What better way to open the ImagineNative Film & Media Arts Festival than with a documentary about the depiction of Indians on film. A hesitant Neil Diamond was astounded that the line up for his documentary, REEL INJUN wrapped around the Bloor Cinema and that the film was being shown to a jam-packed audience of over 800 people. I've seen similar films about how minorities have historically been branded by American cinema, so this was not a ground-breaking film for me in terms of it's intent; instead, it is a welcome addition to the collective voices of oppressed peoples righting cinematic and historic wrongs and reclaiming their respective cultures. This collection of voices is not demanding to be seen as nobles or savages; they simply want to be seen on screen (and in life) as human beings.
TUNGIJUQ. This short film (which preceded Reel Injun) is absolutely breath-taking with it's frosty white images of the north punctuated by piercings of blood red. Spare and thought-provoking, we are taken on the shape-shifting journey of a powerful woman cloaked in the essence and elements of the North. Echoing the strength and movement of the woman, is the forceful and compelling talent of throat-singer, Tanya Tagaq. Exquisite.
Kicking off the opening night screenings was the gifted throat singer, Tanya Tagag. If you've never heard throat-sing live, it blows you away to hear the sounds that one person's body can make. I once asked Kahil El'Zabar how many instruments lived inside his body. I would love to find out how many instruments and how many voices live inside Tanya.