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Directed by Marie Clements
101 min | 2017 | Canada | Not Rated
In this inspired musical documentary, writer/director Marie Clements connects a major turning point in Canada’s civil rights history—the beginnings of Indian Nationalism in the 1930s—with the powerful momentum of First Nations activism today.
Interviews with key members of Canada’s oldest First Nations organizations, the Native Brotherhood and Native Sisterhood, reveal the starkly racist politics that inspired the movement as well as how a humble newspaper became a powerful force for change. The Native Voice established a lifeline between the First Nations of British Columbia, uniting them to advocate socially, politically and legally in order to effect profound change on a national level.
The documentary’s stunningly shot musical sequences, performed by an ensemble of some of Canada’s finest vocalists and musicians, bring to life the past 80 years of politics and protest on the West Coast and across the country. Inspired by articles from The Native Voice, the superbly produced story-songs range from heartbreaking ballads about the missing and murdered Indigenous women to inspirational anthems for moving forward, seamlessly connecting past and present with soaring vocals, blues, rock, and traditional beats.
Interwoven throughout the documentary are deeply moving interviews with the musicians and singers speaking intimately about what it means politically and personally to be contemporary First Nations artists, and the passion behind their work.
The Road Forward is a rousing tribute to the fighters for First Nations rights, a soul-resounding historical experience, and a visceral call to action.
Opening Night: 2017 American Indian Film Festival; Official Selection: 2017 Hot Docs Canadian International Documentary Festival, 2017 DOXA Documentary Film Festival
Presented in celebration of National Native American Heritage Month in November.