First Peoples Festival – Film, Music, Food
The 27th edition of the Festival Présence Autochtone / First Peoples Festival is under way, and this year it presents an expanded version that besides the movie section will also include music, poetry, and gastronomy. This year’s event started this Wednesday with an opening ceremony in which the director of the festival, André Dudemaine hailed the achievements of the indigenous artists whose works will be shown during the eight-day event.
The movies represent a diverse perspective of native life, not only in Canada but also in countries such as Guatemala, Finland, Russia, the United States, and Mexico. There is also a variety of genres and types of movies; some are dramas like “Martirio” a Brazilian film by Vincent Carelli, co directed by Tita and Ernesto de Carvalho that recounts the story of a major massacre of indigenous people in that country. “Icaros” a Peru-USA co-production directed by Leonor Caraballo and Matteo Norzi, is another drama focused on the pervasive effects of the hallucinogenic plant ayahuasca. The Australian film “Zach’s Ceremony” directed by Aaron Peterson, for its part, features the contrast and conflict between a young aborigine and modern culture. There are also many documentaries and some animation films, as well as many short films, some of an experimental nature.
Besides movies, the First Peoples Festival features many musical, theatrical, and visual arts events to be presented at the Place des Festivals. Those who want to experience indigenous gastronomy will have their chance until August 6 when Chef George Lenser will be preparing some of his original creations under the title of “Bouffe de rue à l’Amérindienne” at the Place des Festivals. He said: “In a culinary world in constant change, I want to help indigenous cuisine to make its mark. Following the steps of distinguished chefs over all these years, I think I can represent my people and their heritage with dignity by presenting a sample of innovative and contemporary gastronomy that is authentically indigenous.”
Also part of the festival is the Desfile Nuestroamericano de l’Amitié (Our Americas Friendship Parade), to be held this Saturday at 3 p.m. whose starting point is Dorchester Sq. from where the marchers will go east on Ste. Catherine to finish at the Place des Festivals. Different groups representing indigenous peoples from 32 countries, mostly from Latin America, will participate in this event, according to organizer Gladys Navarro.
The First Peoples Festival takes place between August 2 and 9. For detailed information about the shows, prices, and venues, please visit http://www.presenceautochtone.ca/en
Feature image: “Indian Time” by Carl Morasse, is a documentary about Inuit life