Reel Injun: On the trail of the Hollywood Indian
On November 3rd, the National Film Board and the Museum of Civilization presented a free screening of the new documentary, Reel Injun: On the trail of the Hollywood Indian. The movie is the latest from Cree filmmaker Neil Diamond.
The film’s an entertaining and insightful look at the ‘Hollywood Indian’, exploring the portrayal of First Nations & Original Peoples through the last century of US and Canadian film.
For decades, the cinematic depiction of Aboriginal people represented in Hollywood films was almost always negative and wildly inaccurate. Worse still, as Cree filmmaker Neil Diamond’s feature documentary REEL INJUN carefully observes, this screen depiction and myth of “the Injun” has had a very real impact on Aboriginal people and on non-Aboriginal people’s ideas of who they were.
REEL INJUN takes us on a highly entertaining road journey through the heartland of America, and into the Canadian North, tracing the evolution of cinema’s depiction of Native people. In his interviews with a broad range of Native actors, directors, writers, academics and stand-up comics, Diamond focuses on how the stereotypical depictions of redskins affected the self-images of Native Americans and how key positive images inspired them.
REEL INJUN traces the evolution of cinema’s depiction of Native people from the silent film era to contemporary times, with clips from hundreds of classic and recent Hollywood movies, and candid interviews with celebrated Native and non-Native activists, film critics and historians.
Neil Diamond (writer/director) is a filmmaker from the Cree community of Waskaganish, on James Bay. His documentaries include One More River: The Deal That Split the Cree (2004) and Heavy Metal: A Mining Disaster in Northern Quebec (2004), which won the Rigoberta Menchú Tum Award at the First Peoples’ Festival in 2005. He has also directed Dab Iyiyuu, a series about Aboriginal elders. REEL INJUN (2009) is his latest documentary.
About Domino Film
Established in 1983 by President, Jeanne Ritter, Montreal-based Domino Film and Television International Ltd. distributes Canadian theatrical feature films across Canada and around the world. The Domino catalogue of award-winning productions includes Guy Maddin’s Dracula: Pages From A Virgin’s Diary; Rodrigue Jean’s Full Blast and Yellowknife; and Darrell Wasyk’s Mustard Bath. Upcoming releases include Wasyk’s latest feature, The Girl in the White Coat, and a first feature from Chester Sit, The Pharmacist.
Rezolution Pictures, in coproduction with the National Film Board of Canada and in association with CBC Newsworld, REEL INJUN was produced by Christina Fon, Catherine Bainbridge, Linda Ludwick, Adam Symanski and Executive producers Ernest Webb and Ravida Din.
About Rezolution Pictures
Rezolution Pictures International is a Montreal-based, award-winning Aboriginal-owned film and television production company that plays a vital role in bringing diversity to Canada’s cinematic mediums.