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FOUND IN TRANSLATION: LOOKING BACKWARD AND MOVING FORWARD 

Curated by: Stephanie Berrington 

FREE PERIOD: June 21 - August 2, 2019

LOOKING BACKWARD AND MOVING FORWARD, the Winnipeg Film Groups final program in the Found In Translation series, looks at the effects of Canada’s legacy of colonization and how they are still felt today. This is particularly true in Winnipeg, located on Treaty 1 territory, the ancestral lands of the Anishinaabeg, Cree, Oji-Cree, Dakota, and Dene Peoples, and the homeland of the Métis Nation. It is also the city with the largest Indigenous population according to Canada’s 2016 census data. Reconciliation is an important word in our city today as efforts are being made to recognize and rectify the injustices suffered by Indigenous populations at the hands of colonizers and to improve upon relations between Indigenous peoples and settlers. 


The works included for LOOKING BACKWARD AND MOVING FORWARD are available for FREE streaming for until AUGUST 2nd 2019.

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Found In Translation: Looking Backward and Moving Forward

A Common Experience (Une expérience commune), Directed by Shane Belcourt, 10:16 | Narrative Documentary | 2013

LOOKING BACKWARD AND MOVING FORWARD 
By Stephanie Berrington 


The effects of Canada’s legacy of colonization are still felt today. This is particularly true in Winnipeg, located on Treaty 1 territory, the ancestral lands of the Anishinaabeg, Cree, Oji-Cree, Dakota, and Dene Peoples, and the homeland of the Métis Nation. It is also the city with the largest Indigenous population according to Canada’s 2016 census data. Reconciliation is an important word in our city today as efforts are being made to recognize and rectify the injustices suffered by Indigenous populations at the hands of colonizers and to improve upon relations between Indigenous peoples and settlers. The films in this program, all of which were made by Indigenous filmmakers, look back on Canada’s ugly history of racism, abuse, and the cultural genocide of Indigenous groups. They reflect upon the experiences of Indigenous peoples across Canada today, celebrating and reclaiming their cultures, traditions, and spiritual practices.   

Heart (Coeur) is a collaboration between filmmaker Sam Karney and award-winning Métis writer Katherena Vermette. Together they paint a loving portrait of Winnipeg’s North End, home to many of the city’s Indigenous people and a neighbourhood with a racially charged reputation for crime and gang activity. Vermette and Karney dispute this narrow representation of the area, celebrating instead its cultural richness and the people that make it home.  

... dispute this narrow representation of the area, celebrating instead its cultural richness and the people that make it home.
Crash Site (Le site de l’écrasement), Directed by Sonya Ballantyne, 13:00 | Narrative with Animation | 2015

Still image from Crash Site (Le site de l’écrasement), Directed by Sonya Ballantyne, 13:00 | Narrative with Animation | 2015

Sonya Ballantynes Crash Site follows a young Indigenous girl’s struggle to make a new home in the big city with her older sister after her parents’ sudden death and her displacement from her home on the reserve. Ballantyne’s film is a coming-of-age story about the repairing of the sisters’ fraught relationship (with a little help from a badass Indigenous superheroine). 

Two Scoops, a short animation by Jackie Traverse, tells the true story of one girl’s loss of her younger siblings in the “70s Scoop”. During these “Scoops”, which occurred in the 1960s, ‘70s and ‘80s, the government of Canada apprehended an estimated 20,000 Indigenous children, forcibly removing them from their homes, separating them from their families, and placing them in foster homes and with adoptive families in a reprehensible act of cultural genocide and institutionalized racism.

Government-sponsored racism and discrimination in Canada is long-standing. The “Scoops” in the title of Traverse’s film are an extension of the country’s hundred-year-long residential school system. As a result of legislation passed in 1884, Indigenous children were removed from their families and cultures, forced to use the language of settlers (English and French), and convert to the Christian religion, and were often victim to physical and sexual abuse. A Common Experience is a poetic reflection on the residential school system’s enduring consequences for the family of playwright Yvette Nolan, made in collaboration with Métis filmmaker, Shane Belcourt. 

During these “Scoops”, which occurred in the 1960s, ‘70s and ‘80s, the government of Canada apprehended an estimated 20,000 Indigenous children...
Still image from Two Scoops (Deux rafles), Directed by Jackie Traverse, 2008

Still image from Two Scoops (Deux rafles), Directed by Jackie Traverse, 2:55 | Animated Documentary | 2008

Darryl Nepinak’s Indian deals with the word itself, an ignorant and incorrect term for North American Indigenous peoples, in this bitingly funny mock spelling bee. It stars Nepinak himself who struggles to comprehend the word he’s been charged with spelling: Indian.

From the residential schools remembered in A Common Experience, to the implication of language in race power relations as humorously exposed by Nepinak, schooling as a tool of assimilation and normalization of racist ideology is a common thread throughout these films.

Amanda Strong’s intricate animation, Four Faces of the Moon, chronicles the time travels of its photographer-protagonist (a stand-in for Strong) as she documents Canada’s colonial history and the damage it did to her people’s cultures and their land, including the animals living upon it.

... Nepinak’s "Indian" deals with the word itself, an ignorant and incorrect term for North American Indigenous peoples, in this bitingly funny mock spelling bee
Indian (Indien), Directed by Darryl Nepinak, 01:40 | Comedy | 2008

Still image from Indian (Indien), Directed by Darryl Nepinak, 01:40 | Comedy | 2008

SWEAT is Kristin Snowbirds symbolic and poetic recreation of the sweat lodge ceremony, which, because of its sacredness, cannot be filmed or photographed directly. Snowbird’s gorgeous film is a celebration of her people’s culture and an acknowledgement of the spiritual healing made possible for Snowbird through her practice of the ceremonies and traditions of her people. 

Like Snowbird’s film, Jessie Short’s Sweet Night is about one woman’s exploration of her cultural heritage through sweetgrass, a sacred plant used in Indigenous ceremonies. Short’s young Métis protagonist, Andy, is exploring her sexuality at the same time as she shares a romantic moment with a female friend in a field overlooking the city after they find sweetgrass there. The film offers a lovely representation of queer intimacy. Sweetgrass becomes a symbol to Andy not only of her rich, hybrid cultural identity, but the queer potentiality of her sexual identity as well.        

...a celebration of her people’s culture and an acknowledgement of the spiritual healing made possible for Snowbird through her practice of the ceremonies and traditions...
Still image from Sweet Night (Douce nuit), Directed by Jessie Short

Still image from Sweet Night (Douce nuit), Directed by Jessie Short, 6:53 | Narrative Drama | 2016

LOOKING BACKWARD AND MOVING FORWARD /
REGARDER DERRIÈRE NOUS ET ALLER DE L’AVANT 



Heart (Cœur), Directed by Sam Karney, Poetry by Katherena Vermette, 2:42 | Documentary | 2015
A filmmaker and poet journey to Winnipeg's North End, one of the most economically depressed and violent neighbourhoods in Canada, only to find some of the most wonderful and warm people, dispelling many of their preconceptions of the people who call the place home. 

Crash Site (Le site de l’écrasement), Directed by Sonya Ballantyne, 13:00 | Narrative with Animation | 2015
After her parents' sudden death, Kaley must move from the reserve to the city to live with her older sister. Miserable at her new school and in conflict with her sister, Kaley runs away to return home, but during her journey, she meets a superhero who teaches her how to hone her own powers.

Two Scoops (Deux rafles), Directed by Jackie Traverse, 2:55 | Animated Documentary | 2008
Hand-drawn illustrations animate this touching personal story about the "Sixties Scoop” of Aboriginal children into the Canadian child-welfare system.

A Common Experience (Une expérience commune), Directed by Shane Belcourt, 10:16 | Narrative Documentary | 2013
A poetic exploration of the multi-generational affects of Canada's Indian Residential School system, based on the personal trials of Aboriginal playwright Yvette Nolan.

Indian (Indien), Directed by Darryl Nepinak, 01:40 | Comedy | 2008
At the Canadian National Spelling Bee speller Darryl Nepinak stumbles upon a familiar word. 

Four Faces of the Moon (Les quatre faces de la Lune), Directed by Amanda Strong, 12:56 | Animated Drama | 2016
This intricate stop-motion animation interlaces Canada’s colonial past with writer-director Amanda Strong’s personal family history — and illuminates Cree, Métis, and Anishinaabe reclamation of culture, language, and Nationhood. 
(Danis Goulet, TIFF)

SWEAT (SUEUR), Directed by Kristin Snowbird, 4:44 | Documentary | 2016
A sweat lodge ceremony cannot be documented. In this film, I recreate my experience of the sweat lodge with a metaphorical and poetic interpretation of this beautiful ceremony.

Sweet Night (Douce nuit), Directed by Jessie Short, 6:53 | Narrative Drama | 2016
Andy is a young Métis woman living in a big city. When a friend introduces Andy to sweet grass, it sparks a night of interpersonal exploration and self-discovery, ultimately reconnecting Andy with her Indigenous roots.

 


THE FOUND IN TRANSLATION SERIES IS PRESENTED BY THE WINNIPEG FILM GROUP
We acknowledge the support of the Canada Council for the Arts.