A Variety of Indigenous Films Screened at TIFF

The film, set in 1980s Montreal, follows Rosie, a young Indigenous girl who suddenly becomes an orphan. It is adapted from the eponymous short film, also directed by Gail Maurice and released in 2018.

When I heard the news, I cried with joy, because it’s my first feature film, and it’s one of the best festivals in the world. I cried and jumped and screamed and screamedconfides the artist of Métis origin.

ROSIE has the particularity of being a bilingual film, in French and in English, with a few sentences in Cree. This particularity is added to the fact that Gail Maurice grew up in English and in Metchif, she who comes from Beauval, in northern Saskatchewan.

Métchif is a Métis language mixing Cree and French. To this end, if Gail Maurice decided to film in French, it was because her grandmother spoke fluent French, and the director wanted to pay homage to her.

I’m half francophone and half Cree, and I wanted to honor that. »

A quote from Gail Maurice, director of ROSIE

Actress and producer for the film, Mélanie Bray grew up in Montreal with an English-speaking father and a French-speaking mother.

While she is delighted with the recognition attributed to ROSIE and her linguistic distinction, the one who also acts as a translator remains disappointed with the lack of bilingual films in the country.

I keep saying, “Apart Good cop, bad copis there another movie?” I don’t know, I really don’t knowwonders the one who has been collaborating with Gail Maurice for a long time.

Quebec culture as inspiration

Gail Maurice finds her inspiration in particular in artists such as New Zealand actor and director Taika Waititi. The director admires in the director of jojo rabbit the way of approaching childhood and delicate subjects.

Gail Maurice has already collaborated with him, when he was producer of the film Night Raiders by Danis Goulet, for which she was nominated in the Best Supporting Actress category at the Canadian Screen Awards last April.

Gail Maurice judges, however, that Quebec cinema will have been at the heart of her inspirations. Naming Denis Villeneuve, Xavier Dolan and Sophie Deraspe, among others, the director admits to having a particular admiration for the work of Jean-Marc Vallée, particularly with regard to his musical approach.

Gail Maurice (right) shot the adaptation of her short film during the summer of 2021 in Hamilton and Montreal.

Photo: Courtesy of the ROSIE team

Moreover, the Francophonie will also be honored in terms of music. You can find the song Those who leave by Ginette Reno during the film.

Ginette is the queen. We really didn’t think we had itconfides Mélanie Bray on this subject. I don’t know if that’s true, but we’ve been told that she never says yes. So, I wrote a love letter.

The film will be presented in the Discovery section of the festival, which presents emerging filmmakers from here and elsewhere. Other Canadian films like Until Branches Bend by Sophie Jarvis The Young Arsonists by Sheila Pye and This Place of VT Nayani will also be presented there.

The screening date of the film ROSIE at the festival is not yet known, the schedule of screenings not being revealed until August 23rd.

(Re)discover the sea monster

The fictional short film n’xaxaitkw by Asia Youngman has also found a place in the festival program. The film stars actresses Kiawentiio Tarbell (noted in the film Beans by Tracey Deer) and Émilie Bierre, who will perform for the first time in English.

The film tells the story of a teenager who, under pressure, goes to an island in order to find the lake monster. This work takes its synopsis and its title from the Aboriginal legend of the n’xaxaitkw — better known among non-Aboriginal people as the Ogopogo — a kind of Loch Ness monster that lives in Lake Okanagan.

Through her short film, Asia Youngman, who grew up in British Columbia, wants to amplify the Indigenous view of this popular legend, something she says has never been done before.

A woman in front of a white wall smiles looking at the camera.

Asia Youngman previously went to TIFF to present her film The Ink Runs Deep in 2018.

Photo: Courtesy of Asia Youngman

Of Cree and Métis descent, Asia Youngman believes that the growing awareness of Aboriginal issues is paving the way for greater interest and curiosity in Aboriginal stories.

There are so many stories that have not been toldJudge Asia Youngman.

For her, being selected for this festival is an honor shared by her entire team.

It has always been our dream to present this film at TIFF. »

A quote from Asia Youngman, director of the short film n’xaxaitkw

At the same time, the filmmaker reminds us that TIFF is not only the biggest film festival in Canada, but also one of the biggest in the world.

Asia Youngman is not at her first screening at the festival, she who presented in 2019 the short documentary This Ink Runs Deep.

However, the artist considers the selection of her work of fiction as having a special significance, since it is towards this niche that she wishes to move.

Two people are sitting on the edge of a dock and looking at the water and the mountains around them

n’xaxaitkw features Kiawentiion Tarbell and Émilie Bierre.

Photo: Courtesy of Asia Youngman

The one who says she was inspired by Steven Spielberg for the making of her initiatory film with nostalgic flavors will perhaps have the chance to meet the director ofET, the extra-terrestrial, Jaws and Schindler’s List. The latter will be present for the first time at TIFF this year.

Make way for documentaries

The documentary Ever Deadly is among the Indigenous works screened at TIFF. The National Film Board of Canada, which produced the film, presented it as an immersive experience that invokes visceral music and imagery carried by throat-singing performer and Inuit avant-garde figure Tanya Tagaq. The latter is also co-directing the documentary with Chelsea McMullan.

A woman stares at the camera with her hands close to her face.

Artist Tanya Tagaq, who co-directs the documentary Ever Deadly.

Photo: Other images bank / Vanessa Heins

A documentary on Indigenous singer and actress Buffy Sainte-Marie will also premiere at the festival. Directed by Madison Thomas, Buffy Sainte-Marie: Carry It On will include interventions from Joni Mitchell, Alanis Obomsawin, Jeremy Dutcher, Robbie Robertson, John Kay, Taj Mahal and George Stroumboulopoulos.

A standing woman sings into a microphone.

Buffy Sainte-Marie at the Junos ceremony in 2017.

Photo: CARAS/iPhoto Inc.

Quebecers also present at the festival

The film ROSIE is not the only one who will make French resonate in the Queen City.

Quebec director Stéphane Lafleur, known for his film You sleep Nicolewill present the film viking at TIFF.

After premiering her film at Cannes, actress and director Charlotte Le Bon will present Falcon Lake at the festival. This first feature by the director will also be the opening film of the Festival du Nouveau Cinéma de Montréal.

The two young people are sitting in a place where there is vegetation.

Image taken from the film “Falcon Lake” by Charlotte Le Bon, with Joseph Engel and Sara Montpetit

Photo: Cinefrance

The second feature film by filmmaker Katherine Jerkovic, The Coyote, is also included in the program. It’s a return to TIFF for Katherine Jerkovic, who in 2018 received TIFF’s Best First Fiction Feature Award for her film Roads in February.

Animation filmmakers and longtime collaborators Pierre-Hugues Dallaire and Benoit Therriault will also present their latest work, Canary.

For this 47th edition, the TIFF will take place from September 8 to 18 in person.

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