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imagineNATIVE celebrates 13th anniversary in 2012

A scene from “The Grandmother’s House Away from Home)”

Billed as "the world's largest film and media arts festival devoted to indigenous peoples," imagineNATIVE is celebrating its 13th anniversary this weekend in Toronto.

One of the event's must-sees is the international premiere on Friday of Cao Honghua's documentary The Grandmother's House Away from Home.

In the matriarchal society of the Mosuo, one of the many indigenous peoples of mainland China, the grandmother's house or yimi is considered the spiritual heart of the family. Cao's film explores the controversial fallout from young Erche Pichu's decision to sell a yimi – the first such sale in Mosuo history – and have it transported to an art exhibition in Beijing. Is it another example of globalization as its most exploitative? Or the chance to celebrate Mosuo culture and promote it to a wider audience?

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imagineNATIVE runs through Sunday at various locations in downtown Toronto; click here for website. The Cao documentary screens at noon at TIFF Bell Lightbox.

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