Wednesday, November 24, 2010

A Windigo Tale

~ Armand Garnet Ruffo’s award winning film at 35th annual American Indian Film Festival in San Francisco, CA


* Best Film - A Windigo Tale; Director: Armand Garnet Ruffo
* Best Actress - Andrea Menard (A Windigo Tale)
* Best Supporting Actress - Jani Lauzon (A Windigo Tale)
Filmed on Six Nations Reserve in Ontario and in the Ottawa Valley, A Windigo Tale is Ojibway poet Armand Garnet Ruffo’s directorial debut. Produced on a shoe-string budget, in demanding conditions, Produced on a shoe-string budget, in demanding conditions, the film ignites the screen with determination and heart and tells a powerful story of intergenerational trauma and healing.

Shot in HD, Ruffo’s feature-length film moves between the breathtaking beauty of a road trip in autumn and the stark winter landscape of a First Nations community. Harold, a Native grandfather (Gary Farmer), desperate to save his troubled grandson Curtis (Elliot Simon) from a life on the street, shares the dark secrets of their family and community. In an isolated village, an estranged mother, Doris (Jani Lauzon), and daughter, Lily (Andrea Menard), must reunite to exorcise the voracious Windigo spirit tied to a painful past. Inspired by Ojibway spirituality and based on the history of the residential school system, where generations of Native children were forcibly removed from their families and aggressively assimilated into Euro-Canadian society, A Windigo Tale is both a chilling and redeeming drama.

A Windigo Tale is poet Armand Garnet Ruffo’s feature directorial debut. The original play script won the CBC Arts Performance Showcase Award, and, in 2003, it went into feature script development with acclaimed Canadian playwright and filmmaker Colleen Murphy. Film production began in the winter of 2006 on Six Nations Reserve in Ontario and was completed in 2008 after additional funding was raised. The second segment was filmed in the Ottawa Valley and in Ottawa itself. The following spring, the film went into post-production at The Banff Centre, in Alberta, and in Ottawa. It stars Gary Farmer, Andrea Menard, Jani Lauzon, Philip Riccio, David Gardner, Jon-Paul Kouri and introduces writer Lee Maracle and new-comer Elliot Simon to the screen.

To prepare himself for the making of A Windigo Tale, Armand Garnet Ruffo immersed himself in the study of film and took directorial courses with some of Canada’s best known filmmakers, such as Deepa Mehta and Gary Burns. In the writing of the film, he drew on his own Ojibway heritage, family and community support, his familiarity with Aboriginal literature and culture, and extensive research into the history of the Residential School system in Canada. He is indebted to the many Aboriginal and non-Aboriginal people who committed themselves to the making of this film.

About author: Armand Garnet Ruffo’s roots extend to the Biscotasing Branch of the Sagamok (Ojibway) First Nation and the Chapleau Fox Lake Cree. He is currently a professor of Aboriginal Literatures and Creative Writing at Carleton University and divides his time between Ottawa and Fox Lake in northern Ontario. The author of Opening In The Sky (Theytus Books), Grey Owl: The Mystery of Archie Belaney (Coteau Books) and At Geronimo’s Grave (Coteau Books), he is currently completing a poetic biography on the life of the renowned Anishnaabe painter, and father of the Woodland School of Painters, Norval Morrisseau, which he intends to turn into a film.

Official film's website:
Source: American Indian Film Institute:

>>> Reference posts:
- Q: What does Grey Owl and Copper Thunderbird have in common?, - Red Lake Woodland Arts Festival: A Tribute to Norval Morrisseau and the Woodland Artists in 26 DAYS! & - Recommended readings (Part V).

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