Mik’maq director Jeff Barnaby’s debut feature film ‘Rhymes for Young Ghouls’ makes its’ theatrical debut this Friday at Cineplex Young & Dundas in Toronto.
The film follows 15 year old Aila, the drug queen of the Mik’maq Red Crow Reserve. She is played by Kahnawake Mohawk, Kwennahere Devery Jacobs. Aila’s mother has committed suicide and her father is in jail, leaving the girl to fend for herself selling drugs and trying to avoid being shipped off to St. Dymphna’s Residential School by the insane Indian Agent, Popper. Eventually, she is imprisoned in the residential school, where the children are abused and molested. The plot thickens as she begins to execute revenge by robbing Popper for all he is worth.
Jacobs’ portrayal of Aila earned her a Best Actress nomination for the Canadian Screen Awards. Speaking with the Two Row Times about being nominated she says, “I was super nervous. My heart was beating like a million miles an hour. When he said my first name I didn’t even recognize it. It was so butchered. But when I heard my second name I was like, ‘…okay I’ve been nominated.”[images cols=”three” lightbox=”true”] [image link=”6388″ image=”6388″] [image link=”6411″ image=”6411″] [image link=”6391″ image=”6391″] [image link=”6390″ image=”6390″] [image link=”6389″ image=”6389″] [image link=”6412″ image=”6412″] [/images]
The 20 year old Mohawk Bear Clan woman has been acting professionally for seven years and is preparing for a move to New York City where she is pursuing a performance career full time, led by a team of managers in New York and Los Angeles.
— Two Row Times (@TwoRowTimes) January 29, 2014
When asked if she expects to take the award Jacobs replied, “I’m definitely up against some stiff competition. They’re all really talented women in my category. I’m just going to go there with no intentions, just to have a good time. Just being nominated is an amazing opportunity. I’m just going to have a good night and enjoy being there.”
‘Ghouls’ has been successful throughout many film festivals across the continent. Prior to filming, Barnaby’s script was awarded the Tribeca All Access Creative Promise Award and granted $10,000 toward the production of Rhymes for Young Ghouls. It was the first Canadian script and the first Native American to take the prize. It was screened last fall at the Toronto International Film Festival and imagiNATIVE Film & Media Arts Festival wowing audiences with its dark twisted fantasy take on the indigenous experience through colonialism and the residential school system.