Skip to main content

imagineNATIVE Film + Media Arts Festival Opens with a Bang

imagineNATIVE Film + Media Arts Festival
Opening Night October 14

The imagineNATIVE Film + Media Arts Festival kicked off with a bang last night - a full house at the Bloor Cinema for two fascinating films and a rocking after party at the Century Room later on.

The films were actually a late start as organizers struggled to find seats for everyone in the capacity crowd, but well worth the wait, particularly after a brief live performance by extraordinary throat singer Tanya Tagaq before the screenings. She also stars in Tungijuq, a short directed by Felix Lajeunesse and Paul Raphael, and co-starring Zacharias Kunuk, also executive producer, and also the director of Atanarjuat :Fast Runner, the film that caused such a splash at Cannes in 2001. The short looks at the Inuit hunting tradition with spectacular visuals and a poetic sensibility.

The main event was director Neil Diamond's Reel Injun, a documentary that follows Diamond's physical and spiritual journey from his home town, a reservation in the High Arctic, through the Great Plains of the American west, all the way to Hollywood to look at the evolution of Aboriginals in film - all of it in a "rez car" (you know what I mean - see pic above!) Hollywood has been in love with at least the idea of Indians since the dawn of film - over 4,000 movies have been made about Indians, (a word that sounds weird to me - that's people from India, right? - but was used exclusively in the flick), and in fact, when Edison first demonstrated the Kinetoscope, a precursor to motion pictures, what it showed was a native ceremony.

The silent film era was actually rather kind to the image and notion of Indians and their traditional way of life, using actual Indian actors and depicting them in a variety of stories. With the advent of talkies, however, in the early 1930's, for whatever reason the tide of public tastes had turned, and what followed was a long era of misrepresentation and false mythology. The many and varied nations were homogenized into the iconic Plains Indian image we all recognize from cowboy and Indian movies - wearing the feathered headdress and a headband (an inaccuracy in itself). Indian children grew up wanting to be the cowboys because, who wants to be on the side that always loses? John Wayne, and the movies of John Ford, became the symbols of white progress held up by and eventually conquering the red menace. (Hell, there's even a clip of Bugs Bunny gleefully killing off the Injuns!)

It's an eye opening journey from there to the 1960's, when civil rights movements led to a re-examination of the Indian in film, and the evolution in terms of image from bad Indian to the noble Indian, from the Billy Jack movies all the way to 1990's Dances with Wolves - well meaning, but still the white man's version of the story. Kunuk's Atanarjuat is the real watershed, the moment when Aboriginal cinema came into its own on the international scene.

Reel Injun is both funny and thought provoking, and includes a host of interviews with people like John Trudell, a member of AIM (the American Indian Movement) who was at the infamous occupation at Wounded Knee in 1973, and Sasheen Littlefeather, the Indian woman who made the speech for Marlon Brando in declining his Oscar win in support of their efforts, along with a slew of celebrities and filmmakers who flesh out the story. It's a film that has, or should have, universal appeal in its examination of the Hollywood image making machine and its effects on us all.


What Else Is Hot This Week?

FACTORY presents World Premiere ACTS OF FAITH November 19 to 28 2020 - Free Livestream

 From a media release: World Premiere FACTORY presents  ACTS OF FAITH by David Yee Directed by Nina Lee Aquino Starring Natasha Mumba November 19 – 28, 2020 @ 7:30PM Streamed live for 6 performances Free of charge TORONTO (October 19, 2020) - To kick off its groundbreaking 2020/21 season, Factory presents the world premiere of acts of faith, by multi-award winning Asian Canadian playwright David Yee, directed by Nina Lee Aquino, and starring Natasha Mumba. Written specifically to be performed for a digital platform, acts of faith will stream live to audiences at home for six performances, November 19-28, 2020.  Thanks to the generous support of the TD Bank Group, admission is being offered entirely free of charge to audiences across the country and beyond. acts of faith tells a story about the power of faith, the inescapable persistence of our online identities, and the nature of truth in a digital age. The story follows Faith, a young woman who gets mistaken for a prophet. When a ques

Blues Single | Bushwick Blooze Band: Waiting (Independent / 20 October 2020)

Blues Single Bushwick Blooze Band: Waiting (Independent / 20 October 2020) Stream It From Your Fave Service Waiting is the latest in a string of singles released by Bushwick Blooze Band. The Brooklyn-based blues trio have been performing and recording the blues around the NYC area since 2018. Their first album "Cryin' for the L Train" was released in January 2019, and included covers of famous songs composed by their greatest influencers such as Little Richard, The Allman Brothers Band, Freddie King, and Eddie Vinson.  Bushwick Blooze Band is finishing up the production of their second album "Yes Dear" and unlike the previous cover record, this new album will be their first original contribution to the genres they love. Waiting is an upbeat blues track with a party kind of veneer over solid musicianship. What begins with a classic blues feel transforms into an extended psychadelic flavoured trip. Inventive guitar licks almost make you forget about the virtuosity

Blaise La Bamba & Kotakoli November 7th 2020 Online - PWYC

 From a media release: Batuki Music Society and Alliance Francaise Toronto present A virtual concert featuring Blaise La Bamba & Kotakoli November 7th 2020 at 8:00 PM Enjoy the concert from home! K inshasa’s vibrant nightlife has long been world-famous. It is home to the subculture known informally as the Society of Ambiance-Makers and Elegant People (SAPEUR), which has spread its influence through artists such as Papa Wemba. Blaise La Bamba is part of this scene. He has worked with some of the top names of Congolese music, in particular General Defao. I n 2018, Blaise La Bamba founded Kotakoli , an all-star collective of musicians that perform an energetic mix of Congolese rumba and soukous . In the company of Kotakoli, this veteran musician brings Congolese popular music back to the forefront, with spellbinding dances. The Details Date: Saturday November 7th, 2021  Blaise La Bamba and Kotakoli Virtual Concert Time: 8:00 PM Tickets: Pay what you can This concert is offered to you

CD Release: TriBeCaStan's New Deli Breaks the Time/Space Continuum in New Deli (Feb 7)

From a media release: New Release from Little Known Government of TriBeCaStan : Capital New Deli Found to Have Irregular Time-Space Continuum EverGreene Music - February 7, 2012 TriBeCaStan: News Alert. This morning Aljazzeera reported that the questionable nation of TriBeCaStan ( ) has made scientific breakthroughs in time travel. The unrecognized republic of nomads has broken the code of the time/space continuum. And by broken we mean: it no longer works. Applying sonic techniques once only known to a small group of punk rock shamans, the nation's most prestigious scientific entity, the TriBeCaStani FolkLorkEstra, uses sound alone to simultaneously place listeners in eras separated by decades and terrains separated by oceans. The breakthrough is outlined in an auditory compendium titled New Deli (distributed by the state-run EverGreene Music, set for release February 7, 2012 ), a recording that allows the world to experience a type of soulful networking mor

Jazzy Pop: Shihori - Soul Trip (Independent / 4 September 2020)

Jazzy Pop: Shihori - Soul Trip (Independent / 4 September 2020) New York City based singer and songwriter Shihori's new single Soul Trip is atmospheric and ambient. Interesting rhythms and interwoven melodic vocal lines showcase jazzy harmonic progressions in a slow groove mode.  As a songwriter, she uses electronic effects with impeccable musical taste. As a singer, her flexible vocals range from a sweet soprano to a strong mid-range. A veteran of the Japanese pop scene, Shihori moved to New York City in 2018, a move she talks about in a media release. "I was so surprised when I came to NY for the first time. Independent and strong women are respected and there are lots of different preferences in music and style. I thought, 'oh my God! This place really accepts uniqueness and freedom! I didn't know there is a place like this totally different world that allows you to be yourself. Everybody looks so different. So many races, colors, cultures, fashion, ideas...I am so