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Landing a role alongside Leonardo DiCaprio would change any actor’s life, but local Indigenous artist Grace Dove had no idea the true impact her part in The Revenant would have. “All of a sudden, I had this platform where people wanted to know my opinion on everything,” she says. Since then, Dove has been consciously committed to sharing authentic Indigenous stories both on her own and through the characters she portrays. “I’m putting my foot down, and saying we need to do better,” says Dove. “It’s time for me to really own and stand up to my message.”
Dove stars in Monkey Beach (a film based on the book by Eden Robinson and directed by Loretta Sarah Todd), VIFF’s opening film this year—and coming up in February 2021 is the world premiere of Kiri and the Dead Girl, which Dove directed herself. “With Monkey Beach coming out and having directed my first film, I really feel the support of my ancestors, and I know that’s going to be a positive force for me,” she says. Her cinematic celebrations of resilience, power and community are especially directed at young audiences: “I want Indigenous youth to know that they are not alone.”
Catch comedian Tin Lorica’s earnest deadpan humour at Millennial Line, a comedy and poetry show that took a (classic) COVID break but is now livestreaming from the Red Gate Arts Society. Lorica is also hot off the release of their first poetry chapbook, Soft Armour.
This singer/songwriter describes her own work as “a little all over the place”—which means there’s something for everyone in her discography. Her latest single, “Young,” is a dreamy end-of-summer tune, and there’s plenty of music on the way (she’s had a lot of time to focus on songwriting, given the cancellation of, well, everything). Clute is opening for her brother Chris at a small live show at the Railway Club on November 21.
Cheyanna Kootenhayoo is from the Alexis Nakota Sioux Nation and Cold Lake First Nations—and they’re better known as DJ Kookum in the music world. Pre-COVID, they toured internationally with their EDM and hip hop-inspired tracks, and now they’ve pivoted to making beats for private parties and online festivals. This winter they’re working on the third season of Coyote Science, a children’s television series.