The film festival will feature 68 films from 20 countries and over 60 per cent will comprise Indigenous content. The festival, which will be held both at the Algonquin Theatre and River Mill Park, will also include a marketplace as well as live performances.
At some screenings, the audience will get an opportunity to meet the film directors to learn more about the context and content of the films. The film program includes filmmakers from across Turtle Island and abroad who will be travelling here to attend the festival.
“I hope this project provides a space for us to come together to learn, have conversations and get to know one another,” explained Founder and Director of the festival, Bracebridge resident Melissa Pole. “I look forward to growing the festival into something truly transformational to the communities where I grew up. Also, the name of the film festival ‘Three Fires’ is a tribute to the Three Fires confederacy that has existed on these lands (Muskoka) since before 400 AD. More information on this history and land acknowledgments can also be found on our website or Native-land.ca.”
The festival will focus on independent films. “Independent film enables the filmmaker’s artistic vision for a more realistic reflection of the state of our world. There is also a centering of Indigenous stories for this festival, with over 60% of our films being made by Indigenous filmmakers. This is an effort to not tokenize but show the vibrant array of indigenous creative excellence that will transform the space, and people within it,” added Pole.
The main venue is a 45-foot air-conditioned tent being installed in River Mill Park in Huntsville with seating for 100 people and a 20-foot screen. The films run from July 27 – 30th throughout the day and night with a free screening of Gift of Fear to open the festival. This is a powerful fiction film about Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women and Girls (viewer discretion is advised). The filmmaker Jack Kohler may be in attendance.
An Indigenous focussed arts marketplace is also running throughout the rest of the park from 10 -6 pm. There are also Oji-Cree (Ojibway/Cree) storytelling workshops running Friday and Saturday at 3 pm and the Vancouver Film School is also organizing workshops that will run throughout the duration of the festival.
“We partnered with Toronto International Film Festival circuit and will be screening Bones of Crows and Something You Said Last Night on Friday night. Our red carpet and award ceremony is at Algonquin Theatre, July 29th starting at 6 pm with a live performance by Indigenous musical artist Mimi O’bonsawin,” explained Pole.
The program is listed on the Three Fires International Film Festival website at www.3fiff.ca where people can also purchase tickets.
The festival came about as a result of Pole’s PhD research in Indigenous and Canadian Studies at Carleton University where she specialize in arts-based pedagogy and curatorial practice.
“My final comprehensive exam (December 2022) of my PhD included 120 articles focussed on the importance of Indigenous film and film as public pedagogy to create social-cultural change. What I found most intriguing was the transitional space between law/policy and film. Film festivals have a powerful influence on changing not only one’s understanding of the world but the laws and policies of a country. This is why the showcasing of Indigenous film is so important. Drawing on my background in film production from Toronto Metropolitan University I made this into my PhD thesis, and this is how the film festival was born.”
For more information visit www.3fiff.ca or follow on Instagram: @3firesinternational. You can also find Three Fires Filmmakers Podcast on Spotify.
Film Tickets start at $14 each. Ticket bundles are also available as well as day/weekend & full event passes. Please visit the website for more info.
July 27th: Opening Ceremony at 6 pm followed by a free screening of Gift of Fear (2023).
July 28th: Film screenings, 11 am – 11 pm
July 29th: Film screenings: 11 am – 8:30 pm
July 29th: Red Carpet & award ceremony at Algonquin Theatre with a live performance by Mimi O’bonsawin at 6 pm.
July 30th: Film screenings 11 am – 4 pm
Arts Marketplace runs Friday & Saturday 10 – 6 pm, and Sunday 10 – 3 pm.
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