Beans, Bridges & Oka
Tracey Deer and Face2Face host David Peck talk about her new film Beans, bridges under construction, storytelling and changing the world, persistence, forgiveness, how anger can guide us for good, listening well and why trauma doesn’t need to define us.
Find out more about the film here and Tracey here.
Beans is a coming-of-age story, inspired by co-writer/director Tracey Deer’s own experience as a 12-year-old Mohawk girl who had to grow up fast during the 1990 Oka Crisis, a 78-day armed stand-off between the Quebec/Canadian governments and the Mohawk who were peacefully protesting a golf course expansion that would desecrate their burial ground.
Since debuting at TIFF 2020, the film has reaped many accolades – among them, Berlin’s Generation Kplus Crystal Bear for best film, two CSAs (Best Motion Picture and Best First Feature), TIFF Emerging Talent Award (Deer), TIFF Rising Stars (actor Rainbow Dickerson), TIFF’s Canada Top Ten, VIFF’s Best Canadian Film, VFCC’s One to Watch (actor Kiawentiio), DGC Discovery Award, and WGC Screenwriting Award for feature film.
Beans (Kiawentiio) lives with her caring parents (Rainbow Dickerson and Joel Montgrand) and her little sister (Violah Beauvais) on the Mohawk reserve of Kahnawà:ke, Quebec, where the two girls happily play in the woods. Unprepared for the racism and violence that the Oka Crisis brings, Beans decides to transform into her own kind of warrior. “I was Beans,” says Deer. Using 200 local extras and partially shot in Kahnawà:ke (where Deer grew up) and nearby Kanesatake (where the protest began), the film is a Canadian production. Its female crew includes Deer, producer Anne-Marie Gélinas, executive producers Justine Whyte and Meredith Vuchnich (also co-writer), cinematographer Marie Davignon and editor Sophie Farkas-Bolla. Note: At age 13, Kiawentiio composed and performed the song for the end credits.
Filmmaker Tracey Deer is a Mohawk filmmaker with multiple credits to her name, as a producer, writer and director. She currently resides in Kahnawake, her home reserve in Quebec.
Deer began her professional career with CanWest Broadcasting in Montreal, and later joined Rezolution Pictures to co-direct One More River: The Deal that Split the Cree, with Neil Diamond (Cree), which won the Best Documentary Award at the 2005 Rendez-vous du cinema québécois in Montreal and was nominated for Best Social/Political Documentary at the Geminis.
Deer formed Mohawk Princess Pictures in 2006, which produced her first short fiction called Escape Hatch, a dramedy about the romantic misadventures of a Mohawk woman on her quest for love. She also wrote, directed and filmed Mohawk Girls, about the lives of three teenagers, and herself as a teen, growing up in Kahnawake, which won the Alanis Obomsawin Best Documentary Award at the 2005 imagineNATIVE Film & Media Arts Festival.
Currently, she has multiple projects in development, including a 3D feature documentary and a fiction feature screenplay.
Tracey received a B.A. in film studies from Dartmouth College in 2000, graduating with two awards for excellence. In 2009, she shared the Don Haig Award with colleague Brett Gaylor for overall career achievement as an emerging filmmaker. In 2008, Playback Magazine declared her one of the 25 rising stars in the Canadian entertainment industry. She is also a member of The Writer’s Guild of Canada.
"Tracey represents the next wave of native filmmaking," says Adam Symansky, NFB producer of Mohawk Girl and Club Native. "It isn't based on the past so much as
on native communities taking responsibility and control of their future. That is the challenge she is putting out in her films."
Image Copyright and Credit: Tracey Deer and EMA Films.
For more information about David Peck’s podcasting, writing and public speaking please visit his site here.
With thanks to Josh Snethlage and Mixed Media Sound.
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