This year’s Forest City Film Festival is showcasing 18 films that are either produced by Indigenous creators or are focused on Indigenous stories. Eight of the Indigenous-produced films are being shown on October 23 and showings are open to everybody.
The festival started last week and runs until October 30.
“There were 18 films this year that have connections to Indigenous producers,” said Zahra Habib, media co-ordinator for the festival. “The eight showing on October 23 are produced by Indigenous creators but are not in the festival’s film competition. There are 10 other films competing that are also either Indigenous-produced or are focused on Indigenous stories and include Indigenous people.”
Habib said the festival is a one-of-a-kind festival in southwestern Ontario, with showings taking place in London.
“It’s a mix of film screenings tied to this region, either produced here or by people from here,” she said. “We’ve taken things to a new level in terms of networking and giving access to behind-the-scenes talks with people who are known and respected in the industry.”
The festival is for movie lovers and also people who want to build a career in this industry.
“You have front-row seats to the industry and those that can help you succeed in it,” said Habib.
For those interested in the event but hesitant of COVID-19 protocols, the festival is offering live-streaming options as well. All of the screenings and events can be viewed online during, or after the event On Demand.
Habib said she is hoping festival attendees are inspired by what they see, and is thankful there is an emphasis on Indigenous-created content this year.
“This is a festival that celebrates storytelling. That’s what film is—telling stories,” she said. “You have to include Indigenous content. Film has had a colonial lens for so long and the representation of Indigenous people in film is often negative, putting more harm than good on many Indigenous communities.
“To have Indigenous filmmakers take the stage and use this festival as a platform to tell their stories is an honour for the festival and a step in the right direction. It’s about time Indigenous people and marginalized people tell their stories themselves without having their story told for them.”
The films being shown on October 23 are:
Mohawk Midnight Runners: A Mohawk man starts a midnight running club to honour the life of a friend he lost to suicide. Grant carries on the memory by streaking all over the reserve.
Ego of a Nation: An experimental short film using creative imagery inspired by the poem “Ego of a Nation” by spoken word poet Janet Rogers.
Becoming Nakuset: As a small child, Nakuset was taken from her home and adopted into a Jewish family; she reclaimed her Indigenous identity, with help from her Bubby.
Soup For My Brother: In a touching and heartfelt film, Jimmy prepares the Haudenosaunee Traditional corn soup in memory of his brother.
Gik:Skwod (How I Lost My Indian Name): Walter Murch’s editing concept is used to tell the story of how director Terry Jones lost his Native American “Indian” name.
Savage: In this award-winning film, a beautiful song and a zombie breakdance is a wonderfully surprising unexpected mix of genres.
Beans: A Mohawk girl on the cusp of adolescence must become her own kind of warrior during the armed stand-off known as the 1990 Oka Crisis.
Mooz Miikan: This film “is intended as a love letter to my father and means to process my sorrow.”