Cree filmmaker releases ‘Stories are in Our Bones’ on International Women’s Day

In this layered short film, filmmaker Janine Windolph takes her young sons fishing with their kokum (grandmother), a residential school survivor who retains a deep knowledge and memory of the land. The act of reconnecting with their homeland is a cultural and familial healing journey for the boys, who are growing up in the city. It’s also a powerful form of resistance for the women. (Courtesy photo)

Vincent Schilling

The heartfelt short film is a tribute to the teachings of Kokum

The National Film Board of Canada announced this week that director Janine Windolph, Cree/Atikamekw, would be releasing her latest short film, “Stories are in Our Bones” on Sunday, International Women’s Day.

The 11-minute short film is now available for streaming free.

Windolph, who currently works at the Banff Centre in Alberta, Canada as the Associate Director of Indigenous Arts and Creativity, celebrated the film’s world premiere last year at the American Indian Film Festival in San Francisco.

The film was honored as an “Offical Selection” of the San Francisco American Indian Film Festival for 2019.

As a resident of Regina, Windolph will also celebrate the Canadian premiere on March 12 at the MacKenzie Art Gallery’s Shumiatcher Theatre’s event, Saskatchewan Women Filmmakers, Remembering the Past Looking to the Future. At the event, eight short films will be shown by women filmmakers of Saskatchewan.

Windolph wrote in an email her heartfelt connection to her film.

"As a woman filmmaker, I am honored to have “Stories Are in Our Bones” launched online and accessible on their website for International Women's Day. As a Cree woman, I am grateful to highlight my mother, Marian Otter, my matriarch, who has always been so generous with her love and her teachings to myself and others. It's only fitting that it be shared online, as it reflects our family values to keep sharing our stories. I am proud of my sons for participated in the fishing and harvesting of land that is reflected in this documentary. This film is only a small portion of an ongoing journey into land-based learning.”

Stories Are In Our Bones - two sons
In this layered short film, filmmaker Janine Windolph takes her young sons fishing with their kokum (grandmother), a residential school survivor who retains a deep knowledge and memory of the land. (Courtesy photo)

“My hope for others is to keep sharing our stories with others even if it means reflections on learning and the reclamation of our traditional cultural practices."

About the film

Synopsis: In this layered short film, filmmaker Janine Windolph and her mother, a residential school survivor, take Janine’s city-raised sons fishing in northern Saskatchewan—a healing process that offers teachings about themselves, their culture and their history.

Written and Directed by Janine Windolph

Associate Producer Coty Savard

Producer Jon Montes

Executive Producer David Christensen

Director of Photography Patrick McLaughlin

Additional Cinematography Candy Fox

Editor Conor McNally

Sound Design and Music Anita Lubosch

Where to watch

You may watch the film here on Indian Country Today

The film is also available on the National Film Board of Canada website

https://www.nfb.ca/film/stories-are-in-our-bones/

About Janine Windolph

Stories Are In Our Bones - Janine Windolph
'Stories Are in Our Bones' is directed by Janine Windolph. (Courtesy photo)

Janine Windolph, Atikamekw/Woodland Cree, is a Saskatchewan-based filmmaker, educator, and storyteller now working out of Banff, Alberta as Associate Director of Indigenous Arts at Banff Centre for Arts and Creativity. Janine was formerly the Curator of Community Engagement at the MacKenzie Art Gallery in Regina, Saskatchewan where she also worked as a Storykeeper, Education Program Assistant and Curator of Public Programs. She teaches beading, visual arts, photography, filmmaking, writing, storytelling, and Indigenous symbols in schools, libraries, and non-profits.

Janine’s film work includes “Lifegivers: Honouring Our Elders and Children” (director/writer/narrator), “Diom” (producer/director), “Braided Histories” (producer/director), “The Land of Rock and Gold” (co-writer/co-director/co-producer), and “From Up North” (producer).

She recently completed “Stories Are in Our Bones” with the National Film Board (director/writer/narrator) and appears as a storyteller in “The Beacon Project: Stories of Qu’Appelle Valley,” that will be aired on Indigenous People's Day on CBC Gem.

Janine co-directed and co-produced RIIS from Amnesia: Recovering the Lost Legacies, a feature-length documentary that explores the legacy of the Regina Indian Industrial School and its cemetery, which spawned a movement that led to the site’s official heritage designation. She co-produced About a Boy, I Remember (music video) and Dancing the Space Inbetween.

Janine is the former vice-chair of Common Weal and former chair of Reconciliation Regina and was a jury member for Creative Kids Saskatchewan for SaskCulture.

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