Drunktown’s Finest, Grand Prize at Los Angeles Outfest, awaited in Montreal with its director Navajo director Sydney Freeland next week for First Peoples’ Festival, has won the Grand Jury Award at the 32nd LGBT Los Angeles Outfest, for her feature film Drunktown’s Finest. The screenplay invites us to follow three young Navajos at the crossroads. One of the characters, Felixia John (played by Carmen Moore) is a transsexual. Sydney Freeland broke with taboo by casting a real transgender Navajo in the role. The film, which had its world premiere at the last Sundance festival, will have its Montreal premiere in the presence of its director, on August 1st at Cinémathèque québécoise, which will host most of the First Peoples’ Festival 2014 screenings.
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Directors from round the world will be converging upon Montreal for the 24th edition of the festival. Cyril Morin, the renowned film score composer, who commenced as director with The Activist (USA-France 2014) will be present for the Canadian premiere of his feature film, a prison thriller set against the armed occupation of Wounded Knee by American Indian Movement fighters in 1973.
Ellen-Astri Lundby will come to present Joikefeber (Norway 2013), on the renaissance of a Sami vocal genre whose tradition is fading away. From Finland, Donagh Coleman, a documentarian specializing in Himalayan cultures, will come with his singular Sanasaattaja, a documentary about a Tibetan shepherd, the guardian of the oral tradition of the tale of King Gesar, the largest known literary work with over one million verses (!).
It is an honour for the Festival, and for Montreal, to host such prestigious filmmakers who come to present strong works that bear witness to cultural continuity of the languages and cultures of the First Peoples of the Americas and the world, beyond imperialist steamrollers.
The 24th First Peoples Festival will be from July 30th to August 5th 2014.