DOCUMENTARY | CANADA | 88 MINUTES | English
TRUE STORY is a feature length documentary directed by Dinae Robinson, who is Anishinaabe from Treaty One Territory, co-written with Jessica Landry, who is Métis from Treaty One Territory. Featuring Indigenous knowledge keepers and historians from across Turtle Island, TRUE STORY faces the truth of the relationship between Indigenous peoples and settler Canadians.
Starting with the creation stories of many nations, TRUE STORY shares the history of Indigenous peoples prior to contact. It covers the period of our shared history when collaboration between Indigenous people and settlers was, in many cases, mutually beneficial. Especially for the Europeans, who would have died without it. Indigenous people taught newcomer Europeans how to survive in sub-zero temperature climates in foreign lands, providing them with knowledge of how to hunt, trap, cook, and preserve food, natural medicines of the land and even how to bathe! But it wasn’t long before “collaborate” would be traded for a different “c” word — “conquer”.
Our story concludes with the implementation of The Indian Act of 1876, which sought to dominate and eliminate Indigenous people in Canada forever, with a glimpse of residential schools – one of the most devastating acts of genocide in our nation’s history. The stories shared are, at times, heartbreaking. Astonishing. Shameful. And, at times, they are uplifting. Inspiring. Full of laughter and light. The resilience of Indigenous people often shines through in their humour, which can be irreverent and cheeky — that sets the tonal balance between the darkness and the light.
Robinson’s innovative, cinematically stunning combination of on-camera interviews, archival footage, historical photos, b-roll, and recreations is narrated by Kaniehtiio Horn. TRUE STORY proposes that if we want reconciliation, let’s start with the truth. It might be messy. It is definitely ugly. Moments of hope show us what this country could truly be — if we learn from the past.
Dinae Robinson is a proud Anishinaabekwe (Ojibwe) writer, director, and producer who holds a degree in Indigenous Studies. True to her ancestral roots, storytelling has always been a part of Dinae. All of her work is influenced by the spiritual traditional way of Ojibwe teachings and the social and political injustices that Indigenous people have endured historically and presently.
Initially starting out as an actor, Dinae has appeared in several films, including The Oldest Profession in Winnipeg from Farpoint Films, and Child First, which premiered at the Understanding the Disability Trajectory of First Nations Families of Children with Disabilities National Summit. Most recently, Dinae appeared in the comedy series DJ Burnt Bannock. A graduate of the National Screen Institute’s CBC New Indigenous Voices program, Dinae was awarded the WFG’s First Film Fund to write, direct, and produce her first short film How the Savage came to be which premiered at the Winnipeg Aboriginal Film Festival, and screened at the Gimli Film Festival, Red Nation Film Festival in Los Angeles, and was a finalist in the Canadian Diversity Film Festival in Toronto. Dinae is proud to have written for the series Taken, and is currently showrunner for the hit series 7TH GEN for APTN (recently renewed for a third season). Dinae also wrote and directed several episodes of the series, and its companion Cree language web series. Dinae is currently writing her first feature Have you Heard? an Indigenous anthology horror film, supported by Telefilm. Dinae is also co-showrunner on the upcoming animated children’s series, Eagle Vision’s Stevie and the Sacred Animals, as well as developing, directing, and running several other projects. Her show Reclaim(ed), on which she was co-showrunner, was recently nominated for a Banff Rockie Award, as is True Story. Dinae sat on national a panel of Canada’s top factual showrunners, presented by the CMPA, and recently sat on a panel at the Banff World Media Festival.
Rebecca Gibson, Kyle Irving, Lisa Meeches, Dinae Robinson
Dinae Robinson, Jessica Landry
True Story is the first feature film to premiere on the History Channel created by and told by Indigenous voices that educates viewers on the history of relationships between Indigenous people and settlers on the lands that we now call Canada.
As an Indigenous filmmaker True Story is a dream project, and a film I have always dreamed of writing and directing. True Story is monumental, as often North American history is told from a settler’s perspective, True Story is told by diverse Indigenous experts and scholars. Indigenous nations have been through many hardships but this documentary feature highlights our resilience, our ways of life, knowledge, and political systems pre-contact, and the determination to hold onto our culture and languages. Most importantly, it tells the often left-out stories of the contribution we made in the development of North America.
True Story is unique in the sometimes-cheeky tone and humour Indigenous people are famous for. After all, it is believed we work(ed) through our oppression thanks largely to our humour.
We need to end this “us” versus “them” mentality that has been saturated into the relationship between non and Indigenous people in North America and realize our histories are shared. Sometimes it is ugly and uncomfortable but it needs to be acknowledged only then we can have true reconciliation and prosper as a nation. Education is the key, and the first step toward true reconciliation. That is why I believe films like True Story are vital today.
Red Nation International Film Festival Nominee
March 1st – March 8th
Red Nation Television Network
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