Quebec film Beans, which is inspired by the events of the Oka crisis, was selected for the prestigious Berlin Film Festival. Mohawk filmmaker Tracey Deer’s feature film will be screened in the Generation Kplus competitive section, a section reserved for works focusing on youth.
It is in this same section that the films The goddess of fire flies, by Anaïs Barbeau-Lavalette, and Mongolian kings, by Luc Picard, have been screened in recent years.
Joined Monday, Tracey Deer said she was honored to see her first feature film land at the Berlinale after being presented last fall at another major international festival, that of Toronto.
“It’s very exciting,” said the 42-year-old filmmaker, who signed the documentary a few years ago. Mohawk Girls and the TV series of the same title.
“Beans is a project that I have carried with me for a very long time. To be invited to present the film at two of the biggest festivals in the world is like a dream come true. I am so excited.”
The only disappointment: with the pandemic, Tracey Deer will probably have to live this first experience of the Berlinale from a distance. The 71st edition of the renowned festival will also take place entirely online, from March 1 to 5.
The crisis seen from the inside
Shot in English, Beans recounts the Kanesatake uprising in the summer of 1990 from the perspective of a 12-year-old Aboriginal girl. Tracey Deer, who grew up in the Mohawk community of Kahnawake, northwest of Montreal, was herself 12 years old when the Oka crisis erupted. It took her seven years to write the screenplay for this film, which she describes as “semi-autobiographical”.
“The character of Beans [la jeune fille] and his family are fictional, but Beans’ transition from childhood to adolescence in the film is based on my own experience, the filmmaker said.
My wish is that my film will help to humanize this event. At the time, it was very difficult for me, only 12 years old, to discover all the hatred there was towards us. I wanted to show the contrast between what people read and hear about us and who we really are. I wanted to allow the public to experience this crisis the way we experienced it, in order to build bridges and inspire compassion. “
► Beans is slated to hit theaters in early summer.