First Peoples Festival

The Montreal First Peoples Festival 2020 is underway

“Nomade Land” is the theme of the 2020 edition, which includes online and in-person events.

Flying under the theme Nomade Land, Montreal’s annual First Peoples Festival (aka Présence Autochtone) is on today, with a program including film screenings, streaming concerts, street performances, a journal launch and much more.

“The caravan gets organized as it moves forward.”

—First Peoples Festival program director André Dudemaine, quoting a famous Arab proverb

Today (Aug. 9) in the Quartier des spectacles, mythical animal figures and characters from legend will be displayed around the Place des Festivals, and passersby will be treated to pop-up shows by Indigenous performers and artists including singers Laura Niquay, Kanen, Eadsé and dancer Sam Ojeda. There will also be art celebrating Earth, Water and Life on Ste-Catherine Street, by Christi Belcourt.

First Peoples Festival film screenings are happening daily at 8 p.m. at the Cinéma du Musée through Aug. 13, the first series in a larger competitive program that will continue till November, when there will be an awards ceremony.

On the Presence Autochtone website, a video of the Transcentral concert presents a fusion of Indigenous and Sufi music, featuring Métis singer Moe Clark, Innu poet Joséphine Bacon, Inuit throat singer Nina Segalowitz, the Buffalo Hat Singers, Khalil Moqadem on vocals and oud, dancers Barbara Diabo and Tanya Evanson as well as other musicians, all under the leadership of conductor and composer Katia Makdissi-Warren.

The film program includes the Quebec premiere of Sanctorum by Joshua Gil and Panquiaco by Ana Elena Tejera. These two films were shot with the participation of Indigenous communities, one of them the Mixe of Mexico, the other the Guna of Panama.

On Aug. 13, 7 p.m., there will be a virtual launch of Indigenous Cinema and Media in the Americas: Storytelling, Communities, and Sovereignties, a special issue of Canadian Journal of Film Studies published by University of Toronto PressThe panelwill feature Deborah Walker-Morrison from the University of Auckland (Aotearoa), Marion Konwanénhon Delaronde from the Kahnawake Language and Culture Training Center, Karine Bertrand from Queen’s University and First Peoples Festival program director André Dudemaine. This virtual panel will be moderated by Isabelle St-Amand from Queen’s University, co-editor of the issue. ■

See the complete program on the First Peoples Festival / Presence Autochtone on their website.

For more Montreal arts coverage, please see our Arts section.