Antigonish International Film Festival features three films with indigenous content

 

The Pass System, The Un-Settling of Antigonish, and Angry Inuk to play Friday afternoon

As Mi'kmaq History Month and the 10th annual Antigonish International Film Festival align, opening day will feature three Canadian documentaries with Indigenous content.

Kicking off the festival on Friday at noon in the People’s Place Library Community Room is The Pass System, a 2015 documentary directed and produced by Alex Williams.

  The Pass System.  Photo: tamarackproductions.com

The Pass System. Photo: tamarackproductions.com

Narrated by acclaimed Cree actor and activist Tantoo Cardinal with music from Aboriginal cellist and composer Cris Derksen, the film illuminates Canada’s hidden history of racial segregation.

For more than 60 years, the Canadian government often denied indigenous peoples the basic freedom to leave their reserves without a pass.

In this 50-minute documentary from Tamarack Productions, Cree, Saulteaux, Dene, Ojibwe, and Blackfoot elders share their stories of living under and resisting the system.

Since 1989, Tamarack Productions has produced award-winning documentaries on social justice, history, popular culture, and politics.

Earning a total of twenty international awards, their first production was a five-part documentary series on native rights in Canada entitled As Long As The Rivers Flow (1991). For more information, visit www.tamarackproductions.com/the-pass-system/ or contact info@thepasssystem.ca.

At 1:05 p.m., immediately following The Pass System at the People’s Place Library, is the premiere of Truth and Reconciliation: The Un-Settling of Antigonish directed by Denise Davies.

  Un-Settling Antigonish.  Photo: artshealthantigonish.org

Un-Settling Antigonish. Photo: artshealthantigonish.org

Integrating interviews with the audience, cast, and creative team with video footage from rehearsals and performances, this documentary explores the impact of local theatre production 1784: Un-Settling Antigonish.

The production highlights the experiences of Mi'kmaq, Acadian, Irish, Scottish, African, and American people as they encountered the tensions and triumps of the truth and reconciliation process.

It was a yearlong journey of cross-cultural community building that led to the creation of the production, with the 30 performers each coming from the same racial and geographic communities as the characters they portray. For more information about the film, visit www.tr101film.com.

Next up at 2:15 p.m., there will be a showing of Angry Inuk at the Cineplex Theatre.

  Angry Inuk.  Photo: boxoffice.hotdocs.ca

Angry Inuk. Photo: boxoffice.hotdocs.ca

This 2016 documentary directed by Alethea Arnaquq-Baril is a humorous yet thoughtful and respectful film about a complicated and controversial issue.

In small and remote communities in the high arctic, Inuit hunters are negatively affected by protests against the Canadian east coast seal hunt held a thousand kilometres away.

Anti-seal hunting campaigns have attracted high profile supporters, and with them, hefty financial contributions.

The film seeks to ask how a culture that exercises understated anger and finds peaceful resolutions to conflicts competes with activist groups that aggressively cultivate anti-sealing sentiments to support their other causes. For more information about Angry Inuk, visit www.angryinuk.com.

Passes for the Antigonish International Film Festival are $15 or $5 for students and unwaged, and can be purchased upon arrival prior to each film.

The full schedule and summaries of each of the films are available online at www.antigonishfilmfest.org.