expose the fragility of human existence. Amanda Strong (Métis) has a diploma in Applied Photography and is currently completing her BA in Interpretive Illustration at Sheridan Institute. Her first short film, Alice Eaton premiered at imagineNATIVE 2008. Amanda was the winner of the 2009 LIFT/imagineNATIVE commissioning prize, and Honey for Sale is the result of that program.

SAVIOUR COMPLEX – Dir. Ariel Smith | 2007 | Canada | 5 min
Set against a childlike backdrop of cardboard cars and homemade costumes, this smartly satirical portrayal of girls within the sex trade industry creatively parodies stereotypes. Ariel Smith (Cree/Ojibway/Roma/Jewish) is an experimental video artist who has been creating her own independent works for the past six years. Her previous work Swallow won the Cynthia Lickers-Sage Award for Emerging Talent at the 2004 ImagineNATIVE Film Festival.

CANNED MEAT / IMMOBILIZED – Dir. Terril Calder | 2008 | Canada | 3.5 min
A beautifully insightful and uniquely animated portrait of one woman’s struggle to liberate herself from the trappings of trailer-park life. Terril Calder is a Métis artist who was born in Fort Frances, Ontario. She attended the University of Manitoba as a Drawing major with a focus on performance art, and was a member of Winnipeg’s Video Pool. Canned Meat premiered at the ImagineNATIVE Film Festival and was recently screened at the prestigious 2010 Rotterdam Festival.

LADY RAVEN – Dir. Christiana Latham | 2008 | Canada | 2 min
The eternal story of the Raven and his one true love gets a Day-Glo techno remix in this funky interpretation of an Aleut Legend for the Wii age. Christiana Latham (Status Gwichin) is a multidisciplinary artist of Native American and British descent. She is currently completing her Bachelor of Arts studies at the Alberta College of Art and Design. Presently, she is focusing her talents on animation and film, and working on a children’s book.

THE VISIT – Dir. Lisa Jackson | 2009 | Canada | 3 min
With vision and humour, director Lisa Jackson retells the story of a Cree village’s brush with extraterrestrial life in this animated gem. Lisa Jackson’s short documentary Suckerfish has broadcast on CBC and APTN, and screened at over 50 festivals across Canada and internationally. She recently directed the CTV documentary Reservation Soldiers, and holds a degree in Film and History from Simon Fraser University.

Background: Michelle Latimer
About Michelle Latimer (Métis) is an award-winning filmmaker, producer and actor. Most recently she produced the documentary Jackpot, which premiered at the International Hot Docs Festival and garnered two Yorkton Festival Golden Sheaf Awards for Best POV Documentary and Best Emerging Filmmakers. She is currently co-creating and producing a dramatic series in development with HBO Canada/TMN and Movie Central, directing an animated short film for Bravo, and developing her first feature film. Michelle is the Director of Programming at the ImagineNATIVE Film + Media Arts Festival, and has also programmed for the Hot Docs International Film Festival.

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The Winnipeg Film Group is an artist-run education, production, exhibition and distribution centre committed to promoting the art of cinema.
our location

We’re located in the heart of Winnipeg's historic Exchange District in the Artspace building. We are across the street from Old Market Square at the corner of Arthur Street and Bannatyne - one block west of Main.

The Winnipeg Film Group is located on Treaty 1 Territory and on the ancestral lands of the Anishinaabeg, Cree, Oji-Cree, Dakota and Dene Peoples and in the homeland of the Métis Nation. We offer our respect and gratitude to the traditional caretakers of this land.