Local filmmaker Lisa Jodoin hosted the screening of six striking short films at the Fredericton Public Library on April 14.
The shorts were created during the collaborative project led by the Regent Park Film Festival and the Charles Street Video artist-run centre in Toronto. The project, Home Made Visible, aimed “to reflect on the power of re-claiming, re-framing and personalizing the practice and places of archives.”
Seven Indigenous and visible minority artists, including one sibling pair, were chosen to make the thoughtful videos and an art installation through a mentored collaborative process that brought them together in Toronto.
Titled Anishkutapeu (to tie a knot/to have great grandchildren in Innu), Jodoin’s own film features the filmmaker’s search for her ancestral roots, in the archived documents of an ethnographer, Frank Gouldsmith Speck, who documented members of her family’s Innu community of Uashat, near Sept-Îles in Quebec. Using archival pictures and interviews of community members, the film weaves the fragmentary account of Jodoin’s roots.
Maya Bastian’s short film, Arrival Archives, entwines the particular immigration stories of a Congolese and a Sri Lankan family through family interviews and personal household archives in the form of home videos. The film shows the similarities in the integration processes of both families and features the individual families gathering for meals.
Métis filmmaker Nadine Arpin linked Indigenous history and a newcomer’s tale in her short film, Portrait of a Zamboni Driver. Along with delving into the history of residential schools, the film tells the story of Luis España, a Colombian man who marries into an Indigenous family in Sioux Lookout in Northern Ontario. The two narratives coalesce in the rink, omnipresent in Canadian communities, no matter how small.
Jennifer Dysart’s film, Caribou in the Archive, reconstructs the role Indigenous women would have had in the caribou hunt. It begins with a mysterious VHS tape from the 1990s given to her by a relative which featured a woman hunter named Violet and features National Film Board footage of the caribou.
Two other more experimental films by Aeyliya Husain and siblings Parastoo and Faraz Anoushahpour round out the collection of movies. Unfortunately, Melisse Watson’s art installation, also prepared during the project, was not presented in Fredericton.
From April 3 to April 24, the collection of short films is viewable at the Fredericton Public Library on designated computers. On April 18, filmmakers Lisa Jodoin and Nadine Arpin will hold a workshop around the theme of ‘Memento: Archiving Memory.’ For more information go to: https://www.facebook.com/events/391410821465336/
Sophie M. Lavoie, a member of the NB Media Co-op Editorial Board, writes about art and culture.