Thursday, February 4, 2010

imagineNATIVE Film & Media Arts Festival, Canada

lmagineNATIVE Film and media Arts Festival celebrated its 10th anniversary in downtown Toronto, Canada from October 14 – 18, 2009.

This ground-breaking Festival kicked off with the Honoured Elder Rose Logan (Ojibway) who shared an opening prayer with the crowd. The prayer was followed by a welcome greeting from Bryan Laforme, Chief of the Mississaugas of the New Credit First Nation. Included in the opening reception was the beautiful vocal sounds of Rosary Spence, and a performance by the White Pine Dancers, who shared in Iroquoian social song, a smoke dance, and storytelling, along with drum sounds.

The anniversary milestone was also marked through presenting a number of exciting and innovative programming initiatives including: an interactive lecture on the history of Indigenous-produced dramatic film and video by Lakota artist and scholar Dana Claxton; a program of commissioned works by the EMBARGO Collective, a group of Canadian and other international artists who have imposed strict creative limitations on each other to push their filmmaking to new levels; and an international spotlight on Nepal. The festival also featured a line-up of New Media programming tracing the roots of Indigenous online art in the exhibition ‘Code Talkers of the Digital Divide’, curated by Cree Canadian New Media Artist Cheryl L’Hirondelle.

imagineNATIVE continues to support artists and their professional development through its workshops, panels, installations, curated programs and pitch training sessions. On the last night of the festival over $12,000 in awards was handed out to fifteen outstanding artists who were selected by a jury consisting of industry and community leaders, including Cairns-based Torres Strait Islander Sio Tusafa’aaefili who won the Cynthia Lickers-Sage Award for Emerging Talent. Other Indigenous Australians in attendance for imagineNATIVE were Niyikina Actor-Director Mark Coles Smith with Layoordoo (Queen of Twilight Waters), Rima Tamou and Pauline Clague with Embargo Collective Contribution ‘First Contact’, Producer Anusha Duray with ‘Bourke Boy’, Yarning Ups Penny Smallacombe from Darwin, the United Nations Sonia Smallacombe, NITVs Kelrick Martin, Koori Film-maker Richard Frankland with the International premiere of his feature film ‘Stone Bros’, and myself: Murri New Media Artist Jenny Fraser with an animation in the experimental category ‘I am what I YAM’.

This is a quote that I like to use to describe 'I am what I YAM':

What would be the opening chapter of the Kamasutra of plant sex? A good pick would be a description of the numerous ways in which plants arrange their sexual organs: from both sexes in the same flower to sexes separated in different flowers or individuals. One widespread sexual strategy that remains an evolutionary enigma is the production of both male and bisexual flowers in the same plant, which occurs in approximately 4000 species.

-from Science

view the 2009 imagineNATIVE catalogue here:


- a White Pine Dancer at the opening ceremony

- Cheryl opens 'Code Talkers of the Digital Divide' (thats me on the right)
Photo by Nadya Kwandibens, Red Works Studio,

- still image from the animation 'I am what I yam'

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