Indigenous talent among 2017 Canadian Screen Award nominees

A documentary about an First Nations-owned rail line, an Inuit thriller and several Indigenous actors are among the nominees for this year's Canadian Screen Awards, which were announced on Tuesday.

From Inuit action to short documentaries, a look at nominees for the 2017 Canadian Screen Awards

Joey Sarpinak plays Kupak in Zacharias Kunuk's Maliglutit (Searchers), which is nominated for a Canadian Screen Award. (Kingulliit Productions Inc.)

A documentary about a First Nations-owned rail line, an Inuit thriller and several Indigenous actors are among the nominees for this year's Canadian Screen Awards, which were announced on Tuesday.

The awards, which celebrate productions from the past year, will be presented at several ceremonies from March 9 to 12 in Toronto during Canadian Screen Week 2017.

"Motion picture nominees are telling stories not just in French and English, but in Mandarin, Atikamekw and Inuktitut," said Beth Janson, CEO of the Academy of Canadian Cinema and Television.

Feature films, documentaries

Among the nominees is Maliglutit (Searchers) by Zacharias Kunuk, which is up for best feature film and best original screenplay.

Set in 1913, the retelling of John Ford's 1956 western The Searchers is a collaboration with Natar Ungalaaq. Against the landscape of the Canadian Arctic, it tells the story of a husband in search of the men who kidnapped his wife.

Algonquin filmmaker Caroline Monnet's Tshiuetin is up for best short documentary. Filmed in black and white, Tshiuetin takes the viewer on a ride through Northern Quebec and Labrador on an Indigenous-owned railway.

Also in the best short documentary category, This River by Métis writer Katherena Vermette, Erika MacPherson, Alicia Smith and David Christensen trains an intimate and personal lens on the issue of missing and murdered Indigenous women, and shows the lengths families will go to bring their loved ones home.

On-screen talent

It isn't just Indigenous artists behind the camera who are getting nods from the academy — Indigenous performers have been nominated this year as well.

Kwena Bellemare Boivin, from the Atikamekw community of Wemotaci, Que., is among the Indigenous nominees at this year's Canadian Screen Awards. (Academy of Canadian Cinema & Television)
Kwena Bellemare Boivin, a screen newcomer from the Atikamekw community of Wemotaci, Que., is nominated for best performance by an actress in a supporting role for her performance in Before the Streets, which was filmed entirely in the Atikamekw language. 

Jacques Newashish, also Atikamekw, is up for best performance by an actor in a supporting role for the same film.