October 27

ImagineNative Media and Arts Festival 2021 Virtual Toronto

By Sally Warburton

ImagineNATIVE is the world’s largest presenter of Indigenous films. And it was back for a second virtual year October 19 – 24, 2021. Lots of Indigenous films from all over the world including two which BK screened virtually Solo el Mar Nos Separe and Tote Abuelo
The film title says in Spanish Solo el Mar Nos Separe – translates to Only the Ocean separates us.  It’s the documentary of two Syrian women in a refugee camp in Jordan and two Indigenous Shipibo-Konibo women in Lima, Peru. They’re separated by a huge distance but they form a connection and friendship learning about each other’s cultures and traditions while living through displacement and uncertainty.  Video chats between and scenes of their homes show beautiful, intimate moments. Directed by Christy Cauper Silvano (Shipibo-Konibo), Karoli Bautista Pizarro (Shipibo-Konibo), Khalidiya Amer Ali, Marah Mohammad Alkhateeb. 
Canadian Premiere of Tote Abuelo  – Tzotzil filmmaker Maria Sojob shares the visit with her grandfather Tote Abuelo in her ancestral home town of Chenalho, Mexico. We see the fine skill, work and time needed to weave a traditional hat. The threads of the weaving and untangling represent the complexity of her family she so wishes to know. The silences, observations and moments together show the love between grandfather and granddaughter. Director/Writer Maria Sojob (Tzotzil) shares a beautiful and intimate part of her family’s life  
One of the highlights of the ImagineNative film festival was the screening of the film BEANS.  Beans was shown on the outdoor screen at the Ontario Place Drive-In on October 21. A rainy evening didn’t prevent the ImagineNative film supporters from attending. Ontario Place Drive-In is the perfect location to view a film while social distancing in the comfort of your car…even in the rain!  BEANS is a coming of age film about a young Mohawk girl during the Oka Crisis.  She was nicknamed Beans. We see this adolescent as she deals with being a teenager, dealing with the Oka Crisis in her community and family and racial injustice. Beans directed by Tracey Deer (Mohawk) is a winner of 2 Canadian Screen Awards (Best Motion Picture and Best First Feature Film). It’s a moving film with wonderful filming, performances and direction. A festival high-light. And windshield wipers throughout the screening didn’t deter anyone!  We’re looking forward to ImagineNative 2022!

We would like to thank Damien Nelson-Want & Able Arts Consulting for the invitation