Virtual reality film directed on Six Nations hits GREAT

SIX NATIONS — As different mediums and genres emerge, there are indigenous artists ready to take a crack at the evolving world of film. This includes the work of Danis Goulet, who directed a four-minute virtual reality piece titled The Hunt, which was available to experience for free at the Grand River Employment and Training building on Tuesday, May 1, among several other indigenous virtual reality works.

The Hunt in particular was filmed on Six Nations and features an almost entirely Mohawk cast including Devery Jacobs, Brandon Oakes and Karahkwenhawi Zoe Hopkins.

Goulet, who is Cree and Metis and originally from Saskatchewan, explained that she was interested in sci-fi and dystopian future worlds, so the commission for the film reflected her interest.

“I did this short film set in a similar world, but I was thinking about the communities close to Toronto where I’ve made my home for a really long time,” said Goulet. “I had the idea to maybe come and do something at Six Nations and so I first called up my friend Zoe Hopkins, who is another film maker.”

Hopkins then helped to create the connections needed for the film to succeed in also applying the Mohawk language into the film.

“I wanted to show what happens to the language in the future and for me, even though its a dystopian future, the hope is that the language has survived,” she said. “We worked with Ryan “Decaire,” who is a language speaker, and he helped us to translate everything and also worked with the actors so that they could do all of their lines in Mohawk.”

The film encapsulates both the language and holds a sense of empowerment, which was also a goal for Goulet.

“It was just a really cool experience,” she said. “The result is this four minute piece that sort of imagines the way indigenous people would be using technology to their benefit, which for me, thematically is exactly what is happening today.”

As virtual reality is a newer medium, Programming and Tour Coordinator with imagiNATIVE Judith Schuyler, explained that the project was used to take a peek into the future.

“So, 2167 was a commissioned project from last year between TIFF and imagiNATIVE and we basically commissioned for four pieces that artists could use to envision the future 150 years ahead,” said Schuyler. “It was kind of in commemoration of the 150 years of Canada, but instead of looking back we thought we’d look forward.”

Schuyler explained that the project was viewed at TIFF and imagiNATIVE, and she now has been and will continue to be taking them to other film festivals. She said that each of the pieces are unique.

“Everyone’s pieces are quite different,” she said. “The Hunt is actually the most like a short film, where you’re actually in it and can look around and things are actually happening around you and the story develops around you — the other films were more abstract. But they’re all really cool and everybody that experiences them enjoys them.”

Later in the evening, a reception was held at the Ever Lasting tree School, which graciously hosted the filming of The Hunt on school grounds.

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