Margaret Mead Festival: Film Program

Saturday, December 3, 2022

A slate of animated shorts, short film, and a thriller in the Haida language make up this year’s film selection at the Margaret Mead Festival. 
Painting of four people wearing business suits with traditional masks.
Unceded Territories 

11 am–5:30 pm 

Unceded Territories

Virtual reality experience. On view in the Grand Gallery throughout the Mead Festival  

Unceded Territories is a provocative, interactive VR experience created from Coast Salish artist Lawrence Paul Yuxweluptun’s iconic work to engage viewers in an interactive landscape grappling with colonialism, climate change and Indigenous civil rights. The acclaimed Canadian electronic music group The Halluci Nation composed the original score. 

Closeup of the head of a mink model created for a short animation film.
Məca (Meca) (2022) 

1 pm Program

Cry Rock and Other Animated Films from the Pacific Northwest Coast

Recommended for ages 12 and up

A man is dragged to the underworld in the belly of a whale. A curious mink embarks on an ethereal escapade to find his true self. A salmon journeys from a polluted cityscape into the past.  

In these inventive and soulful animated shorts created by artists from the Pacific Northwest, watercolor, stop-motion, and illustration bring to life ancient myths and traditions, recording language and wisdom for generations to come.  

The presentation will be followed by a Q&A session with some of the filmmakers. This showcase will feature: 

Drum Practice (2020) 
dir. Doug Smarch (Łingít)  
3 min. 

Handmade puppets dance to a catchy drum beat. 

Məca (Meca) (2022) 
dir. Ritchie Hemphill, Ryan Haché (‘Nakwaxda’xw)
8 min 

‘Nakwaxda’xw elder Ida Smith tells the myth of Məca. 

The Mountain of SGaana (2017) 
dir. Chris Auchter (Haida) 
10 min 

A young man is stolen away to the spirit world in this Haida fable. 

We SEE Monsters (2020)
dir. Bracken Hanuse Corlett (Wuikinuxv and Klahoose Nations)  
2 min 

The spirits of storied monsters from the Northwest Coast come to life. 
 
Mia' (Salmon) (2015)
dir. Amanda Strong and Bracken Hanuse Corlett (Wuikinuxv and Klahoose Nations)
8min 

Transformed into a salmon, an Indigenous street artist travels through decayed urban landscapes to the forests of long ago. 

Cry Rock (2010) 
dir. Banchi Hanuse (Nuxalk)  
29 min 

Vivid watercolor animation illuminates Nuxalk oral traditions. 

Woman in traditional dress holds her hands out towards a fire.
Potlatch: To Give [Part 2] (2011) 

3:30 pm Program

Now Is the Time and Other Short Films from the Pacific Northwest Coast

Bridging tradition and modernity, the films in this program cleverly and poignantly juxtapose legacies of Indigenous culture with radically contemporary style. As outdated modes of ethnographic spectatorship are called into question, artists including Nicholas Galanin and Barb Cranmer forge new cinematic vocabularies to record their cultures, forcefully affirming the perseverance of Indigenous peoples’ futures. 

The program will be followed by a Q&A with some of the filmmakers.   

Tsu Héidei Shugaxtutaan 1 (We Will Again Open This Container of Wisdom That Has Been Left in Our Care) (2006) 
dir. Nicholas Galanin (Łingít / Unangax̂)  
5 min 

Performers dance to seemingly unlikely soundtracks. 

Yuxweluptun: Man of Masks (1998) 
dir. Dana Claxton (Hunkpapa Lakota)
21 min 

A portrait of Lawrence Paul Yuxweluptun, one of Canada's most important painters.  

Potlatch: To Give [Part 2] (2011) 
dir. Barb Cranmer ('Namgis / Kwakwa̱ka̱'wakw)  
13 min 

An immersive experience of the traditional Potlatch ceremony.  

Tsu Héidei Shugaxtutaan 2 (We Will Again Open This Container of Wisdom That Has Been Left in Our Care) (2006) 
dir. Nicholas Galanin (Łingít / Unangax̂)  
5 min 

Performers dance to seemingly unlikely soundtracks.  

Button Blanket (2009) 
dir. Zoe L. Hopkins and Dora Hopkins (Haíltzaqv)  
3 min 

The art of the Haíltzaqv Nation is impressionistically depicted.  

Now Is the Time (2019) 
dir. Chris Auchter (Haida) 
16 min 

In August 1969, the entire village of Old Massett gathered to raise the first new totem pole in over a century. 

7 pm Feature Film

SG̲aawaay Ḵʹuuna (Edge of the Knife) (2018) 
dir. Helen Haig-Brown and Gwaii Edenshaw (Haida)  
100 min 

In Haida with English subtitles. 

Hand places a mask made from wood and straw onto the coals of a burning fire.
SG̲aawaay Ḵʹuuna (Edge of the Knife) (2018) 

Set in Haida Gwaii in the 19th century, the epic thriller Edge of the Knife (SGaawaay Ḵ'uuna) adapts a classic Haida folk tale of a man left for dead in the forest who becomes the Gaagiid/Gaagiixiid, or “the Wildman.”  

The first feature film to be released entirely in the critically endangered Haida language, the film was made with a Haida cast, who trained with fluent speakers to build proficiency in the language for filming. With sets, costumes, and props from traditional Haida craftspeople, Edge of the Knife is both visually engrossing cinema and socially minded catalyst for cultural revitalization.   

Michael Bourquin, Advisor to the 2022 Mead Festival 

A portrait photograph of filmmaker Michael Borquin.
Image courtesy of Michael Borquin.

Michael Bourquin is a director, cinematographer and editor. His films have been screened at a variety of festivals including the Winnipeg Aboriginal Film Festival, Vancouver International Film Festival, London International Filmmakers Festival, and the imagineNATIVE Film and Media Arts Festival. 

Prior to his CSA nomination for Best Photography, Documentary or Factual (British Columbia: An Untold History—Change + Resistance), and Leo Award nomination for Best Cinematography (also for British Columbia: An Untold History), Bourquin won Best Editing of Short Documentary at the London International Filmmakers Festival with the film Giving Back the Name With Respect, 2018.  

Bourquin has worked on numerous film and television projects with APTN, CBC, Knowledge, Discovery, History, National Film Board of Canada. Bourquin is currently in production with the NFB, as the director of photography on an upcoming feature length documentary. Bourquin is also slated to direct a four-part documentary series based off the book A Good War: Mobilizing Canada for the Climate Emergency by Seth Klein.   

An 11-minute film by Bourquin that highlights the persistence of Northwest Coast peoples and their traditions in the face of challenges is on view in the Museum’s Northwest Coast Hall.   

Generous support for the Margaret Mead Film Festival has been provided by the family of Margaret Mead. 

The Margaret Mead Film Festival is made possible by the New York State Council on the Arts with the support of the Office of the Governor and the New York State Legislature. 

The Margaret Mead Film Festival is supported in part by the National Endowment for the Arts. 

Support for the Margaret Mead Film Festival is provided, in part, by the family of Frederick H. Leonhardt.