This five minute short film Savage, from award winning Anishinaabe filmmaker Lisa Jackson is a unique exploration of the first day of school for a young First Nations child set in the 1950’s.
The film, featuring Ta’kaiya Blaney, Skeena Reece, Doug Blamey, and Jennifer Jackson, won a 2010 Genie award for Best Short Film, a Golden Sheaf Award for Best Multicultural Film, the ReelWorld Outstanding Canadian Short Film, and the Leo Awards for Best Actress and Best Editing. Fond memories of high school musicals resurfaced during the film for this writer – in Grade 12, Eugene taught himself how to dance the lead from Michael Jackson’s Thriller during his lunch hours in the black box, to then teach his classmates the dance which went on to open their end of term shows.
From Lisa Jackson’s website:
On a summer day in the 1950s, a native girl watches the countryside go by from the backseat of a car. A woman at her kitchen table sings a lullaby in her Cree language. When the girl arrives at her destination, she undergoes a transformation that will turn the woman’s gentle voice into a howl of anger and pain.
In a place like this, there aren’t many chances to be a kid. But, when no one’s watching…
A residential school musical.
Light-hearted as the video is at times, it commands the use of humor, thoughtfulness, dance and music to make a statement on the reality of a First Nations legacy which we all live with today. This stunning video is polished and beautiful, and leaves room for the viewer to reflect on the lived reality of First Nations children taken to boarding schools, while remaining accessible for people from any community.
Watch Lisa Jackson’s ‘Savage’ here: