A whopping 72 per cent of the films at this year's imagineNATIVE Film and Media Arts Festival (Oct. 19 to 22) were made by Indigenous female directors. One of those getting high notice is Zoe Hopkins, a Canadian Heiltsuk/Mohawk filmmaker with two projects that are unfortunately connected.
Her first feature Kayak to Klemtu is a drama that revolves around the bid to stop tanker traffic along the coast of British Columbia's Great Bear Rainforest. The fear is fuel spills.
That fear became a shattering reality when, days after principal photography for Kayak to Klemtu was completed, a tugboat pushing an empty American fuel barge ran aground near the director's home community of Bella Bella, B.C., where several scenes for the film were shot. Over 100,000 litres of diesel and heavy fuels were spilled into clam beds.
Hopkins would return to make Impossible to Contain, a 360° documentary short which chronicles the final days of a month-long effort to recover the sunken tug. Hopkins's own family is shown at a meal of seafood gathered before the spill. "This is where food security comes from the sanctity of the land and the sea," the filmmaker somberly narrates, her people's sanctity ruined.
Kayak to Klemtu screens at imagineNATIVE on Oct. 20, 6:45 p.m.; Impossible to Contain appears in imagineNATIVE's Digital Media Art+Cade, Oct. 19 to 22, TIFF Bell Lightbox, 350 King St. W., imaginenative.org.