GRFF celebrates Indigenous filmmakers

The Grand River Film Festival (GRFF) will feature work by Indigenous filmmakers from across the country as part of its 2022 festival. This year there will be three feature film programs and a special event in support of GRFF’s commitment to present new narratives and celebrate Indigenous filmmaking.

“We’re excited to bring these stories to Waterloo Region,” says Michael Clark, programming chair. “We know films have the power to initiate conversations, change perspectives, and build relationships. Our goal with this film program is to provide an opportunity for dialogue and greater understanding.”

Founded in 2007, GRFF is committed to celebrate and inspire community through the shared experience of film. Featuring compelling documentaries, engaging shorts and premiere features, GRFF presents an integrated cultural experience.

“Indigenous filmmakers are expanding the modern film and television landscape,” says filmmaker Kahstoserakwathe Paulette Moore. “Indigenous storytellers carry philosophy and ways of being that include our lands, original languages and relationships. These powerful narratives hold the potential to transform as well as entertain.”

The event will be held at the Kitchener Public Library (KPL) Central Theatre on May 14 at 2 p.m.

Screenings include:

Stories From Land Back Camp – Director Erik O’Neill: On Indigenous peoples’ day, a large tepee was erected in a busy, urban park with the intention to assert an Indigenous presence just for the day. Over 100 days later, the tepee remained standing, with the space around it transformed into a camp of queer, Two Spirit, trans, and/or non-binary youth learning and practicing their Indigenous cultural heritages and demanding Land Back.

From Wisconsin with Love – Director Kahstoserakwathe Paulette Moore: From 2011 to 2015, community members in Wisconsin’s Penokee Hills on the south shore of Lake Superior challenged what would have been the world’s largest taconite mine. The centrepiece of that challenge was the Anishinabe-led Harvest Education Learning Project.

Run Woman Run – Director Zoe Hopkins: Beck, a single mom, lives in Six Nations, Canada. After her mother’s death, she abandons her dream of becoming a Mohawk language teacher, and an unhealthy lifestyle leads to a diagnosis of Type 2 Diabetes. The ghost of Tom Longboat appears to her. He teaches Beck to become an honor runner, dedicating each run to an aspect of creation or a special person in her life.

Bootlegger – Director Caroline Monnet: Mani, a master’s student, returns to the reserve in northern Quebec where she grew up. Her painful past resurfaces. Resolved to reintegrate into the community, she gets involved in the debate around a referendum on allowing the free sale of alcohol on the reserve. Laura, a bootlegger, pockets the profits she makes there under the protection of the band council and her partner Raymond.

Don’t Say Its Name – Director Rueben Martell: The quiet of a snowy Indigenous community is upended by the arrival of the mining company WEC who have signed an agreement to drill the land. But before drilling starts, WEC employees begin to turn up dead, attacked by a mysterious force. As a local peace officer and a park ranger investigate, they come face to face with the vengeful spirits that have haunted the land for generations.

If you are interested in learning more about GRFF and times for screenings, contact Paul Tortolo at paul.tortolo@grff.ca Or visit GRFF’s website at grff.ca.

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