Six Indigenous Artists to Envision Canada’s Future Through VR

Angry Inuk director Alethea Arnaquq-Baril is one of six filmmakers participating in Canada on Screen

By Pat Mullen

Six Indigenous filmmakers will envision Canada’s future through the power of VR. In a statement released today from TIFF, the Festival, in conjunction with imagineNATIVE, Pinnguaq, and the Initiative for Indigenous Futures, plans to speculate on the nation 150 years from now in the project 2167. Described as “an innovative virtual reality and immersive media series,” the works will present two-minute to four-minute experiences in which Canadians may enter the world of sci-fi, Canadian style, for the sesquicentennial initiative called Canada on Screen.

“Often Indigenous people are seen as stuck in the past,” said Jason Ryle, Artistic Director, imagineNATIVE. “In a year that in many ways commemorates a very complex history for Indigenous people, this project celebrates the decades to come and our role in shaping a new future for Canada. 2167 is a fantastic step in that direction.”

The filmmakers and artists participating in the project include recent Hot Docs Audience Award winner Alethea Arnaquq-Baril (Angry Inuk), Jeff Barnaby (Rhymes for Young Ghouls), Danis Goulet (Wakening), and Canadian artists Kent Monkman, Scott Benesiinaabandan, and the interdisciplinary arts collective Postcommodity.

“As Canada commemorates 150 years in 2017, we’re investing in the strong Indigenous voices who’ve historically had limited access to share their stories. We want them to open a dialogue about what the future of our country could become,” said Jesse Wente, Director of Film Programmes at TIFF Bell Lightbox. “2167 will show the power of the moving image to create a shared experience, and make a connection with Indigenous cinema’s history of creating empathy and understanding of Indigenous peoples and cultures.”

The Canada on Screen projects will appear at TIFF Bell Lightbox beginning in June 2017 and the second three at the Lightbox during imagineNATIVE in October 2017.