Newspaper article The Canadian Press

Canadian Filmmakers Choose Potential Candidates for New Heritage Minutes

Newspaper article The Canadian Press

Canadian Filmmakers Choose Potential Candidates for New Heritage Minutes

Article excerpt

Filmmakers share their Heritage Minutes picks


Organizers behind Canada's Heritage Minutes are asking filmmakers to draft up their best proposals for new additions to the series on key moments or figures in the country's history.

Historica Canada says they'll produce two new one-minute films this year that join recent additions like the stories of Viola Desmond and Chanie Wenjack. But to mark the country's 150th birthday, they also want pitches that reflect "a fresh vision to capture new audiences."

We asked some Canadian directors and producers who they think should be considered:

Tracey Deer (creator of TV series "Mohawk Girls")

The pick: Ellen Gabriel, a young Mohawk activist and spokeswoman for the Kanesatake Mohawk during the 1990 Oka Crisis.

Her story: As a longtime human rights advocate, Gabriel has been a voice for Canada's indigenous community. She has also participated at the United Nations Permanent Forum on Indigenous Issues.

Why: "Here was this young woman who stepped to the forefront (as) a voice of the Mohawk people and was an advocate of a peaceful solution," Deer says. "She did so with grace, poise and extreme wisdom for her age."

Fabienne Colas (director of "Minuit," founder of the Montreal and Toronto Black Film Festivals)

The pick: Dany Laferriere, a Haitian-Canadian author and one of Canada's most prolific literary voices of the immigrant experience.

His story: After fleeing Haiti under Francois Duvalier's regime, Laferriere became the first Quebecer and the first Haitian to be elected to the prestigious Academie francaise as an immortal. The highest honour in the French language put him among the ranks of greats like Victor Hugo and Eugene Ionesco. Laferriere's works include a 1985 French-language book that was translated into the acclaimed "How to Make Love to a Negro Without Getting Tired."

Why: "Today he's recognized not only in Canada but also in the African-literature world in Europe," says Colas, a fellow Haitian-Canadian. …

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