“A Short History of Indians in Canada” wins Best Animated Short Award – Sheridan College
December 06, 2017
“A Short History of Indians in Canada” has taken top prize for Animated Short at the 14th Red Nation Film Festival, held in Los Angeles in November. The film is a co-production by Sheridan and Thomas King’s Dead Dog Café Productions, and is based on a story written by King and included in his collection of the same name published in 2005.
The impetus for the film is a story in itself. In November, 2016, Thomas King was the featured author at Sheridan Reads, an annual, community-wide reading experience. While here, he met Nancy Beiman, a professor of animation and a longtime King fan. That meeting spurred the idea for an animated film based on King’s story, and he set to writing the script.
Working in animation gave King the chance to present the story with a different set of creative considerations. For instance, the doorman in the original piece was reimagined as a mischievous, shapeshifting coyote, a character that frequently appears in some Indigenous stories.
Production of the script was led by Beiman, who enlisted a group of second- and third-year Animation students to work as layout and background artists, animators and assistant animators. The project was developed with the ongoing advice of King along with Sheridan’s Centre for Indigenous Learning and Support to ensure its design was respectful of Indigenous cultures and people.
Completed in July 2017, this award is a significant achievement for its creators, and also shines a light on the power of art in reconciliation. “Art can play an active role in fostering dialogue and action on the path to reconciliation,” says Elijah Williams, Indigenous Initiatives Coordinator at Sheridan. “Projects such as this keep conversations open about contemporary issues facing Indigenous communities.”
About the Red Nations Film Festival:
The Red Nations Film Festival was founded in 2003, and is dedicated to breaking the barriers of racism by replacing stereotypes with recognition, new vision, arts, culture and economic prosperity by showcasing American Indian Filmmakers to global, mainstream audiences.