Alanis Obomsawin’s Hi-Ho Mistahey! (Cree for “I love you forever”), is a feature length Canadian documentary that profiles Shannen’s Dream, an activist campaign inspired by the work of Shannen Koostachin, a Cree teenager from Attawapiskat, who wanted to lobby for improved educational opportunities for First Nations youth. Read more about Shannen’s Dream on the website for the First Nations Child & Family Caring Society of Canada. The film premiered at the Toronto International Film Festival in 2013 and was short-listed for a Canadian Screen Award.
Alanis Obomsawin is a Canadian filmmaker of Abenaki descent. Best known documentary is Kanehsatake: 270 Years of Resistance, about the 1990 siege at Oka, Quebec, she has produced and directed many National Film Board of Canada documentaries on First Nations culture and history. She leaned of Koostachin’s story from children’s rights activist Dr. Cindy Blackstock. Continue reading “Hi-Ho Mistahey!”
Based on a true story about an urban couple who go camping in the Canadian wilderness, writer/director Adam MacDonald‘s directorial feature film debut Backcountryis described as “a full blown, full blooded horror film about the apathy of nature and the folly of human resistance in the face of its violent shrug. There are no cartoonish, cross-eyed, cannibalistic hillbillies lurking in these deep, dangerous forests. There is simply the sheer panic of being swallowed by the unknown…and the very real possibility of being ripped to shreds by one very hungry bear.” — Fangoria
“[The movie] came to me when I was lying in a tent with my wife and I heard something large walking around at the crack of dawn. I was scared, and luckily for us, whatever it was walked away, and left me with an idea.” says Adam MadDonald about the film that was shot in 17 days in North Bay and Squamish, B.C.
Newfoundland director Stephen Dunn‘s feature film debut Closet Monster, starring Connor Jessup, tells the story of a teenage boy desperate to escape his dysfunctional family and get a job developing special effects for movies. The film premiered at the Toronto International Film Festival in 2015 where it won the award for Best Canadian Feature Film.
Dunn is an award-winning filmmaker and graduate of Norman Jewison’s Canadian Film Centre and Ryerson University’s Film Program. I had a chance to meet him in Halifax when our films were competing in CBC’s Short Film Face-off in 2013. His film Life Doesn’t Frighten Me, starring Gordon Pinsent, won the competition.
Dunn was the youngest filmmaker ever selected for the TIFF Talent Lab where he won two TIFF RBC International Emerging Filmmaker awards for his film, Swallowed. He attended the Cannes Film Festival – Short Film Corner in 2009 with his film, The Hall, where film critic Roger Ebert highlighted Dunn as an upcoming filmmaker to watch.
Closet Monster is now available to stream on YouTube.
“It’s just like a Woody Allen movie. Except in this case, he’s a Jamaican woman.” That’s how someone described Canadian writer-director Stella Meghie’s debut feature comedy Jeans of the Joneses at a recent screening I attended. It’s an accurate description of what I have to say was one of the most entertaining and satisfying movie experiences I have enjoyed in some time.
Meghie’s quick-witted dialogue and directorial style really add to the quirkiness of the comedy which focuses on a young writer and her interactions with her dysfunctional family in the aftermath of a death in the family and a failed relationship. The film was a hit at TIFF 2016 and I recommend you check it out if you have a chance. Here’s the trailer.