NFB Launches ‘Indigenous Cinema’
By Pat Mullen
The National Film Board of Canada (NFB) adds a dedicated online hub for Indigenous voices with the new Indigenous Cinema stream. The collection features over 200 NFB titles by Indigenous filmmakers throughout the history of the Film Board. Indigenous Cinema, aka #NFBIndigenous, is the newest step in the NFB’s three-year Indigenous action plan announced last summer
The streaming channel lets users navigate the NFB archive by year, subject, director, and, significantly, by nations/people. The latter option invites viewers to appreciate the nuances and histories that differ in communities from across the land.
Films in the collection include, but are not limited to, classics such as Mike Kanentakeron Mitchell’s 1969 film You Are on Indian Land, which was credited to Mort Ransen for directing only until recently, and Willie Dunn’s groundbreaking Challenge for Change short The Ballad of Crowfoot. Alanis Obomsawin’s filmography encompasses the full scope and legacy of Indigenous filmmaking at the NFB with available works such as Christmas at Moose Factory (newly released in French), Incident at Restigouche, Kanehsatake: 270 Years of Resistance, and her 2016 epic We Can’t Make the Same Mistake Twice, which is her most recently available film on the site.
Other newly released works include Raymond Yakeleya’s voyage through the Northwest Territories The Last Mooseskin Boat, Rosie Bonnie Ammaaq’s elegiac Nowhere Land, Dana Claxton’s Yuxweluptun: Man of Masks about painter Lawrence Paul Yuxweluptun, and Diane Obomsawin’s wonderful animated confessional I Like Girls. Significantly, the channel offers two works by Mosha Michael: The Hunters (Asivaqtiin) and Natsik Hunting , which is the first Canadian movie by an Inuk filmmaker. The hub also features short entries in the Naked Island series by Elle-Maija Tailfeathers, David Seitz, and Amanda Strong, and the Souvenir quartet by Caroline Monnet, Michelle Latimer, Jeff Barnaby, and Kent Monkman.
The NFB is currently leading the Canadian film industry (and much of the field worldwide) in advancing opportunities for historically underrepresented filmmakers. Earlier this month, the Board announced that it was far above track to meet its goal for gender parity in production with the percentage of women directing projects actually surpassing men. By leading the charge, the NFB encourages more inclusive spaces for self-representation for improved relationships between audiences and communities.