After the Last River screens at Bay Street Film Festival in Thunder Bay
Movie highlights relationship between First Nation and mining company in northern Ontario
The Bay Street Film Festival kicks off Thursday through Sunday in Thunder Bay. One highly-anticipated film screens Thursday evening after receiving a great deal of attention during production.
After the Last River tells the story of the Attawapiskat First Nation's experience with the nearby De Beers diamond mining company in northern Ontario.
The small community near James Bay garnered international attention for its' social issues through the grassroots Idle No More campaign.
Vicki Lean, the film's director, said there's not enough discussion about how mining companies and small communities can impact each other.
"You know, the housing issue is really at the heart of a lot of issues," Lean said. "Problems feed off each other and without proper housing it's incredibly hard to be able to benefit from mining developments."
She said her movie tries to show how issues evolve in isolated First Nation communities in northern Ontario. For Lean, social and mining issues tend to overlap in this part of Canada.
Education is another point of contention hindering the ability of local residents to prosper from having a rich company like De Beers in their backyard, she said.
"Not having a proper school really effected the community's ability to get jobs at the mine," Lean said.
The film screens Thursday night at 6:30 p.m. ET.
The festival, which enters its 11th year and is organized by local filmmakers, is taking place above the Hoito Restaurant. Weekend passes cost $25 but you can check out individual films for $8.
A wide range of upgrades thanks in part to a grant from the Ontario Trillium Foundation and a donation from the Finlandia Association of Thunder Bay is aimed at improving the experience this year.
Attendees can expect a brand new projector, screen, sound system, audio visual equipment and comfortable chairs. The festival also hired a full-time technical co-ordinator thanks to additional funding support from several key donors.