Cariboo-Chilcotin filmmaker Trevor Mack is thrilled that his new collaborative film Clouds of Autumn has been selected to play at the prestigious Toronto International Film Festival.
“It is a dream come true to have my film in one of the biggest film festivals in the world,” Mack says. “My fellow filmmaker friends have always laughed at the thought of our films getting selected to play there because it was such a stretch to think that.
“I’m honoured that I can represent the Tsilhqot’in people on the world stage and be apart of a new wave of Indigenous artists in Canada that are stepping up and telling stories we feel we are obligated to tell the world.”
Mack says he and his fellow filmmaker Matthew Taylor Blais of Kelowna collaborated on writing and directing Clouds of Autumn which was shot over four, 15-hour shooting days at Tl’etinqox (Anaham) reserve last August. The film stars non-actors from the area including Elias Stump, Trinity Stump, Edmond Lulua.
“It’s great to be able to use cinema to explore certain ideas and elements of this genocide that isn’t as easy to grasp through essays or lectures; to make these effects work on an emotional level,” Blais says ” To have these subtleties be seen, heard, and felt. Its very humbling for me to be able to join Trevor on a project like this.”
The film is about the carefree childhood existence of two Indigenous siblings whose lives are ruptured when one of them is forced to attend a residential school far from home.
The film follows William and his older sister Shayl through three summers in the 1970s, exploring the impact Canadian residential schools had on the relationships First Nations children had with themselves, their heritage, and nature itself.
“We didn’t want to make a film that wagged its finger and told the viewers that residential schools were bad,” Mack says. “In fact we don’t even mention residential schools at all in the film. It’s really just a snapshot of what happened to hundreds of families during the reign of residential schools in Canada.”
Mack says they recently also received word that Clouds of Autumn has also been selected for the Vancouver International Film Festival; the Ottawa International Film Festival; Edmonton International Film Festival; imagineNATIVE Film + Media Arts Festival; and the Tacoma Film Festival.
The Toronto International Film Festival takes place Sept. 10 to 20 and Mack says he intends to attend the entire festival.
More than 500 short films were submitted to the TIFF and only 30 to 40 of them were chosen, Mack says.
Trevor Mack is a Tsilhqot’in Nation filmmaker from Williams Lake and the Tl’etinqox of B.C. Raised by his mother and family, his culture and upbringing provided a strong foundation for storytelling expressed through his current film work.
Trevor debuted his first short film, The Blanketing, in 2013. It screened across North America and in New Zealand at festivals such as the Vancouver Indigenous Media Arts Festival, Toronto Independent Film Festival, Wairoa Maori Film Festival, and was the official selection at imagineNATIVE Film + Media Arts Festival. Clouds of Autumn is his second forthcoming short film.
Matthew Taylor Blais is an experimental filmmaker currently based in Vancouver, BC. His films are often about the people he loves and the places he is on, and most of his films are available online. His latest works will premiere in late 2015 and screen around the world. His other films include Clouds of Autumn and the feature documentary Born in the Night. He currently has multiple projects in various stages of development.