Finally breathing a sigh of relief, André Dudemaine was happy to share that 2012 has been yet another incredibly successful year for Montreal’s annual Indigenous culture extravaganza, Terres en vues / Land InSights.
Running from July 31-August 8, this year’s festival offered an incredible mix of cinema, live music, traditional arts and crafts, culinary delights, poetry and visual arts.
“Just about everything listed happened with no cancellations. We had good weather for most of the outdoor events and we had a steady flow of people coming through to enjoy the concerts and shows,” said Dudemaine.
He was also happy to boast that the poetry evening at the Grand Bibliothèque had a full house and the film festival enjoyed jam-packed audiences. Seeing how hard it can be to get folks indoors during the heydays of summer, Dudemaine sees this as quite the feat.
With such excellent patronage from Montrealers, tourists and Indigenous peoples from Quebec and abroad, Dudemaine said he feels that this year’s festival unfolded just perfectly.
“We had five feature films this year and all of them were directed by Indigenous filmmakers. This is indicative of the development and progress being made by Indigenous directors from around the world,” said Dudemaine.
One of those films, Here I Am by Australia’s Beck Cole, was the Grand Prize winner of the festival’s Teueikan Award for Creativity, while second prize went to Sip’ohi – El lugar del Manduré, by Sebastiàn Lingiardi of Argentina.
Other winners included the CBC series 8th Fire, which picked up the Grand Prize Rigoberta Menchu Award, while second place went to Krohokrenhum: “Eu não posso morrer de graça”, by Vincent Carelli and Ernesto de Carvalho of Brazil. Granito: How to Nail a Dictator, by Pamela Yates of the United States won Best Documentary; Aci ni mictacikateriten (Je commence à m’ennuyer) by Sakay Ottawa of Canada got the Coup de coeur Télé-Québec prize and the Jeune Espoir Main Film. Best Short Film was Whakatiki by Louise Leitch of New Zealand and Amaqqut Nunaat by Canadian Neil Christopher was named Best Animated Film.
As this festival grows deeper roots with every year, this year’s added features gave voice to a new concert event for emerging Indigenous artists as well as presenting a special showcase in collaboration with the Montreal Electronic Groove festival (MEG) for a special “Electro-Choc” concert. Appealing to the young, hip and fabulous, Indigenous youth partied with Montreal’s nightlife scenesters to the sounds of A Tribe Called Red, DJ Mood and Foulane, gaining the festival a brand-new audience.
In another major first, the festival presented the world premiere of Apu ui Nepaian (I Don’t Want to Die) by director Paul Rivet on the big screen at Place des Festivals. The film focuses on three homeless Aboriginals returning to their ancestor’s way of life.
“It was great to screen this in downtown Montreal as that really is the home to the homeless,” said Dudemaine.
With so many exhilarating moments and special events with a wow-factor, Dudemaine had a hard time prioritizing what really took the prize in terms of highlights. However, he said the one thing that stood out for him was the standing ovation that followed the festival’s night of poetry.
“The standing ovation for the poets was something exceptional. You never get that kind of enthusiasm for them at a literary show,” said Dudemaine.
Next to that, having electro heavy-hitters, A Tribe Called Red playing the festival accompanied by a major visual presentation was another memorable moment for Dudemaine.
“It was incredible to see all of those fun images and to hear that fun music. The performance sent such a strong message about the Aboriginal soul, emancipation and what we are today!”
In all, around 40,000 people attended this year’s festival, making the event yet another stellar success.