(September 7, 2017)
WHEN THEY AWAKE, a powerful documentary celebrating Indigenous Canadian musicians, has been selected for the Opening Night Gala at the Calgary International Film Festival, on September 20, 2017. The film premiered at the Montreal World Film Festival in late August, coming out with the jury’s 3rd prize in the Documentaries of the World section. With strong linkages to the North, the Northwest Territories (NWT) has much to celebrate as well.
Click here to watch the WHEN THEY AWAKE preview.
The Department of Industry, Tourism and Investment’s Film Commission was proud to support the project with its NWT Film Rebate Program.
The production was partly filmed in Yellowknife, Tuktoyaktuk, Inuvik, Fort Simpson and Nahanni National Park. Additional filming also took place in Fort Smith, Hay River and Norman Wells for Way Up North, a separate project by the same team.
The list of NWT artists and thought leaders involved is lengthy, and includes lead roles by Leela Gilday, Leanne Goose, Louie Goose, and the Tuktoyaktuk Siglit Drummers and Dancers; and brief appearances by Dëneze Nakehk'o, Richard Van Camp, Carmen Braden, Hon. Gerry Kisoun, Kylik Kisoun-Taylor, the Yellowknife Dene Drummers, Tiffany Ayalik (Quantum Tangle), Hovak Johnston, Wesley Hardisty, Jesse James + Digawolf, and Charlie Furlong.
The project employed members of the NWT’s film industry including a production coordinator, sound (recording, boom operators, and FX), photographers, travel coordinators, and camera operators.
The title WHEN THEY AWAKE, was chosen from the words of Métis leader Louis Riel: "My people will sleep for 100 years, but when they awake, it will be the artists that give them their spirit back."
Directors PJ Marcellino and Hermon Farahi are the minds behind the docu-film. “Sometimes a story picks you, not the opposite”, said Marcellino. “When you’re given that responsibility, you have no choice but to find a way to make it work. We landed in Yellowknife in pursuit of a different story, but knew there was something bigger. We simply remained open-minded, reacted to the zeitgeist regarding Indigenous cultural reclamation, and took the time to deepen relationships with friends up and down the Mackenzie. That’s how we built our story.”
Calgary Film Festival Invites NWT as Guest of Honour
The 18th Calgary International Film Festival will run until October 1, 2017. NWT Film Commissioner Camilla MacEachern has been invited as a guest of honour.
“WHEN THEY AWAKE is a great example of how the NWT Film Rebate Program is intended to work,” MacEachern says.
“Enticing filmmakers to come to the Territory to shoot their films, hire local talent and build our film industry is helping to grow our industry. Having these films premiere around the world and spotlight for the Northwest Territories is promoting our industry. It’s great for our film sector, great for business and great for our economy.”