Scene from Sterling Harjo’s Mekko | Image Source: www.tiff.net
Indigenous media fans and film professionals gathered at the TIFF Bell lightbox on Saturday, October 17, 2015 to celebrate Indigenous excellence in storytelling at the imagineNATIVE Festival Awards ceremony. Big names like Alanis Obomsawin, Kent Monkman and Ashley Callingbull were on hand to present the winners, while host, Candy Palmater, channelled Angelina Jolie- working the sexy leg slit, circa Oscars 2012 – as host and comedian extraordinaire. The night was full laughter, celebration and bittersweet moments. Most importantly the night was full of support and recognition for the success of a growing and compelling Indigenous film and media arts industry at the largest Indigenous film festival in the world.
MUSKRAT Magazine presents the following winning highlights. To listen to audio works or check out the full list of winners visit: imaginenative.org/home
BEST DRAMATIC FEATURE
Mekko – Director, Sterlin Harjo
Mekko follows a homeless Muscogee man living on the streets after serving 19 years in prison for murder. Harjo (Seminole) completed his film studies at the University of Oklahoma. He is one of the founding members of the 1491’s, an Aboriginal comedy troupe that satires Native American stereotypes and representation in American society.
Distributor: Sterlin Harjo
THE ALANIS OBOMSAWIN BEST DOCUMENTARY AWARD
The Price of Peace – Director, Kim Webby and Producer, Christina Milligan
The Price of Peace, centres around Maori activist, Tame Iti. He was arrested with 3 others when they were accused of plotting terrorist activities after an alleged paramilitary training camp was discovered by their village in 2007. Kim Webby has an investigative journalistic background reporting for TVNZ, Fair Go and 60 Minutes.
Distributor: Conbrio Media Ltd
THE AUGUST SCHELLENBERG AWARD OF EXCELLENCE
This is the first annual August Schellenberg Award of Excellence, which honors the significant professional and personal achievements by an Indigenous performer. Tantoo Cardinal (Métis) has worked in film and television for over 40 years and is a Member of the Order of Canada, who is a passionate activist for Aboriginal people and culture. She has appeared in over 100 projects including Dances with Wolves, Blackstone, North of 60, Mohawk Girls, Blood River, Strange Empire, Legends of the Fall, Arctic Air, Every Emotion Costs and Loyalties.
BEST INDIGENOUS LANGUAGE PRODUCTION AWARD
Bulunu Milkarri – Director, Sylvia Nulpinditj
Bulunu Milkarri follows a woman’s journey as she learns and inherits an endangered songline that explores the cycles of death, life, rain, tears and the replenishment of land. Silvia Nulpinditj is from the Yolngu Nation in Australia. Her motivation in life is to teach young Yolngu about their culture, history and traditions.
Distributor: Aboriginal Resource and Development Services
BEST CANADIAN SHORT DRAMA
Clouds of Autumn – Director, Trevor Mack
Clouds of Autumn tell the story of a brother and sister torn apart when the sister is sent to a residential school. Trevor Mack grew up in the Tsilhqot’in (Chilcotin) First Nation and is mostly a self-taught, multi media artist that started experimenting with media, editing and film in elementary school.
Distributor: Trevor Mack
BEST SHORT DRAMA
Stoerre Vaerie (Northern Great Mountain) – Director/Producer: Amanda Kernell
Northern Great Mountain, follows a 78 year old woman, who has been in denial of her Sámi heritage for most of her life, and returns home to Sápmi for her sister’s funeral. Sámi filmmaker, Amanda Kernell, graduated from the National Film School in Denmark. Since then she has continued to work on writing and directing short films, and teaching film and film directing.
Distributor: Swedish Film Institute/Rotebro
BEST SHORT DOCUMENTARY
Nowhere Land – Director, Bonnie Ammaq
Nowhere Land is a short documentary that tells the story of how Ammaq’s family lived off the land for eleven years in the vast interior of Baffin Island. Bonnie Ammaq is a Nunavut based artist who works with the Inuit Broadcasting Corporation and has made two films: Making Sleds and Nowhere Land.
Distributor: National Film Board
BEST DIGITAL MEDIA
Sky Pets – Artist, Shandiin Woodward
Sky Pets is a video game, which debuted at imagineNATIVE this year, which can be played on any mobile phone. Shandiin Woodward (Diné) is a independent 2D video game artist and graphic designer. She cofounded an independent studio, Subliminal Gaming.
THE ELLEN MONAGUE AWARD FOR BEST YOUTH WORK
Lo Que Quiero Decirte – Director, Raquiel Palomino Ochoa
Lo Que Quiero Decirte translates to: what I want to tell you. In the film, Raquiel Palomino Ochoa (Quechua), expresses her feelings and desires to her late father, who had a heavy drinking problem. Raquiel Palomino Ochoa was born in San Juan de Chito in the Peruvian Andes. In 2013 she participated in an audiovisual workshop where she directed her first short film.
BEST MUSIC VIDEO
Nitahkôtân (I Have Arrived) – Director, Moe Clark
Nitahkôtân fuses performance narrative with traditional circle singing and spoken word
transforming the continuum of oral tradition through active involvement in communities. Moe Clark is a Métis artist, spoken word poet, activist and public speaker.
Dancing the Space Between – Director: Lacy J. Morin-Desjarlais, and Producer: Trudy Stewart and Janine Windolph
imagineNATIVE is awarding a special Honourable Mention this year for the short film Dancing the Space In Between to recognize the tragic death of director Lacy J. Morin-Desjarlais (Saulteaux). Lacy was dedicated to her art, which bridged traditional culture and contemporary practice, as seen in this beautiful film, an elegy to the children who died attending the Regina Indian Industrial School. Lacy was a committed young artist who died last February in a car accident that also took the life of her collaborator on the film, Regina artist Michele Sereda. The tragedy also claimed the life of well-known Calgary theatre artist Michael Green and Blackfoot Elder, Narcisse Blood.
Distributor : Trudy Stewart