The Ottawa International Animation Festival is proud to present Welcome to Kanata, a touring package of contemporary animated films by Canadian Aboriginal filmmakers curated by award-winning filmmaker and Director of the National Indigenous Arts Coalition, Ariel Smith.
We are looking to provide this program to Indigenous communities and educational programs across Canada as an education tool, reflecting the diversity of Indigenous arts and culture. This program would be providing an Indigenous gaze to topics seldom taught in Canadian classroom, providing Indigenous critical commentary on issues such as treaties, residential schools, missing and murdered indigenous women, community, childhood, and traditional mythology.
Free for educational institutions and organizations dedicated to the support and promotion of Indigenous culture, Welcome to Kanata is available now for screening on DVD or HD Quicktime formats or online streaming.
In Smith’s words:
“Throughout history, representations of Indigenous people within cartoons and mainstream animated films have largely been based on racist notions. From Warner Bros pre-WWII version of Little Hiawatha to Disney’s 1995 feature length film Pocahontas; we have been presented time and time again with animated stories featuring “Indians” told through a colonial lens. The mainstream and commercial animation industry has contributed to the conceptualization and promotion of offensive pan–Indian stereotypes such as “the Noble Savage”, the Squaw, and the “Indian princess”.
Over the last several decades the amount of Indigenous artists who are choosing to express themselves through film, video and new media has grown exponentially. Despite the historical barriers Aboriginal people have faced when it comes to media arts production, Indigenous people all over the world are utilizing media arts as a tool for artistic expression, self-determination and self-representation.
Contemporary Aboriginal filmmakers and video artists work with and create moving images in every imaginable genre, and animation is no exception.The OIAF would like to celebrate and showcase the diverse talents of Indigenous animators by presenting a program of shorts made by emerging and established First Nations, Métis and Inuit artists. We hope to expose both Indigenous and non-Indigenous audiences to these powerful and artistically innovative works.”