Jeff Barnaby was born and raised on the rural Mi’gMaq reserve of Listuguj Quebec. A multidisciplined artist, he has won several awards for his art work, pœtry, short stories and films. His work provides a bare knuckled view of the post colonial Indians and the world they live in. Jeff Barnaby’s first short film, From Cherry English (2005), won 2 Golden Sheaf awards (Yorkton) and played in dozens of festivals including Sundance, Tribecca, Fantasia, the Vancouver International Film Fest and the Atlantic International Film Fest.
The Colony (2007), Jeff Barnaby’s second short is a gritty depiction of deception, desolation and decay. Born of an imaginative script and proficiently executed, this powerful film witnesses cockroaches and chainsaws wreak havoc during one man’s descent into madness.
Interview with Jeff Barnaby
“I’m a Mi’gMaq from Listiguj, the reserve best known because of the SQ raid on it in 1979. Alanis Obomsawin made a film about those events.
When I was very young, I became very interested in the arts, especially writing, music and drawing. But after discovering cinema and seeing the extent of prejudice against Aboriginal peoples in films, I decided to go into a filmmaking career.
It is true that my films are violent, hyperbolic and extreme. My characters intensely express the dull pain and silent despair experienced every day in our communities. I’m not going to approach the loss of our languages and the erosion of our cultures with dainty white gloves. We have only an inkling as to how much we have lost and what we are desperately missing. My films are an alarm siren. To wake people up from their lethargy, we can’t hesitate to give people a good kick in the rear end.
My next film will be feature length, a zombie story set on an Amerindian reserve.
I hope film can give Amerindians what was taken from them: pride, wanting to be what they are, to speak their languages and safeguard their cultures.”
Excerpts from the film The Colony from Jeff Barnaby
Interior night: we are inside a mobile home. Only a lamp brings a pale light in the grim place. The room is a mess and giant cockroaches are walking on the walls.
A man is lying on the bed, and he looks very feeble, sick or wounded. He has difficulty to dial a phone number. Finally, somebody responds to his phone call and the man complaints about the cockroaches that are everywhere. The interlocutor is mad because he has been wake up in the middle of the night. He hangs up and we heard only the tone of the phone while we are in the same shot in the sad and messy mobile home.