Michelle Latimer wins twice at TIFF awards

TORONTO — Canadian filmmaker Michelle Latimer picked up two prizes for her documentary “Inconvenient Indian.”

The TIFF awards closed the curtain on 10 days of cinematic celebration that unfolded in historic times as the pandemic left the winning filmmakers largely isolated at home to mark the occasion.

But the distance didn’t sour the moment for Latimer, who said she openly wept after learning her powerful reflection on the colonization of Indigenous peoples in North America won the People’s Choice Documentary Award and the Amplify Voices Award for best Canadian feature film.

One of the first people Latimer contacted was Mohawk filmmaker Tracey Deer, whose Oka Crisis-set drama “Beans” was also applauded by the festival. She said they shared the joy of their mutual recognition together, and reflected on the hope it could present for future Indigenous filmmakers.

“Would you ever think this would’ve happened in our lifetime?” she recalled asking Deer in a text message.

Latimer paused to wipe away more tears as she remembered the conversation.

“I’m just in shock,” she added. “The idea that, maybe, going forward other stories like this can be told, or other people could come up behind us, that’s an amazing thing.”

The Metis/Algonquin director, who also premiered her upcoming CBC series “Trickster” at the festival, said she plans to split the $10,000 cash prize for the Amplify Voices award evenly between five emerging Indigenous artists in the fall.

Deer’s coming-of-age drama “Beans” was the second runner-up.

Latimer’s “Inconvenient Indian” was joined by two other winners for the Amplify Voices awards, which recognize feature films by under-represented filmmakers.

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