Rezolution Pictures’ compelling and controversial film documentary, One More River, has been nominated for a Gemini Award.
The film will be competing for the Donald Brittain Award for the Best Social/Political Documentary Program. The Gemini Awards, which recognize the best in Canadian Television, will air November 19 on Global TV at 8 pm. This year marks the award ceremony’s 20th anniversary.
“It was one of the big moments in Cree history and we felt it needed to be recorded for future generations,” said Executive Producer Ernest Webb. “I wish there had been a film like this when the first James Bay Agreement came in the early 70s.”
The documentary, which was directed by Tracey Deer and Neil Diamond, followed important players in the opposition to the Paix des Braves Agreement, signed in February 2002.
It caused an uproar among the former Grand Council of the Cree leadership and became an issue in the recent elections for Grand Chief. Once it was released, a point-by-point critique of the movie appeared on the Grand Council’s website. The anonymous writer accused the filmmakers of staging scenes and skewing the facts.
“I don’t think we had a pre-conceived notion of what the film would be. We just knew that we had to get the process (on film),” said Webb. “We also wanted to explore the issues that affect the Crees. We visited many people that were affected either by logging, squatters or the youth who need jobs. We also followed the opposition that emerged during the process.” Fierce competition from other films such as The Take and Runaway Grooms has Webb excited, in a nervous sort of way. “I don’t know if it’s deserving (of a Gemini), but I’m very honoured that it has been acknowledged. It came as a real shock because we never knew it was even up for consideration.”
“I think in Cree territory people saw little bits of what was happening and then when they saw the film a lot of people said, ‘I didn’t know it was like that.’ So I think that we succeeded in giving people a picture of the process and of the issues facing them,” he said.
Rezolution Pictures has come a long way in the past five years and is now considered a major player in the Native film business.
“We put our blood, sweat and tears into this because we knew we were recording not only Cree history but Quebec’s as well.”