“Bootlegger” movie shot in Maniwaki sees big involvement of Kitigan Zibi Indigenous people
A feature film titled “Bootlegger”, shot at the Kitigan Zibi Reserve and in Maniwaki using a mostly Indigenous cast, looks to be a gamechanger in upping opportunities in the arts for Native people while also showcasing the beauty of this northern Outaouais region.
Movie director Caroline Monnet told the Bulletin that “the film is about breaking away from old paternalistic laws, taking one’s destiny in hand, emancipation and self-determination.”
It presents a fictitious northern community, called Mino-Bimaadiziwin, which is “dry”, the sale of alcohol outlawed (as in Indian Act days).
In it, two women hold roles of importance: Pascale Bussière as Laura, a white woman who operates a dépanneur and deals in contraband goods, and is married to band chief Jacques Newashish; Devery Jacobs as Mani, a lawyer and Native woman, is the fly in the ointment, agitating for the democratisation of the existing law.
Algonquin rapper Samian and Innu poetess Joséphine Bacon, as well as Kitigan Zibi residents Gilbert Crazy Horse Commanda, Joshua Odjick, and young Jacob Whiteduck-Lavoie, are some of the many area actors.
Associate Producer Sheldon McGregor, who speaks Cree and Algonquin, was an important liaison to the Kitigan Zibi band and elders who were consulted widely on the project. The movie was shot over a six-week period just before Christmas and involved over 50 people. Five trailers, a Winnebago and technical people from Montreal were also in the mix.
McGregor said that the movie created ready jobs, pointing to alternate arts employment for area Indigenous people. “It was very personal for me since some of the footage involved my grandparents’ place. The movie I hope will show how truly beautiful the Maniwaki landscape is as an untapped jewel of northern cinematography.”
The film is now in post-production and Director Caroline Monnet says the release date may be in the fall of 2020.
Bootlegger looks to be an art repertoire as well as a political “engagé” film, making statements on the role of women and the evolving Indigenous communities’ struggle for recognition and a rightful place in the sun.