Tuesday, August 2, 2011

Montréal First Peoples’ Festival, August 2-9

This week brings the 21st edition of the Montréal First Peoples’ Festival. It takes place in and around the downtown Quartier des Spectacles where they've built a 100-foot tall teepee.

It opens tonight at the Grande Bibliothèque with the music and literary performance Anutshish / Maintenant, and film screenings of Tashina, Jesus Coyote TeeVee, and La Nouvelle Kahnawaké.

The festival will offer concerts, readings and storytelling, arts, seminars and a section devoted to film and video. On Thursday and Friday, they hold their third edition of the conference Revisioning the Americas Through Indigenous Cinema which is free and will provide simultaneous translation for attendees.

The 21st Montréal First Peoples’ Festival continues until August 9.



And now, the world

Conferences, exhibitions, and concerts: Montreal is vibrating in its first colours as the drum resounds throughout the city.

The festival is a place for first cultures to make their voices heard. Artists from First Nations of the whole planet will come to meet their North American counterparts and showcase their works. It is an opportunity here on Native land to reaffirm messages of welcome and peace they left as sovereign peoples to all the world's peoples.

Outdoor site: tradition, encounters, experiments. At Place des Festivals, in the Quartier des spectacles, where the giant teepee stands amidst animal effigies, the Makushan awaits us for the Boréades de la danse , live outdoor shows and showcases for traditional arts and crafts.

At the Grande Bibliothèque, Canadian Guild of Crafts, Maison de la culture NDG and Rotiwennakhete School (Kanehsatake): visual arts have pride of place.

Internationally recognized awards will recompense cinematographic works that stood out among the film and video 2011selection, including the Rigoberta Menchu prize for the social significance of the winning film.

Living first cultures are in the news as a driving force in the world. In 1987, the UN adopted a Declaration on the rights of indigenous peoples. In 2011, this declaration truly has attained a universal scope because the last holdouts (including Canada) have ratified it. This is an indisputable victory well worth saluting. Our nations are now part of the concert: we are in the world.

Films and videos

Montreal producer Ian Boyd has accepted to preside the First Peoples’ Festival 2011 jury. At the official opening night filmgoers will discover La Nouvelle Kahnawake an off-the-wall documentary about the steadfast and die-hard Mohawk community next to Montreal, with an undercurrent of reflections on how the visual world has transformed the image of the Indian. By French filmmakers Patrick Bernier and Olive Martin.

As for feature films, Lénin en Maracaïbo presents a love story between a Wayuu Indigenous woman and a Chavista activist in revolutionary Venezuela; political cinema that avoids the trap of oversimplification; Nuummioq, a Greenland feature film that was a Sundance sensation will finally be screened in Canada: a man with terminal cancer embarks on a last sea voyage with his cousin who is also his best friend; small joys and great distress, an authentic human film. On the documentary side, Children of the Amazon lets us follow the footsteps of a photographer who returns to visit Amerindians he had filmed 15 years earlier; the carefree children had become adults who have to struggle against deforestation of their lands because in the meantime, a highway had brought “progress”. From Mexico, Sylvestre Pantaleon is an engaging look at an old Nahua man who seeks a remedy for his rheumatism from a healer. In the same vein at the other end of North America, Smokin’ Fish follows an Alaskan Tlingit man who seeks to make a fortune and suddenly decides to rebuild the old family smokehouse. But as nothing is simple in life, this young man will need all his optimism to overcome the problems that he faces on his way. Amerindian wisdom and rituals are also subjects for the passionate filmmaker’s eye: among the Huitchol people with Flores en el desierto, the Totonaks with Warriors of the Sun (a spectacular version of the Sundance on its way to extinction before the young generation brought it back to life), amend the Wiwa, Kogui and Arhuaco peoples of Santa Maria (Colombia) with Why do you attack coca? Traditional Inuit knowledge dialogues with modern science in Qapirangajug: Inuit Knowledge and Climate Change by Zac Kunuk (Atanarjuat, the Fast Runner). Canadian mining corporations are denounced in Le Business de l’or au Guatemala.

The Uluit, Champions of the North
presents women athletes who are also mothers, sisters, teachers, midwives and community organizers. And a special evening at Blue Sunshine (a co-presentation with Fantasia), a retrospective of Mi’gmaq filmmaker Jeff Barnaby’s “gore” movies that will be a sight. Not to overlook the Wapikoni shorts – some of which come from Bolivia.


First Peoples’ Festival will present three major concerts. The first, in chronological order, will be Arauco, de sève et de sang where the Forestare ensemble will perform the Canadian premiere of the work by contemporary Chilean composer Oscar Farias titled Arauco por fuerte, principal y poderosa, a work in eight movements for guitars and double bass, inspired by an epic poem by Alonso de Ercilla (1533-1594); the work is a tribute to the Mapuche people’s resistance against the Spanish invader. Works by Atikamekw composer Pascal Koukouchi Sasseville will round out the program. August 1, at the auditorium of the Grande bibliothèque, tickets on sale from June 26.

Next, we will host major free shows at the Loto-Québec stage, which will be built at Place des Festivals in the Quartier des Spectacles. On Thursday evening, August 4, Anishnabe rapper Samian will present his show Rap Incantations at 8:30 p.m. This show kicks off the First Peoples’ Festival activities at Place des festivals, which will continue throughout the weekend. On Friday evening, August 5, Élisapee Isaac will face the four directions and present a show on the same stage, North-South. A star amidst the stars, the Inuit songstress will shine on brightly.

Benefit concert for the First Peoples’ Festival with the Forestare ensemble
Monday, August 1 - 8:00 pm
Grande Bibliothèque
Free admission
Wednesday, August 3 - 6:30 pm
Musée McCord
Free concert with Samian and his guests
Thursday, August 4 - 8:30 pm
Place des festivals
Free Concert with Élisapie Isaac and her guests
Friday, August 5 - 8:30 pm
Place des festivals

Visual Arts

Maison de la culture Notre-Dame-de-Grâce presents two Quebec Amerindian artists: the urban work of Raymond Dupuis, a Malecite artist, in the form of an impressive 90 ft mural, echoes Jacques Newashish’s work drawing upon the burnt forest surrounding Wemotaci. Photomontages by Akwiranoron Martin Loft (a Mohawk from Kahnawake) and Chris Bose (a N’laka’pamux from British Columbia) at the Canadian Guild of Crafts depict the theme Travel Guides. The young Mohawk artists at work at the Centre de l’image et de l’estampe de Mirabel present their recent work at Kanehsatake. The Matshinanu/Nomades exhibition will continue at the Grande Bibliothèque until September 25.
Imaginary gardens of Kanehsatake
Thursday, August 4 - 8:00 pm
Maison de la culture Notre-Dame-de-Grâce
Dreaming the Earth
May 25 - September 21
Grande Bibliothèque
May 20 - August 7
Musée McCord
Installation et toiles de Jacques Néwashish (Atikamekw de Wemotaci)
May 28 - August 13
Maison de la culture Notre-Dame-de-Grâce
Composite mural by Raymond Dupuis (Wolustuk)
May 28 - August 13
Maison de la culture Notre-Dame-de-Grâce
July 21 - August 9
Guilde canadienne des Métiers d’art


Spectacle littéraire et musical avec Joséphine Bacon, Domingo Cisneros, Naomi Fontaine et Dramane Koné
Tuesday, August 2 - 7:00 pm
Grande Bibliothèque
Free admission
Wednesday, August 3 - 6:30 pm
Musée McCord
Friday, August 5 - 3:00 pm
l’Autre marché Angus

Revisioning the Americas through indigenous cinema

August 4-5 2011 / Montreal & Kanhawake 
Conferences and panel discussions with filmmakers, producers, scholars and other guests
Free admission! With simultaneous translation!
Info : www.gira.info

Presented by:
Groupe interdisciplinaire de recherche sur les Amériques

In collaboration with:
Terres en vues, Réseau DIALOG, Kanien'kehá:ka Onkwawén:na Raotitióhkwa
As part of Revisioning the Americas through indigenous cinema
Thursday, August 4 - 12:00 pm
Institut national de la recherche scientifique (INRS)
As part of Revisioning the Americas through indigenous cinema
Thursday, August 4 - 6:00 pm
NFB Cinema
As part of Revisioning the Americas through indigenous cinema
Friday, August 5 - 9:00 am
Kahnawake's Legion Hall

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