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JESSE WENTE ON INDIGENIZING THE HISTORIC IMAX FILM: NORTH OF SUPERIOR

JESSE WENTE ON INDIGENIZING THE HISTORIC IMAX FILM: NORTH OF SUPERIOR

Film still from North of Superior | Image source: tiff.net

This Sunday, September 17, 2017, the historic film, North of Superior, will get a special screening at the newly re-opened Cinesphere to cap off festivities for the Toronto International Film Festival. “I remember those scenes of flying through the country, through the land, and the firefighters who had been overwhelmed,” said Anishinaabe film critic, Jesse Wente when asked about his first Imax experience. “When I was a kid in Toronto it was very much apart of the movie going landscape. Absolutely, my first IMAX film was at the Cinesphere and I’m almost positive that it was North of Superior.”

North of Superior features timeless shots of Northern Ontario’s rugged terrain and natural splendor, while giving insight into the lives of Peoples in the surrounding communities. It was the first movie ever to be filmed for IMAX format. The screening includes an installation curated by Cole Alvis (Métis), Artistic Producer of LemonTree Creations and followed by performances from Digging Roots, Grey Gritt, Manifest Destiny’s Child, and Melody McKiver with MC Rosary Spence. There will also be pow wow dance performances from Leslie McCue, Lindy Kinoshameg, Lisa Cromarty, and Waawaate Fobister.“We wanted to reframe the film by showcasing the performance side of it with some of the remarkable First Nations, Métis, and Inuit talent that exists, so people can get a chance to experience that along with the film,” said Wente.

The installation will include images that represent the traditional Anishinaabemowin names of the people from around the North of Superior territory, as most First Nations communities in that area are Anishinaabe. “The goal was to give a different context to the movie, to center it on the land and the people where it was filmed,” explained Wente.

North of Superior evokes thoughts of what life was like for the Anishinaabe who lived on the land pre-colonial times; the storied history that Anishinaabe lived up until now; and what our future holds, not just for the Anishinaabe, but for the rest of Canada as well. “We wanted to envision the film in today’s context. North of Superior gives us the viewpoint from the past- when it was made,” said Wente. “Canada is going through an identity crisis, when we look back at some of the work and art that helped Canada define itself, the goal is to reposition that in sort of a forward looking way. How do we now proceed? How should we now view this?”

Following the screening director Graeme Ferguson, film editor Toni Meyers and members of the Chiefs of Ontario will be on hand to give a talk afterwards. Ferguson is best known as one of the co-inventors of IMAX, being awarded the Order of Canada for his accomplishments. Meyers, who also worked on the film, is best known for her editing work with CBC, CTV, BBC and the Beatles’ boutique entertainment company, Apple Corps.

Jesse Wente

Jesse Wente Bio

Jesse Wente has appeared on CBC Radio’s Metro Morning as film and pop culture critic for 20 years and currently serves as Director of Film Programmes, at TIFF Bell Lightbox, overseeing theatrical, Cinematheque and Film Circuit programming. A self-described ‘Ojibwe dude’ with a national and international lens, he encourages audiences to consider diversity and inclusion into the future view of their organization, industry and country.

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About The Author

Erica Commanda

Born in Toronto, Erica Commanda (Algonquin/Ojibwe) grew up in the small community of Pikwakanagan. From there she moved across Canada living in Ottawa, Vancouver and now Toronto, working in the bar/hospitality industry, mastering the art of listening to stories from her regulars while slinging and spilling drinks (at them or to them). And now through a series of random decisions and events in life she is on a journey discovering and mastering her own knack for storytelling as a Staff Writer for MUSKRAT Magazine.

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