#TIFF2019; #NFB; #WorldPremiere
Toronto, Aug 5 (Canadian-Media): National Film Board of Canada (NFB) 's two feature-length documentaries by Alanis Obomsawin and Yung Chang and three short films by Theodore Ushev, Christopher Auchter and Sandra Ignagni would be premiered at the the Toronto International Film Festival (TIFF 2019), media reports said.
National Film Board of Canada. Image credit: Twitter handle
The feature length documentaries include, Jordan River Anderson, The Messenger, the 53rd film by legendary Abenaki director Alanis Obomsawin, as well as award-winning filmmaker Yung Chang’s This Is Not a Movie (TINAM Inc./Sutor Kolonko/NFB).
Three NFB short films to be world premiered at TIFF 2019 are: The Physics of Sorrow, from a Academy Award nominee Theodore Ushev (Blind Vaysha, 2016), Now Is the Time by Christopher Auchter, and Highway to Heaven: A Mosaic in One Mile by Sandra Ignagni.
Jordan River Anderson, The Messenger (66 min.), Masters program
Born with a genetic muscular disorder, Jordan River Anderson spent his first years in a Winnipeg hospital, far from his home on the Norway House Cree Nation Reserve. After he got clearance to move into a family setting, a between federal and provincial authorities over costs prevented him to make the move and ultimately led to his death in hospital before his sixth birthday.
His story inspired the creation of “Jordan’s Principle”: a child-first principle which ensures that First Nations children get equitable access to government-funded services. But while Jordan’s Principle was passed into law, many Indigenous parents still faced obstacles. But long legal fight culminates with a powerful victory for Indigenous kids, their families and communities.
This Is Not a Movie (106 min.), TIFF Docs program
For more than 40 years, Robert Fisk has reported on some of the most violent conflicts in the world. Yung Chang’s This Is Not a Movie captures Fisk in action as he travels into landscapes devastated by war, pursuing the facts and firing reports back home to reach an audience of millions. In his pursuit of the facts, Fisk was confronted with controversy. Nevertheless, Fisk’s resolve to document reality was a struggle to speak the truth. This documentary is distributed in Canada by Blue Ice Docs.
The Physics of Sorrow (27 min.), Short Cuts program was inspired by Georgi Gospodinov, Bulgarian writer's novel which tracks an unknown man’s memories of his youth in Bulgaria, his rootless and sad adulthood in Canada, struggling to find home, family and self. TIFF is presenting the English-language version of The Physics of Sorrow, narrated by Rossif Sutherland, with a special guest-voice appearance by Donald Sutherland, directed and animated by Theodore Ushev, and produced by Marc Bertrand and executive produced by Julie Roy for the NFB’s French Program Animation Studio.
Now Is the Time (16 min.), Short Cuts program
When internationally renowned Haida carver Robert Davidson was only 22 years old, he carved the first new totem pole on British Columbia’s Haida Gwaii in almost a century. On the 50th anniversary of the pole’s raising, Haida filmmaker Christopher Auchter steps easily through history to revisit that day in August 1969, when the entire village of Old Massett gathered to celebrate the event that would signal the rebirth of the Haida spirit. Resplendent with animation, emotional interviews, and original footage shot by what was then known as the NFB’s Indian Film Crew, Now Is the Time captures three generations of Eagle and Raven clan working together to raise the pole in the old way, inching it higher and higher, until it stands proud and strong against the clear blue sky.
Auchter made his directorial debut in 2017 with the NFB animated short The Mountain of SGaana, named Best Animated Film or Series for Young Audiences – Ages 6–12 at the Ottawa International Animation Festival. Now Is the Time isproduced by Selwyn Jacob and executive produced by Shirley Vercruysse, with Teri Snelgrove as associate producer, for the NFB’s BC and Yukon Studio.
Highway to Heaven: A Mosaic in One Mile (17 min.), Short Cuts program
A place utterly unique in British Columbia and the world, Richmond’s No. 5 Road, also known as the “Highway to Heaven,” hosts a multitude of faiths. Side by side are numerous houses of worship, including Buddhist temples, a Sikh gurdwara, Hindu and Swami temples, Shia and Sunni mosques, Christian churches, and Jewish, Islamic and Christian schools. In Highway to Heaven, Sandra Ignagni merges beautiful, carefully framed images with a symphonic soundscape that illuminates the intimate lives of the faithful—in an evocative documentary that is both a meditation on multiculturalism and a subtle critique of the tensions that underlie cultural diversity in Canada today.
Ignagni’s previous films have screened at festivals around the world, with her short Ranger garnering the Matrix Award for Outstanding Achievement at the 2017 Vancouver International Women in Film Festival. Highway to Heaven is produced and executive produced by Shirley Vercruysse, with Teri Snelgrove as associate producer, for the NFB’s BC and Yukon Studio.
About the NFB
The NFB is Canada’s public producer of award-winning creative documentaries, auteur animation, interactive stories and participatory experiences. NFB producers are embedded in communities across the country, from St. John’s to Vancouver, working with talented creators on innovative and socially relevant projects. The NFB is a leader in gender equity in film and digital media production, and is working to strengthen Indigenous-led production, guided by the recommendations of Canada’s Truth and Reconciliation Commission. NFB productions have won over 7,000 awards, including 24 Canadian Screen Awards, 21 Webbys, 12 Oscars and more than 100 Genies. To access NFB works, visit NFB.ca or download its apps for mobile devices.
(Reporting by Asha Bajaj)