Canadian festival wraps ninth outing

TORONTO — “Before Tomorrow” won best dramatic feature at the ninth annual ImagineNative indigenous film and media arts festival, which wrapped in Toronto Sunday.

Co-helmed by Marie Helene-Cousineau and Madeline Ivalu, “Before Tomorrow,” about an Inuit grandmother and grandson stranded on an island, preemed last month at the Toronto festival, where it won for first Canadian feature. Alliance releases the film in Canada next year.

The short prize was picked up by Andrew Okpeaha MacLean’s “Sikumi,” which won a jury prize at Sundance earlier this year. The fest’s emerging talent nod went to Janelle Wookey for her whimsical debut doc, “Memere Metisse,” which opened the fest.

More than 100 Canuck and international features and shorts by indigenous people unspooled at the five-day fest.

“We are the only festival with a mandate to show work by indigenous artists actively trying to sell that work,” said ImagineNative artistic director Danis Goulet. Buyers from nets PBS, ITVS, ZDF, Arte as well as programmers from Sundance, Berlin and Rotterdam attended.

Supportive auds and strong market presence helped organizers attract high-profile work this year, including the world preem of “Exile,” a doc about the forcible relocation of Inuit families in 1953, helmed by Zacharias Kunuk (“Atanarjuat The Fast Runner”).

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