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Andre Melancon's well trained voice who won him international acclaim of the best actor's award at the 1976 Canadian films boomed out, "the winner is - In the Spirit of our Forefathers".
The cold still silence that hugged the air before the announcement at the Anne Portnuff Theatre was suddenly interrupted by a thunderous round of applause. The audiovisual department of the Saskatchewan Indian Cultural College who were present, ignited into great beams of happiness.
They had won.
Alex Greyeyes receiving the best picture in the promotion category at the 14th International Film Festival at Yorkton very recently. Adjudicator Andre Melancon, a Canadian actor is presenting this award.
The wonder of it all was that this was the first time the Indian cultural college had entered a film festival of international acclaim. There were 325 films from the world over who, had come in the hopes of having the same jubilations that cameraman Brian Tootoosis, assistant director Ted Whitecalf, and Donna Philips, continuity director, have experienced.
These three people who have had a hand in the production of this film on three reserve locations were present at the festival. Missing were Bob Troff the director and Peter Gardipy, the production manager.
Alex Greyeyes, the director of the Saskatchewan Indian Cultural College, accepted the best promotion award of which they had entered.
In this class there was a total of 30 entries.
Andre Melancon and the other adjudicators Don Owen and George Anthony all were amazed at the outstanding quality these films turned out to be. Indeed the films were remarkable as the clips of every award winner was shown to the eager eyes of the audience.
The film produced by the Indian cultural college was the true feeling of the Indian people who are affected by Treaty #6 after 100 years. This production was taken on by the Indian cultural college with a grant of $30,000 to commemorate Treaty #6.
This budget was small compared to the other film makers who receive grants as much as $100,000 and more per one film. To top it off, some of these films were produced in a span of two years. The cultural college only had a few months preparation.
Another thing the cultural college was faced with, was inexperience,
however made up with a lot of imagination to make this a worthwhile film. They were an all-Indian crew with no outside help.
Just like a happy Brian Tootoosis exclaimed, "We Indians are just as capable of doing things when we are given the chance".
This might be the breakthrough the cultural college was looking for. All of the 17 films that won in all of the different categories will be shown all across Canada. It seems that they have been trying to negotiate for further funding for more film making. And now suddenly, they have won international acclaim.
Several film makers have tried unsuccessfuly for years to get the recognition the cultural college have achieved.
As one of the jubilant workers expressed "this could lead us into more greater things to come".