Celebrating Indigenous filmmakers at TIFF



For people who aren't familiar with Thomas King's book the inconvenient Indian, how do you describe it? It's a difficult book to describe because Thomas covers so much ground but really it's the history of colonization in North America but told through his lens so he uses humor I. It's funny. He says to me he always disarms people with his humor, and then he pulls out the knife and. I really feel that that expresses the book in the best way because there can be a moment where you're just running along listening to historian. He's a fantastic storyteller, and then you're laughing and next thing you know it's a Gut Punch and I feel that capture the spirit of indigenous people we go through a lot of things and it can be really tough but we always have the ability to laugh at it and we have such a good sense of. Humor despite some of the atrocities we end up living in our lives and I feel like, Thomas Really encapsulates Ivan this book and do you remember when you first picked up the book and read it and you know what impact it had on you I do I read it around the time it first came out and it was not long after that that I ended up going to standing rock to document the occupation against the Dakota access pipeline there and I'd never thought about making the book into a film but when I was in standing rock, I saw a lot of those ideas that are in Thomas's. Enacted on the ground in the front lines and when I came back from standing rock. I guess that was when I really started to think about making it into a film and the book the inconvenient Indian it's pretty genre defying. It's you know unconventional in so many ways it blends history and humor and personal narrative from Thomas Kings perspective. How did you approach adapting all of those things from the book to the Big Screen? Yeah, it was actually very intimidating in the beginning when Jesse, Wendy and Stuart Henderson the producers of the film when they approached me to adopt the book. My initial reaction was I'm not a historian I'm not an academic I can't do this, and then on the publisher sent me an illustrated version of the book and those illustrations spanned everything from Thomas? King's own photographs in his travels to old posters from the original land settlement posters when candidate was trying to entice settlers to come here and occupy lands and I think that got me really thinking about the history that. Media has played in the misrepresentation of Dennis peoples in this country. One of my favorite moments in the film is a hunting scene, and early in the film, You bring in a clip from the nineteen twenty, two movie nuke of the North, and that movie represents the Innuendo as primitive but you show us a contemporary hunting scene So you kind of flip the script and Wayne. Can You? Can you tell us why? Was that important to show contemporary hunting nook of the north is an interesting film because when that was being recorded, it was considered one of the first feature documentaries and and it was recorded from Robert Flaherty who was asking people to hunt with spears, and when at the time they were actually hunting with rifles and so he was actually setting them back in time and this is where I think this. This perpetuates the stereotype that. People are stuck in the past where this nineteenth century representation of a dead Indiana's I use those words meaning the Thomas. King words from his book dead Indian or we're stuck with leathers and feathers, and we're a stereotypical romanticized version of ourselves but we exist in the now and many of our cultural practices and traditions are existing with us right now

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