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Films & Videos: Top Ten Lists

Films for Indigenous and Pride Month

8th Fire: It's Time

It's Time! challenges Canadians with this reality: if we don't improve our relationship with Aboriginal people, we will cripple our economy. Both the footage and the argument come in high definition and make the case that Canada is changing beneath our feet. In a dynamic 2-minute walk through 500 years of history, 8th Fire host, Wab Kinew explains how ancient Wampum belts hold a clue to the future. The Supreme Court of Canada now confirms the promises they hold as the truth. The First Nations of this country were not conquered. They signed treaties to share the land, and this means Aboriginal people must be consulted and accommodated when anyone wants to dig, explore or develop on their land.

Telling Our Stories

Two short films, one narrative and one documentary, explore how youth approach LGBT history and politics. In Don't Erase My History, a group of Bay Area youth takes us on a quest for the very history that has "no name" in their schools. Together they open archival closets and talk with LGBTQ artists, activists, and pioneers. In a world where their queer history is still regularly erased, what will they discover? In CHANGE, Jamie is an African-American teenager grappling with his sexual identity on the night Barack Obama is elected president and Proposition 8 - the voter initiative to eliminate same-sex marriage - is passed. When one of his gang initiates the bullying of an openly gay classmate, Jamie uses his wits to try and prevent it, but when things don't go the way he predicted, he is forced to face his fears head on.

 

 

Mohawk Wisdom Keepers

Documentary by Danny Beaton, a Mohawk of the Turtle Clan presently living in Toronto depicts the traditional teachings and beliefs of noted Mohawks. Harriet Jock of Akwesasne, Judy Swamp of Akwesasne, and Tom Porter formerly of Akwesasne are depicted in this film. The women and men speak of medicines, the great law of peace and keeping our world sacred for the future seven generations that will come.

Pride Talks

Filmed during the WorldPride Human Rights Conference in June 2014 in Toronto this documentary series features prominent LGBTQ activists from across Canada. Intimate interviews combine with clips from their presentations as they discuss the challenges and human rights issues they are taking on through their work. 

 

Jingle Dress

The film documents the healing journey of Jules Koostachin (Cree, Attawapiskat). In honour of resolving the harm done to her family because her mother was held against her will in the Canadian Native Residential School System, Jules invites a first generation Canadian of European descent to be her witness while she pursues the dream of dancing at a powwow for the first time in a Jingle Dress. In 2004 Jules Koostachin was a single mother and executive director at the only native women's shelter in Toronto. Director James Bufffin grew up in Toronto and had never heard of the Canadian Native Residential School System prior to meeting Jules. His acceptance of her purpose, to heal from the damage caused by her mother's ten-year childhood incarceration, was based entirely on friendship. Awareness of the amount of trust placed in him only dawned as the depths of the trauma were shared over time.

Screaming Queens

Tells the little-known story of the first known act of collective, violent resistance to the social oppression of queer people in the United States - a 1966 riot in San Francisco's impoverished Tenderloin neighborhood, three years before the famous gay riot at New York's Stonewall Inn.

In Jesus' Name: Shattering the Silence of St. Anne's Residential School

In Jesus' Name: Shattering the Silence of St. Anne's Residential School is a poignant all-Indigenous English and Cree-English collaborative documentary film that breaks long-held silences imposed upon children who were interned at the notoriously violent St. Anne's Residential School in Fort Albany First Nation, Ontario. First Nations children from all over the western James Bay region suffered isolation from family and community as well as physical, sexual, spiritual and cultural abuse at the hands of the Catholic Oblates of Mary Immaculate and the Sisters of Charity. Some were abused by other students who had learned violent behaviours from their 'caregivers.' While Chief Wilton Littlechild imparts some of what he learned from his six years as a Truth and Reconciliation Commissioner, seven St. Anne's survivors publicly share their acutely emotional stories, some for the very first time. The film also brings to light how, in this era of truth and reconciliation, the Canadian government continues to try to silence knowledge of abuses that occurred at St. Anne's by withholding evidence from the survivors as they seek compensation for harms done to them when they were just children.

Searching 4 Sandeep

Single, frustrated and lonely in the middle of Sydney's thriving gay community, director Poppy Stockell decides to "research" a light-hearted look at the lesbian Internet-dating scene. To her surprise and delight, she forges a deep online connection with an English woman, Sandeep Virdi. When their innocent flirtation turns into true attachment, Poppy sends Sandeep a camcorder and viewers watch as Poppy and Sandeep's virtual relationship blooms into a poignant love complicated by the reality that Sandeep is Sikh, lives at home with her conservative family, and has kept her sexuality a secret.

 

Two Spirits

Examines the role of two-spirit people in the Navajo culture in the context of the story of a gay youth named Fred Martinez. Martinez was a nádleehí or a , who was murdered in a hate crime at the age of sixteen. Discusses the traditional Native American perspective on gender and sexuality and the need for a balanced interrelationship between the feminine and masculine.

Juchitan Queer Paradise

This is a fascinating portrait of Juchitan, a small Mexican city near the Guatemalan border. Here homosexuality is fully accepted; gays are simply a third gender. If a boy shows a predisposition to homosexuality his family will rejoice and be thankful for receiving what is considered a blessing. In Juchitan a man who wants to be a woman only has to dress like a woman to be considered and treated as a woman by the entire community. The film profiles three gay people: a teacher, a hairdresser and a shop owner. In other ways this is a truly unique society. The population of Zapotec Indians resist the homogeneous trends of globalization. While Indian languages are endangered everywhere else in the world, in Juchitan, the Zapotec language is spoken proudly at home, at municipal meetings, in poetry, song and theatre. Celebration plays a crucial role in this society. Fiestas called velas (candles) are held frequently and can last up to a week! The film concludes with the colorful fiesta, the "Vela des folles" which the gay men featured in the film organize each year.