‘nîpawistamâsowin’, ‘Greetings from Free Forests’ Lead DOXA Winners

Jade Tootoosis in nîpawistamâsowin: We Will Stand Up
Photo by aAron Munson

By Pat Mullen

Tasha Hubbard’s nîpawistamâsowin: We Will Stand Up continues to be a force on the documentary circuit. The film won the Colin Low Award for Canadian Documentary last night at the awards ceremony for Vancouver’s DOXA Documentary Festival. nîpawistamâsowin won the equivalent award a week before at Hot Docs in Toronto where it opened the festival by spotlighting the ongoing fight for Indigenous rights using the death of young Cree man Colten Boushie as the case study for its call to action.

“Focusing on the Boushie family’s fight for justice in a rigged legal system, past treaty betrayals, and the legacy of residential schools – the film demonstrates the resilience and strength needed to make a safe future for Indigenous children,” said the DOXA jury. “By bringing her own family story into the film, Hubbard gives us an insightful history of Saskatchewan, with her young son as witness to all that needs to be changed as we move forward.” nîpawistamâsowin: We Will Stand Up begins its theatrical run later this month. The jury gave an honourable mention to Dark Suns, directed by Julien Elie.

The DOXA Feature Documentary Award went to Greetings from Free Forests, directed by Ian Soroka. The American-Slovenian-Croatian film, Soroka’s debut feature, had its Canadian premiere at DOXA and uses landscape portraiture to consider the Communist-led resistance during World War II. “The measured, cinematic beauty of these mountain forests, and their vast, underlying limestone caves, revealed a receptacle for both personal memories, and dramatic human history,” remarked the jury. The jury also gave an honourable mention to Midnight Traveler, directed by Hassan Fazili and Emelie Mahdavian.

On the shorts front, Time is Out of Joint, directed by Victor Arroyo, won the DOXA Short Documentary Award for its portrait of Indigenous Mexican forests exploited by the drug trade. The jury praised the film’s “unconventional style and approach that pushes the tradition of documentary storytelling into new territory.” An honourable mention went to Haven by Colin Askey, while Nathalie Berger and Leo David Hyde’s Call Me Intern won the Nigel Moore Award for Youth Programming.

It was a celebration of Indigenous women behind the camera overall on DOXA’s closing night as the recognition for nîpawistamâsowin preceded the screening of Merata: How Mum Decolonised the Screen, which pays tribute to Maori filmmaker Merata Mita and other groundbreakers like Alanis Obomsawin. Merata is now available to stream on Netflix.