“A peaceful, joyous cultural event, drumming to the earth's heartbeat,” Montreal First Peoples’ Festival organizers said in their inaugural media release. “With the words of ancient languages, millennial cultures live in the present time as Montreal once again becomes the New World's cultural metropolis.”
If last year’s festival is any indication, this year’s will not disappoint. For the 22nd year, indigenous artists and their fans will gather from all over the world to showcase films, art, dance, music, poetry readings, gastronomy and much more.
This year’s festival runs from July 31 thorugh August 8. As has been the case for the past few years, Place des Festivals is the hub, with events at venues in and around the city as well. On August 2, Florent Vollant will star in a show, and on the 3rd the Ojibway DJs of A Tribe Called Red will perform with DJ Mood and Foulane, of Amazigh fame. Young, new performers will debut on the 5th, according to the festival release.
Film offers much to choose from, with the opening one being Toomelah, which screened at Cannes as Un certain regard in 2011, Ivan Sen, the renowned filmmaker from the South Pacific. Movies from Australia, New Zealand and the Philippines will also be featured.
Celebrating language are The Grammar ofHappiness (Australia-Brazil 2011), about the uniqueness of the Brazilian Pirahã language.
Canal D and the Aboriginal Peoples Television Network (APTN) co-produced on Granito, which “hunts genocidal generals in Guatemala,” the write-up says.
Making its world debut is Apu ui Nepaian (Je ne veux pas mourir), which follows Montreal homeless people as they turn to the forest for healing. Closing out the festival will be Tropico do Saudade, a 2011 French film that follows the footsteps of Lévi-Strauss in Brazil.
In the poetry department, the four Innu women poets will take the stage with Le Nitassinan dans mon rêve, an evening of verse co-produced with BAnQ and presented on August 6 at the Grande Bibliothèque.
Other highlights, according to the release: “The Revisionningthe Americas Through Indigenous Cinema conference returns, while a citizens' forum is creating a Trust Circle. L'Autre Montréal is featuring an Amerindian tour, the McCord Museum a discussion of Inuit art, and Le Contemporain restaurant is serving up Aboriginal menus (Pre-Colonial Mexican cuisine and New Innu Cuisine).”
Festival prizes will be awarded on August 5 at the McCord Museum.
Full program information is available at the festival’s website. Meanwhile, below is a tantalizing preview. And stay tuned for exclusive coverage from Indian Country Today Media Network, which will be on the scene!