Teueikan Award – Creation
Grand prize: THE HEALING WINDS by Joël Montañez
At the precise point starting from which a true artist is able to speak out against reality as if it were a fiction in which we believe too innocently, Joël Montañez has set up his camera and turned his lens towards a Northern village and Inuit faces, including female lead Reepa Arreak’s sublimely pained countenance. The poverty of the means at the filmmaker’s disposal, far from confining him to creative indigence, seems on the contrary to have opened doors to inventiveness to him, letting the blast of polar winds that gives his film its title penetrate his work.
For this freedom of expression that eliminates borders between genres, while casting light on imperceptible historical imprints that have shaped the present, for fictional craftsmanship that makes the underlying reality of things surge up like a geyser, after cracking open the imaginary worlds veiling it; for this sovereign originality in form that, with rigour and sensitivity, makes visible the intergenerational traumas affecting the lives of Inuit communities, beyond the image,
2nd prize: TUNTEYH O EL RUMOR DE LAS PIEDRAS by Marina Rubino
Far from cinematographic pretentions aiming to endow images with all the weight of reality, here is a documentary that adopts the patient rhythm of Guarani speech and lets itself be infused with the spiritual fluidity of the world as seen by Amerindians.
For the osmotic relation it establishes with an Indigenous reality too complex to be grasped by an outside eye; for the depiction in film of time lived day by day in a Guarani community, suspended between millennial wisdom and adaptation to the present, for its cinematographic approach full of deference to the mystery of life, at once an ethical posture and an homage to Amerindian thought.
Rigoberta Menchu Award – Communities
First prize: LE CHANT DE LA FLEUR by Jacques Dochamps, José Gualinga
The narration is not by an anonymous, faraway voice, as we think for a moment as the film begins. It is in the first person singular, told by the wife of the chief of a Sarayacu village, the account of a collective struggle for the integrity of the land the survival of an Amazonian First Nation depends on, as well as the chronicle of a people’s victory over a petroleum multinational.
For a work that reminds us that the North-South binary is out of date now that threats are global; that in the 21st century, humanity can not be divided up according to geography and culture but only by the stance taken by each person: revolt or submission, in the face of economic machines that destroy natural environments and human societies;
For a convincing demonstration, with direct evidence, that the words solidarity and hope still have meaning and that a resolute Indigenous community can succeed in making the most voracious multinationals back down despite their ogreish appetite for destruction.
2nd prize: CRAZYWATER (EAU DE FEU) by Dennis Allen
Alcohol, a powerful painkiller, leads to oblivion. It creates solidarity among drinkers, micro-communities of consumers joining in the joy of ethylic celebrations as in the misery of the morning after. It destroys lives, while making lives momentarily bearable. It cheers and it kills; its fire warms, sets afire, burns and reduces to ashes.
For a man, overcoming alcoholism is more than changing his own life; it means wanting to change LIFE itself. Dennis Allen’s documentary reminds us that while alcohol has become a part of Amerindian history, never for the better, and almost always for the worst, overcoming this intimate enemy is a truly revolutionary process.
Award: HE WHO DREAMS by Dana Claxton. For the convincing visual depiction of a dreamlike experience, for the gentle parody of polished images with a typically “Claxtonian” plasticity; for visual creativity that fearlessly rips up the conventions that clutter the imagery associated with Amerindians
Award: The Orphan and the Polar Bear, by Neil Christopher
For a faithful cinematic transposition of a tale from Inuit imagination; for the quality of the animation that fully conveys the dramatic nature of a story that is part of the rich legacy of Northern legends
Séquences Award for best documentary:
Award: SANANSAATTAJA, by Donagh Coleman, Lharitgso
An image of Tibet that is rarely, or more likely never seen; a literary work passed down by Shamanic vision, an illiterate shepherd who is a great man of letters in his own culture and who, due to this unusual viewpoint, has a novel view of the contemporary world: the portrait of a Tibetan bard who bears the Saga of King Gesar, a colossal Tibetan epic.
APTN Award: RHYMES FOR YOUNG GHOULS by Jeff Barnaby
You don’t put on white gloves to tell a dark story. “What the hell use is kinoglaz, the camera as eye, when we need cinema that packs a punch?” Eisenstein said to Vertov. Putting on his boxing gloves, a young and angry Mi’gmaq filmmaker has given us a lot to see. Borrowing from Hollywood storylines and genre movies, he succeeded in conveying the critical mass of violence and frustration that decades of colonialism, repression and marginalization have left as a legacy to the First Nations.
The end result is a dense, paroxysmal and incantatory work whose force of impact shook the public and critics when it premiered in autumn 2013.
Young Hope Award / Mainfilm: SAYACHAPIS, by Mar Y Sol
The concentration camp experience of residential schools has left great precipices in the souls of those who endured them. The demons that emerge from those places continue to harass survivors. To overcome them, sometimes it takes an entire life. And a great deal of courage. That is what is shown with no superfluous effects, with the pared-down but extremely effective resources of direct cinema.
Award: SAYACHAPIS by Mar Y Sol
Special favourite from the Fabrique culturelle Télé-Québec: La tête haute by Christopher Grégoire.
Life is a fight. Not against adversaries but first and foremost against your own weaknesses. A very young filmmaker displays astonishing maturity both in his life as in his short film.