National Board of Canada Celebrates Alanis Obomsawin
April 17, 2008–The National Film Board of Canada is pleased to announce that Alanis Obomsawin is marking her 40th year with the NFB–and she will be doubly honoured this spring. She will receive a Governor Generals Performing Arts Award for Lifetime Achievement, and New Yorks Museum of Modern Art (MoMA) has chosen Alanis and her films to be the subject of a major retrospective from May 14-26.
Alanis is the First Lady of First Nations Film, says Tom Perlmutter, Commissioner of the National Film Board of Canada. For four decades now shes made her creative home at the NFB, putting the stories of Indigenous Peoples on film with consummate grace and courage. We are thrilled that MoMA, one of the worlds most influential art institutions, will be the inaugural venue for this touring retrospective along with the other prestigious museums that are presenting her work in the near future.
Curated by Sally Berger, Assistant Curator of MoMAs Department of Film, the two-week retrospective includes 12 films and begins on May 14 with a double bill featuring her first film, Christmas at Moose Factory, and one of her recent films, Waban-aki: People from Where the Sun Rises, in which she explores her own Abenaki culture. Obomsawin will be in attendance May 14-18 to discuss her films with the audience.
The Museum of Fine Arts in Boston is also hosting an Obomsawin retrospective, from May 28 to 31, with similar initiatives planned in other North American cities.
Also featured in the retrospective is her extraordinary Oka Quartet Kanehsatake: 270 Years of Resistance; My Name is Kahentiiosta; Spudwrench Kahnawake Man; and Rocks at Whiskey Trench four films inspired by the 1990 Oka Crisis, an event that galvanized Aboriginal resistance across North America. Audra Simpson and Faye Ginsburg, scholars assisting MoMA, refer to the Oka Quartet as arguably the most important narrative and historical archive of Native-settler relations in existence.
The four films are now being re-released as by the National Film Board as a commemorative DVD box-set, 270 Years of Resistance, complete with a booklet of essays.
In a career that has taken her from the folk clubs of Greenwich Village to the barricades of Aboriginal protest, Obomsawin has accumulated a long list of honours, including the Officer of Order of Canada and many honorary degrees. On May 2 she receives the Governor Generals Performing Arts Award for Lifetime Artistic Achievement.
About the NFB:
The National Film Board of Canada (NFB) produces and distributes bold and distinctive social issue documentaries, auteur animation, alternative drama and innovative digital content that provide the world with a unique Canadian perspective. The NFB leads the way in artistic and technical advances in cinema, creating media for a changing world. As Canada's public producer and distributor, the NFB is committed to developing emerging filmmakers from every region of the country, reflecting Canada's cultural diversity and empowering Canadian communities to share their own stories. Since its founding in 1939, the NFB has created over 13,000 productions and won over 5000 awards, including 12 Oscars and more than 90 Genies. For more information about the NFB or to order films, go to www.nfb.ca or call 1-800-267-7710. For full screening details please go to www.moma.org
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