With Monkey Beach already sweeping the 2020 American Indian Film Festival, the film has been nominated for nine of British Columbia’s Leo Awards, this year.
Founded in 1999, the Leo Awards are an awards program for the British Columbia film and television industry which are held each May or June in Vancouver.
As the whole movie was shot on Haisla territory, the number one Canadian film for four weeks at Cineplex and Landmark Theatres also had a cast full of Canadian Indigenous actresses and actors.
“I think [shooting in Kitimat] really enhanced the film. For one, I got to hire a lot of people from the community, so there was a good feeling of us being there,” Loretta Sarah Todd, director of Monkey Beach said in an interview to the not-for-profit publication, Seventh Row.
As the movie is based on the novel by Haisla writer Eden Robinson, who uses natural elements to weave the culture of the land into the story, first the novel and then the film depict the struggle between the physical plane and the supernatural realm which correlates to the greater struggle between cultural identity and mainstream society.
“Monkey Beach is a testament to Indigenous women’s ability to not just endure trials but emerge from them empowered,” the digital team for the Monkey Beach movie stated online.
Though the director of Monkey Beach, Loretta Sarah Todd, is one of the first Indigenous women to pursue film studies at Simon Fraser University, she is no stranger to composing award-winning films, like, The Learning Path (1991), Hands of History (1994), Forgotten Warriors (1997), and The People Go On (2003).
Throughout Todd’s films, she tries to replicate the techniques of oral traditions through the sensual experience of combining sound and vision.
“Films can’t replace oral tradition, that’s not the point of films. Oral tradition has its time-honoured history and purpose. But I can learn from the techniques oral tradition uses,” Todd said in an interview to the not-for-profit publication, Seventh Row.
The awards they are nominated for are:
Best Film; Best Director; Grace Dove, nominated for Best Actress; Tina Lameman and Sera-Lys McArthur both nominated for Best Supporting Actress; Adam Beach for Best Actor; Stirling Bancroft for Best Cinematography; Jesse Zubot and Russell Wallace for Best Musical Score; And L. Sarah Todd, Johnny Darrell and Andrew Duncan for Best Script.