Tag Archives: Quebec

Follow Atikamekw Man’s Road To Redemption In ‘Red Path’ (2015)

It is well-known that Canadian society is made up of a variety of ethnic cultures. Canada’s long-standing policy of multiculturalism allows each individual Canadian the opportunity to explore and promote his or her ethnic background in a variety of ways, from attending language courses to participating in cultural festivals. For many Canadians, connecting with one’s ethnic background is a source of pride and identity. It can also help someone figure out where they have come from, make sense of the present, and chart a new course for his or her future.

Atikamekw First Nation filmmaker Thérèse Ottawa’s documentary short Red Path (Le chemin rouge), released in 2015, is an emotional look at a young Atikamekw man’s life journey of redemption, forgiveness and farsightedness. In this 15-minute film produced by the NFB’s Johanne Bergeron, Tony Chachai recalls his, as well as his mother’s, substance abuse during his formative years. Forgiving his mother and filled with a strong desire for change, Tony recounts his mother’s final request: that he would become a dancer. Tony’s cousin, Ronny Chachai, is instrumental in helping him learn to dance, thereby connecting Tony to his Atikamekw roots.  Watch the film below:

From start to finish, there was a sense of peace, hope and optimism emanating from Tony in the film. It was fascinating to see Ronny conduct the ceremonial prayer with Tony. It was also heartwarming to see Tony visit his mother’s grave in his dancers clothing, conversing with her and revealing to her that his partner will be giving birth to her grandchild. Finally, seeing Tony dance with his cousin Ronny showed his ultimate connection with his culture, enabling him to move forward to become, in his own words, a role model for others.

Red Path premiered at  Présence Autochtone in 2015, where it  received special mentions in the Best Short Film and Télé-Québec Best Choice Award categories. Since then, it has been featured at the Rendez-vous du cinéma québécois, the imagineNATIVE Film + Media Arts Festival, San Francisco’s American Indian Film Festival, Vancouver’s DOXA Documentary Film Festival as well as the Yorkton Film Festival, where it received the Golden Sheaf Award in the Multicultural category.

Red Path is compelling and encouraging; it is highly recommended to anyone who is seeking to let go of the past, reconnect with one’s self in the present, and go forward with a renewed sense of purpose for the future. It is also an educational glimpse into life on Atikamekw First Nation. Good luck to Thérèse in her future filmmaking career.

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National Film Board Launches ‘5 Shorts Project’ On Website

Whenever we’re in a mood to learn something new or want to briefly step away from the entertainment side of films, chances are we will tune in to some sort of documentary. In terms of time, most documentaries can last anywhere from 30 minutes to 2 hours. But, did you know that documentaries can also last the length of an average short film?

Logo courtesy of NFB

The National Film Board recently launched on its website a short documentary film project called 5 Shorts Project. This initiative is a film production partnership between the NFB and various Quebec artist-run production centres.

The first five short documentaries currently available through 5 Shorts Project were made in conjunction with Spira, an independent film co-op. The shorts deal with a range of interesting issues. Here’s a list of what you’ll see. Click on each title to be directed to the film:

The combination of the documentary and short film formats worked really well with these films. The production quality made it feel as if you were actually in the films with the other participants. Just like a short film, the length of these documentaries was enough so that the stories could be told concisely while stirring up the viewer’s imagination.

Short Film Fan Pick: Interview With a Free Man.

The next set of short documentary films for 5 Shorts Project will be made in partnership with La Bande Sonimage.

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‘Eddie’ Drives Ahead To Reach The Final Round On ‘Short Film Face Off’

The second round of CBC’s Short Film Face Off aired on September 19th with a new group of fascinating filmmakers. Just like last week’s contestants, each of them had an opportunity to advance to the show’s final round for a chance to win a coveted $45,000 film production prize from Telefilm Canada, SIM Digital and PS Production Services.

SFFO_2015_Poster2The second group of filmmakers to grace the stage were James McLellan (Period Piece), Allison Coon-Come (Eddie) and Martine Blue (Me2). These three films were creative, memorable and reflective all at the same time. A filmmaker attempts to produce a love story during adverse situations in Period Piece; a lost toy car in Eddie drives itself in an attempt to find its owner; a novelist clones herself in order to spend more time with her family in Me2.

At the end of the episode, Allison Coon-Come’s Eddie advanced to the final round of Face Off with 11.5 points. Period Piece came in a close second with 11.0 points, while Me2 finished in third place with 10.5 points.

These films had an educational appeal. Period Piece taught us to never give up in the face of adversity. It was also an entertaining salute to the different film genres of romance, horror and action. Similarly with Eddie, the toy car symbolized the human need and desire to keep going until one finds what he or she is looking for. It was touching to see how the toy car eventually got back together with its original owner.  Me2 was a funny lesson in the old adage ‘be careful what you wish for’, as the novelist clearly got more than what she bargained for. The film also had a great roster of familiar Canadian actors such as Cathy Jones, Susan Kent and Jonny Harris.

During the panel’s scoring of Eddie, Eli made a reference and comparison to the 1966 classic NFB film Paddle to the Sea by Bill Mason. In this short film, a miniature wood carving of a canoe sets sail on a journey to the sea. For those who have never seen the film before, you can watch it on the NFB website: https://www.nfb.ca/film/paddle_to_the_sea/

Congratulations to James, Allison and Martine for appearing on Short Film Face Off . Good luck to Allison as she moves on to the final round. You can watch this latest episode and the films at http://www.cbc.ca/player/tv/Short%20Film%20Face%20Off

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