Alanis Obomsawin, a member of the Abenaki Nation, is one of Canada’s most distinguished filmmakers.
In September 2019, TIFF is presenting the world premiere of Jordan River Anderson, The Messenger — Ms. Obomsawin’s 53rd film, completed in the 52nd year of a legendary filmmaking career at the National Film Board of Canada (NFB), during which she has devoted herself to chronicling the lives and concerns of First Nations people and exploring issues of importance to all.
Jordan River Anderson, The Messenger completes, on an optimistic note, a seven-film cycle devoted to the rights of Indigenous children and peoples, which began in 2011 when she conducted her first interviews for The People of the Kattawapiskak River: “Young people are leading the way. Their leadership and strength is beautiful and inspiring. We are on the road to a place we’ve never been before, to a new age for Indigenous peoples, and it is our youth who are leading us. This is what I am trying to show in these films.”
Obomsawin’s body of work includes such landmark films as Kanehsatake: 270 Years of Resistance (1993), documenting the 1990 Mohawk uprising in Kanehsatake and Oka, as well as her groundbreaking Incident at Restigouche (1984), a behind-the-scenes look at Quebec police raids on a Mi’gmaq reserve.
On June 27, 2019, Obomsawin was named a Companion of the Order of Canada—its highest honour.
In October 2018, she received the Directors Guild of Canada Honourary Life Member Award.
In 2016, Obomsawin was honoured with two of Quebec’s highest distinctions when she was named a Grande Officière of the Ordre national du Québec and awarded the Prix Albert-Tessier.