Pitches, Docs and Exhibitions; Friday at imagineNATIVE! – Brittany

Alanis Obomsawin

Hey everyone! Back again with more highlights, and do I ever have a lot of them today! Friday at the festival was JAM PACKED!

In the morning I caught the “Rock the Doc” and “Drama Queen” pitch competitions. I’ve never been to anything like it, and didn’t know what to expect, but it was amazing! Basically, there’s a panel of judges from various Canadian media outlets (and we’re talking big guns here—Bell Media, the National Film Board, Shaw, TVO, etc.), and each prospective filmmaker has about 5 minutes to share their vision of their project. Sounds easy enough, but the time limit really amps up the tension, and I found myself getting nervous on the participants behalf! Needlessly, of course, because everyone did so well—good luck to the judges who have to pick only ONE film in each category! (Winners will be announced Sunday at the awards presentation!)

Filmmaker Cara Mumford making her pitch

What’s great about the Industry Series at imagineNATIVE is that it gives people access to people from major media corporations, and facilitates networking with such ease—as a potential film maker myself, I only saw opportunities today–it’s as though a world that was once inaccessible was broken wide open!

(For any other filmmakers out there, I really recommend checking out the pitch competitions in the future—the guests imagineNATIVE brings in from the industry offer GREAT advice for pitching ideas, and making connections and getting funding for your film! It’s a great resource—and free!)

Next I headed over to cinema 3 and saw part one of the International Spotlight on the Mapuche. Coming from a region in South America that covers multiple provinces in Chile, both films screened showcased the long history of trouble and trauma suffered by the Mapuche people, and their seemingly never-ending fight for their basic rights. The films were inspiring, especially in their use of amazing images of protest, particularly by women, young and old.

Director Danko Mariman answers questions at the post-screening Q&A

The director of the first film, Danko Mariman, was present at the screening, and in the Q & A afterward he mentioned that he learned how to film while making these movies. The bravery of making a difficult film like this with no prior experience and the brilliance of laying out a complicated story so that it is not only understandable, but told with great poetry, is an impressive feat!!

(If you’re interested in learning about the Mapuche nation—and trust me, it is definitely worth discovering—and catching a couple of great films, part two of the International Spotlight is tomorrow at 2!!)

Mariman accepts a banner painted with traditional Mapuche imagery

In the evening I walked down to 401 Richmond St. West and spent a while wandering around through the installations there. In suite 104, there is an exhibition of Alanis Obomsawin’s work, which I absolutely loved. She focuses a lot on nature with images of animals, as well as on images of womanhood, and motherhood. Her work is beautiful, and colourful, dealing at times with a history of pain (as in her gorgeous, but heartbreaking image of the residential schoolchildren below), but also one of family, and unity.

Alanis Obomsawin

(Obomsawin’s work will only be displayed until tomorrow at 5pm, so make sure you get out and see it!)

Nigit 'stil Norbert's "Pick Up Sticks"

Afterwards I went across the hall to the A Space Gallery when the Concealed Geographies Exhibition was having their Artist Talk and Reception. The installation is amazing–numerous artists displaying work that is thematically linked through ideas of space and distance, identity and disconnect and feelings of unity and disparity in regards to history and aboriginal culture.

Justine McGrath's "The Bride"

It was wonderful to hear the artists describe their work in their own words, and speak about their process and inspirations. The exhibition will be on display until the 27th, so make sure you get over there to check it out–it really is a unique opportunity to see something completely different!

Merritt Johnson's "With All Teeth Showing"

Well, that’s it for me tonight–see you all back at the festival tomorrow! Can’t wait!

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