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imagineNATIVE Film + Media Arts Festival announces Opening and Closing Night Films!

imagineNATIVE Film + Media Arts Festival announces Opening and Closing Night Films!

For Immediate Release: August 26, 2015

imagineNATIVE Film + Media Arts Festival
Presenting Sponsor: Bell Media
Opening and Closing Night
Films Mekko and Fire Song
International Spotlight: Sámpi Nation • Artist Spotlight: Heather Rae

The 16th Annual imagineNATIVE Film + Media Arts Festival is proud to announce the Opening and Closing Galas for the Festival, running October 14-18, 2015, plus this year’s International Spotlight, and the inaugural imagineNATIVE Artist Spotlight, acknowledging Indigenous creative leaders.

imagineNATIVE’s Opening Night Gala on Wednesday, October 14 at the Bloor Hot Docs Cinema will be Sterlin Harjo’s Mekko, starring Rod Rondeaux and Sarah Podemski. Mekko is a thriller following a man who must navigate a welcoming, yet dangerous, community of Native Americans living on the streets, after release from his 20-year prison sentence. Prior to Mekko, imagineNATIVE will present the Festival Premiere of Jeff Barnaby’s experimental short film Etlinisigu’niet (Bleed Down).

The Closing Night Gala will be Fire Song by Cree/Métis filmmaker Adam Garnet Jones, on Sunday, October
18 at TIFF Bell Lightbox. Fire Song is a powerful, dramatic feature film, starring Andrew Martin and Jennifer Podemski, about a young gay man who dreams of leaving his reserve for the city. When the world as he knows it falls apart, the future he’s been dreaming of seems impossible to reach.

The 2015 International Spotlight will focus on Sámi films and filmmakers of the Sápmi nation, the Indigenous people of Norway, Sweden, Finland and northwestern Russia. Proud reindeer herders, the Sámi have a rich tradition as artists and filmmakers, which has seen a boom in the last five years. As part of the Spotlight on Sápmi, imagineNATIVE will present two shorts programs, Nils Gaup’s Academy-Award nominated Pathfinder, and indigiTALKS: Our Stories Must Be Heard, a video-essay series introducing the world of Sámi cinema from stereotypical depictions in mainstream film, to the International Sámi Film Institute which funds contemporary Sámi features and TV series.

imagineNATIVE is happy to announce the inaugural Artist Spotlight, which will celebrate the work of Cherokee filmmaker Heather Rae. This annual Artist Spotlight will acknowledge Indigenous creative leaders whose work has broken new ground and created lasting contributions to the Indigenous media arts. Heather Rae will be in attendance as imagineNATIVE screens three of her films, Trudell, Wild Walkers, and the two- time Academy Award-nominated Frozen River, that will be followed by a tribute to the late actress Misty Upham, co-star of Frozen River.

The imagineNATIVE Film + Media Arts Festival is the world’s largest Indigenous festival showcasing innovation in film, video, audio and digital media. The Festival presents the most compelling and distinctive works from Canada and around the globe, reflecting the diversity of the world’s Indigenous nations and illustrating the vitality and excellence of Native art and culture in contemporary media.

The 16th annual imagineNATIVE Film + Media Arts Festival will be held in Toronto October 14-18, 2015.

Early Bird Ticket Packages and Delegate Passes are now on sale for a limited time For more information please call 416.585.2333 or visit facebook/imagineNATIVE / @imagineNATIVE

Media Contact: FLIP Publicity & Promotions Inc., 416.533.7710 @FLIP_Publicity
Damien Nelson, or Carson Pinch,

imagineNATIVE is proud to introduce the Support an Artist Program, which aims to bring as many Indigenous artists as possible to this year’s Festival by subsidizing travel costs. Attending imagineNATIVE can dramatically enhance the professional and artistic development of artists at all levels of their career. Donations can be made here:

imagineNATIVE Film + Media Arts Festival 2015 Sponsors:
List represents commitments as of August 25, 2015

Presenting Sponsor: Bell Media
Platinum Sponsor: NBC Universal
Gold Sponsors: Aboriginal Peoples Television Network
Silver Sponsors: Canada Media Fund • Harold Greenberg Fund • Air Canada • Slaight Music• Loft404
Bronze Sponsors: Urban Post • Super Channel • Directors Guild of Canada • TVO • Canadian Media • Production Association • Nunavut Tourism • RBC Royal Bank
Media Partners: NOW Magazine • Muskrat Magazine • • POV Magazine
Public Funders: Ontario Arts Council • Canada Council for the Arts • Canadian Heritage • Miziwe Biik Aboriginal Employment and Training • Ontario Ministry of Tourism, Culture and Sport • Toronto Arts Council • Telefilm
Community Partners: ACTRA Toronto • Beehive Design • Charles Street Video • Liaison of Independent Filmmakers of Toronto • National Film Board of Canada • Scenic Drive • Vtape • WIFT- Toronto • William F. White
Mentorship Partners: New Brunswick Film Cooperative • Newfoundland Independent Filmmakers
Coop • No’kmaq Village
Festival Hotel: Hilton Garden Inn
Hospitality Partners: The Strathcona Hotel • Hyatt Regency Hotel Toronto • Ravi Soups • Revival • Steam Whistle Brewing • Pita Pit • Santo Pecado Catering • Hush Restaurant Bar Patio • Jugo Juice • Second Cup • Maki My Way • Museum of Inuit Art • Be More America • Corned Beef House Toronto (TBC) • The Office Pub (TBC) • Royal Ontario Museum
Foundations: Ontario Trillium Foundation • RBC Foundation

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About The Author

MUSKRAT Magazine

MUSKRAT is an on-line Indigenous arts, culture magazine that honours the connection between humans and our traditional ecological knowledge by exhibiting original works and critical commentary. MUSKRAT embraces both rural and urban settings and uses media arts, the Internet, and wireless technology to investigate and disseminate traditional knowledges in ways that inspire their reclamation.

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