Mohawk Director Tracey Deer received the Emerging talent award at the TIFF (Toronto International Film Festival) for her latest movie Beans. The production is based on the Oka crisis in 1990 and her experience through it, as a 12 year old.
The award, presented by Ava Duvernay, “celebrates ground breaking women on the rise in the world of film”.
“Tracey Deer said that growing up in the Mohawk Territory, she never saw the stories or the people of her community on film. For a while, it made her feel invisible, but then it inspired her to learn the craft of filmmaking with an understanding that it’s both a pleasure, and a responsibility”, she expressed to present the recipient.
Deer received the prize by video conference and thanked her community, who inspire her every day “with their resilience and their strength”.
She also paid tribute to her mother, Angela Deer.
“[She] told me every day, pretty much, that I could do anything I set my mind to and not to let anyone get in my way”, she shared with emotion. “Mom, I’m here because of you, because of that belief in me that you had.”
Deer added that all indigenous kids need to hear that kind of message.
“Their dreams are important, their voice is important and together, we need to make a society that is safe for them and that they can thrive in”, she said, dedicating her award to them.
The director is known for the documentary Club Native, which she won a Gemini award for, as well as the television show Mohawk Girls. Beans, will be in theatres in spring 2021 and available on Crave after.