In June of 2022, through support from the GNWT department of Industry, Tourism and Investment (ITI)’s SEED Funding Program, Jonathan Antoine was able to be present for the screening of his short documentary Dene Drum Songs in Gahnihthah at the Brooklyn Film Festival in Brooklyn, New York.
Filmed by Gahnihthah (Rabbitkettle) lake in Nahanni Park National Park Reserve, Dene Drum Songs in Gahnihthah explores the importance of the Dene Drum as told by Dene elder drummer Angus Ekenele.
Jonathan said the experience was amazing, the festival organizers were wonderful, and he was thrilled when someone from the audience approached him after the screening to say they “can feel the film because of the Dene Drum and the images, and as an African, we too are connected as people with the drum so I would like to thank you and your people for showing me that there are other Indigenous people that do the same”.
Jonathan is Dene from Łı́ı́dlı̨ı̨ Kų́ę́ (Fort Simpson). He studied cinema at Vancouver’s Capilano University. He began his career as a Director/Producer as a teen interested in short films and has since built up his interest by honing his skills and eye for filmmaking, and Indigenous knowledge and culture.
Antoine now travels to share his story and his films to people on Turtle Island and beyond. He is currently waiting to see if Dene Drum Songs in Gahnihthah will be selected for LA SkinsFest, a Los Angeles based Indigenous Film Festival. LA Skins Fest is attended by many big names in film the film industry such as the cast of Reservation Dogs, and studios such as Warner Brothers and Columbia Studios.
I want to thank my Aba, my Ama, my Brother, my Sister, my Nephew, my Niece, my Aunties, my Uncles, my Relatives and my Friends, I love you all.”
Expressing his gratitude and appreciation to the Brooklyn Film Festival Team Jonathan thanked them for their hospitality, “This was a great visit, I would do it again for sure! Brooklyn Film Festival are great people.”
Currently, Jonathan is preparing to film a new short documentary called “Golo” (Moose). Filming his father as part of a moose-hunting expedition, Jonathan will focus on tradition, language and family while creating a personal and cultural memory to share with others.