Dennis Allen, an Inuit artist who has produced both film and music, will be presenting a documentary film about Canada’s indigenous people of the North at the library/learning centre on March 22.
"I give an accurate portrayal of what life is like in the North, what our values are and what our philosophy is in life."
INNISFAIL – Area residents have an opportunity to learn more about Canada’s indigenous people of the North.
Inuit filmmaker and musician Dennis Allen will present the first of several documentary films about Indigenous people at the Innisfail Library/Learning Centre on March 22.
“This is a collection of films that I’ve produced over the last 20 years,” said Allen. “They’re documentaries about (indigenous) peoples from the Northwest Territories and Nunavut.”
Allen has written, produced and directed about half a dozen films over his career and has also directed several television series with production companies, including Discovery Channel, CBC, the Aboriginal People’s Television Network and the National Film Board.
The film screenings are free of charge. Many of them were produced through the National Film Board of Canada.
The first documentary screening starts at 6 p.m. on March 22.
Allen noted some highlights from the first documentary, entitled CQBM, the call letters of a local radio station in the North.
“The first film is about a small, community-run, volunteer radio station in a small community called Fort McPherson in the Northwest Territories,” he said. “The premise of the film is the radio station is like the centre of the community. Everyone listens to the radio station and they get the news about what’s happening.
“You never really hear about or see what life is really like in a small, northern community,” he added.
“(With my films) I try to invite people into our kitchen for a cup of tea. You really get to know us because it’s coming from my perspective and I’m an Inuit person from the North. I give an accurate portrayal of what life is like in the North, what our values are and what our philosophy is in life,” explained Allen.
Allen grew up in the small town of Inuvik, N.W.T. and has also lived in the Yukon. He moved to Alberta with his wife three years ago.
“When I was growing up all we had was radio,” he said, noting an early life with his father on the trapline.
Allen also worked in the oil industry in his 20s and went back to school in his 30s to learn how to make films.
“The reason I made this film (CQBM) especially is because I remember how important the radio used to be to us,” said Allen.He said many of Canada’s indigenous people continue to live on the land up north.“In the community there’s still a lot of people that live out on the land as trappers and they use the radio to communicate to people out on the trapline (near the hunting camps),” said Allen.“It was the only form of communication. Even before people had telephones, they would communicate through the radio.“They would communicate to the local radio station and they would send messages to one another.“Sometimes those messages were life-saving, but most times they were an opportunity to visit one another,” he added, noting the introduction of shortwave radio later on that allowed communication between camps.Allen said he hopes to share knowledge about his indigenous culture and way of life in the North through his film presentations.The first documentary is about an hour long and will be followed by a question-and-answer period.For more information visit the Dennis Allen Entertainment page on Facebook.
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