Thursday, May 19, 2016

Bustin' makes me feel good!

As a lovely tumblr post I've seen somewhere said: I am really enjoying this new film genre of Mens Rights Activist Horror Films. Films in this genre include Mad Max: Fury Road and Ghostbusters 2016. The so called man hating films that are taking macho genres away from the men with their positive female characters and the fact that the male characters are secondary. You've probably seen the man hate on Twitter, Youtube, and any other place stupid babies need the most attention.

I thought Mad Max: Fury Road was the best film of last year and I wouldn't have seen it without all the man hate it got. I also credit Tumblr's "It's actually really fucking good!" posts and the Biker Kookums in the movie for making me love it. So I'm expecting good things from Ghostbusters 2016 after seeing all the hate it's been getting months before it's even released.

I saw the most recent trailer for the film and really loved how bad ass it made all the female leads look. There's a scene around minute 1:08 where Kristen Wiig's character fires off her weapon and she looks like freakin' Xena Warrior Princess! I love how Thor is their dimwitted but well-meaning receptionist that they're most likely going to have to save at one point in the movie. I LOVE HOLTZMANN AND SHE IS ONLY IN THE TRAILERS BRIEFLY.

I'm also really blown away by the hate it's getting before everyone has even seen it. I think I know why it's getting so much hate from the men, let me tell you a story:

When I was a little girl, I loved the original Batman movie with Michael Keaton. I wanted to BE him and told my mum on Halloween that I wanted to go as Batman. She said I couldn't cause Batman was for boys. She said I could go as any girl character I wanted. So I looked at my choices in that movie.

There was:

Vicki Vale who faints after getting jump scared.

Alicia who is disfigured and presumably murdered by the Joker
And Martha Wayne who is killed by the Joker. 

For a long time, this was basically the choices for nerdy girls to look up to in their favourite media. The girls in nerd media were always secondary and the ones that needed to be saved or die for the male hero's story.

With the new Ghostbusters, this is reversed. The leads are the women who are going to have to save their guy. Now the nerdy girls and women are the Batman and the nerdy Gatekeeping MRA asses are the Vicki Vales. And they can't even handle ONE movie where they aren't the focus and that makes me laugh. 

So I'll see the new Ghostbusters and I'll cosplay as Holtzmann at my next con. Cause it's cool to be the Batman for once.

Tuesday, March 22, 2016

This girl is clever

I've been on a kick for the last little while looking for movies about Indigenous people. Not just First Nations obviously but other Indigenous folks from around the world. I was really loving Elle Maija Tailfeathers documentary BihttoĆĄ when I saw it at Native Women and Film last month (where my film Crash Site also played awwww thank you!). Of all the narrative films I've seen about Indigenous people, all of them have had Indigenous women in the leads. Which I thought was just awesome.

I saw Rabbit Proof Fence when I was in Australia. I was in Brisbane after a day spent on the ocean, winding down in the common room of the hostel I was at when someone from South America wanted to watch an "Australian" movie. So we watched Rabbit Proof Fence. In case you haven't seen it, it's about these three Aboriginal girls who are stolen from their home and taken to a government school to be trained as maids. They run away from the school to return home, following the rabbit proof fence that leads back to their mum and grandmother. The best thing about the movie is that it's a true story. A 14-year-old escaped a terrible school with her 8-year-old sister and 11-year-old cousin and crossed 1600KMs on foot across the bloody desert. And the 14-year-old did it again when she was sent back in her 20s. This movie is one of my favourites! It's so rare to see a journey story with girls in the leads. And it breaks my heart every single time Molly and Daisy made it home and all Molly can say when she hugs her grandmother again is that she "lost one", meaning their cousin Gracie who was taken back to the school. She's been so strong throughout the journey and other than the time she was stolen, this is the only time she breaks down.

 One thing I always argue about with my good friend Sage is how the roles of women might have evolved within Indigenous cultures had we been allowed to let it grow as it should have. I say this because I was annoyed that there are so many rules barring me from rituals cause of moon time or just because I'm a lady. This is probably why I responded to Whale Rider so hard. The movie is about a young girl who's male twin was destined to become the next leader of their community but died at birth. She decides that she's really the leader and sets out to prove it to her grandfather. My favourite thing about the movie is how the acceptance of Pai as their leader starts to make her community better. I also really like the message of how holding steadfast to the old ways may not always be the best thing. Watch it, it's great!

Ok and now my favourite movie. But first, a rant. I am watching Canada Reads and was really annoyed at the comment that one of the panelists said about how there needed to be more "positive" stories about Aboriginals. Which annoys me. White people's stories aren't entirely positive or negative. There's good with the bad in everything. But one of the movies I think balances the good with the bad is The Sapphires. It's a funny movie with cute characters and an awesome soundtrack. But it's also a movie where one of the characters is of the Stolen Generation and deals with racism dealt out by people of her own community. That one hit me where I lived. Kay is Aboriginal but faces a lot of criticism cause she looks white. Her cousin implies that Kay hasn't had to face the same struggles she has had because of her skin colour. Nothing bugs me more than people trying to belittle the struggle of others. Kay was taken from her family as a CHILD and told that everything that she loved was wrong and she had to forget about it. I am a pale Native and I hate when people try to belittle my struggle. It's not a competition. Native isn't who I am trying to be it is who I am. And this movie was one of the first times I saw an Indigenous girl dealing with that struggle. Lots of love to it.

What are you waiting for? Go watch these movies! They're great.

Thursday, February 11, 2016

Native Women and Film

Or How I was on a Panel with so many Amazing Ladies

There's a problem with Native culture where there's an unspoken belief that the success of one person is at the expense of another. I met Alanis Obomsawin recently and she said that jealousy is so prevalent amongst our people and it needs to be eradicated. Vitriol would always come up back home on the reserve whenever anyone would tell anyone else about their good day, their success or whatever. This is best represented by this comedy sketch Craig Lauzon did where he mentions his brother thought Craig thinks he's "better than everyone" cause he left the Rez. 

Cause the worst insult a Native can throw at a Native is, "You think you're better than everyone?"

Personally, I've never felt that any success I've got has been at the expense of someone else. I've worked hard for my degrees and to keep the funding I received. I've worked hard at jobs I've had to be really good at them. I also prepared for 2 weeks to be ready for a film pitch at Gimli Film Festival in 2014 (that I won). And it hurts when people imply that my success hurts someone else. 

Hence why I was happy to be around the ladies at Native Women and Film. It's a week long event focusing on female filmmakers and their films focusing on Native issues. And everyone was AMAZING and insanely talented. I got asked to show Crash Site and I was really honoured to be amongst the likes of Amanda Strong, Jennifer Dysart, Jessie Short and others, all ladies I really admire.

Getting to meet these ladies made me feel like Po from Kung Fu Panda meeting the Furious Five: I've held these ladies in high regard and basically internally nerded out over them when I got to meet them (particularly Elle Maija who's film I saw for the first time last night and really loved). And I felt really great that Crash Site was chosen to be shown with films like Mia and Bihhtos Rebel. I kept thinking about what Alanis said (who all the ladies held in high esteem). I couldn't imagine feeling jealous of these ladies. All I could feel was amazement that I was there and intense nerd like enthusiasm to be seated with them. Like with Alanis, all I wanted to do was make more films to show these women I met last night and make them proud. Success for any of us is success for all of us and it gives us all more opportunities. 

Support people, people! Can't we all just get along? 

Friday, January 29, 2016

Your Face Like Snow

As I was approaching thirty, my good friend and companion Sage warned me of my impending need to settle. I narrowed my eyes.

My fair city is going through a massive babe drought and finding a suitable gnetleman or lady is a trying task for a lazy person like me. I've been on a few dates in the last few months and the majority have been with men still pining for their exes. In addition to that problem, Okcupid and Tinder contnue to be wretched hives of scum and villainy. And whenever I complain to either my sister or Sage about these dates with guys who tell me outright that they miss their ex, they tell me I should see where it goes.

In recent years I’ve found that I much prefer to be by myself. If it’s a choice between a second date with a dude who moped the whole time or a night by myself, I’ll go with the latter. Plus having been in an abusive relationship makes you realize that being alone isn’t all that bad.

One of the worst things that happened during my abusive relationship was how low my self esteem was brought down by it. Your self esteem is tied to your abuser during these relationships and it’s always kept at a lower level so you start to believe the lies the abuser is telling you. So, once I got out of that relationship, I wasn’t sure how I felt about myself. Luckily, I started to realize my own value and really begin liking the person I was.

I also met Bono during this time.

I’ve spoken about my massive u2 obsession in the past and the time I met three fourths of the band. I’ve also mentioned how awesome it was to speak to Bono. But I think that meeting was also a turning point in how I felt about myself and what I wanted out of someone else. It was because of this meeting that I started jokingly judging men on a scale of 1 to Bono.

At this time, I still felt that I wasn’t a person worthy of love. I liked myself but I didn’t feel like anyone else would, especially not someone I’d consider a potential romantic partner. Not that I would consider Bono a potential romantic partner, he’s like 4 feet shorter than me and wears platforms. But I digress.
The thing I remember the most about meeting Bono was how I felt when we were speaking. I spoke to him about seeing u2 in Australia, how much I loved the show, how I spent my 25th birthday there, whatever. And he listened like we were best friends catching up, keeping eye contact and chuckling at my various witty remarks. The best part was how he made me feel like I was the most precious thing in the world to him. And not in the romantic way, just in a way that made me feel like I mattered to him. It was bizarre but one of the best moments of my life so far. 

Please ignore my weird face. I was probably two seconds from crying the whole time.

And it’s not that I want to be the most important person in a romantic partner’s life. It just felt great to realize I wasn’t broken after the abuse. I was still worthy of being thought highly of, of being seen as precious to someone and that was what I needed then. I reckon Bono calls every girl "sweetheart" but he'll never know how much it mattered to me that I felt like I wasn't as unworthy as my abusive partner made me feel. And I mattered to Bono. So fuck that other guy.

Though I've chosen celibacy for the next little bit, I know my worth now. And I really want other people to know their worth too. I felt so bad when I saw this girl at the salon talking about her horrible sounding boyfriend treating her terribly. If my head wasn't shoved into a sink, I would have told her to kick him to the curb. I think sometimes feeling bad is better than feeling alone. I know how it feels to think you'll never be loved again. But "love" isn't worth it.

So know your worth and be with someone who knows it. Even if it's yourself for now.

Friday, January 1, 2016

One Scene Wonder.

I love movies. I wouldn't make them if I didn't cause making movies is a long ass boring process. It's why I have a soft spot for movies that are terrible but still have some sort of redeeming quality. I also use this as my excuse for why I still love Street Fighter.

Fuck you, it's amazing.
But even in the worst movie with the most cliched story line or terrible acting, there's always a scene that can save it for me. Hence why I still love a lot of movies I hated as a kid. There's this Jonathan Taylor Thomas movie with Chevy Chase playing his dad that I thought was the shits as a child (mostly because of their faux Native hipster boy scout crap throughout the movie) but it has one of the best endings I've ever seen. Chevy Chase is about to marry JTT's mom in this beautiful outdoor   wedding while JTT in voice over is summing up the movie. And they play Return To Innocence for the whole thing and it's amazing! 
A single scene can save any movie for me. I hated Revenge of the Sith for the entire time I was sitting in the audience at the midnight showing opening night. But the second they show Obi Wan dropping off Luke with his Uncle and Aunt and they do the call back shot to A New Hope with Beru and Owen looking at the binary sunset I was like, "THIS WAS THE BEST MOVIE EVER."  
I'm fickle, what can I say?
My favourite bad movie has got to be The Next Karate Kid with a pre fame Hilary Swank playing the annoying as hell Julie. Despite her faults, Julie had a kick ass taste in music and she was the reason I got into The Cranberries. I was 10 years old when Julie went into the monastery to practice her drills and she put on Dreams by The Cranberries. Dolores O'Riordan's voice is one of my favourite sounds in the world and the last 2 minutes of Dreams is my favourite part of the song. I don't know if the scene is made because of Julie's shadow spar or the song or a mix of both. But I love the scene with its adorable dancing monks and Dolores' vocals. 
I also dig the movie for Julie kicking the crap out of the dude who was stalking her for the whole movie. Some guys just deserve kicks to the head. 
I love scenes that stand out and long after I have finished bitching about how much I hate a certain movie, I will recall scenes I really liked and made the movie worth it. I can't hate on a movie if it was entertaining even if it was only for one scene.  Anyway, I want to listen to Dreams again. 

Sunday, December 27, 2015

Don't mess with his funky flow

I credit my friend Sage with getting me into one of my favourite shows of 2015: Steven Universe. It combines all my favourite things: fantasy, adventure, mystery, clever dialogue, and WOMEN KICKING ASS.

Female identifying sentient rocks to be exact

I wasn't originally interested in the show despite the abundance of GIFs I kept seeing from my Tumblr friends. I was incredibly obsessed with Gravity Falls and didn't want to go down the rabbit hole with a new show. But Sage kept pestering me to watch it so he'd have someone to talk to about it.

And I really liked it! I went through every available episode throughout the summer and continue to rewatch episodes I've enjoyed. I really love how much the show focuses on the strength and beauty of femininity, the value of friendship and family, and the joy of being yourself and fighting to protect that. 

According to Wiki: Steven Universe is "the coming of age story of a young boy named Steven, who grows up in the town of Beach City living with three magical humanoid aliens, the Crystal Gems: Garnet, Amethyst, and Pearl. Steven, who is half-Gem, goes on adventures with his human friends and helps the Gems protect the world from their own kind."

Each episode is 10 minutes and has filled me with wonder for that reason. I can't believe how this show can be so emotionally complex with only 2 seasons of 10 minute episodes. 

A message from Steven's mother to Steven aka the episode that broke my heart. 

This generation of animation that believes its audience can handle this complexity is just killing me with its greatness. 

My favourite part of this show has to be the fact that the most respected warrior in the galaxy with a legend that precedes her is a 7 foot tall woman in a wedding dress that loves pink. No, my favourite part of this show is how the Power of Love will kick your ass

I am made of love and it's stronger than you 

There is basically nothing I dislike about this show. Even the stuff I thought I'd dislike like the songs were things I came to enjoy.  As a child, I thought to be "girly" was the worst and this show made me realize that "girly" is just as or even more bad ass than lone wolf toxic masculinity. 

This show also blows me away with its positive representation of not only women but people of colour and general body positivity. ARGH THIS SHOW. It cannot return quick enough. Go watch it, I'll wait here and we'll talk about it later.

Friday, December 4, 2015


I was never as lonely as I felt when I was the only little Native girl in the world that liked Batman (or so I thought).

I wrote my short film Crash Site because I wanted a movie about a bunch of nerds that were either Native girls or girls of colour. I also wanted a Native super-heroine that was shy and from a reserve. I designed Maggie Thunderbird with my good friend Kelly Tindall and I was speaking to him about creating a pitch so we can get her an actual comic book! Here's hoping.

Maggie Thunderbird as designed by me and Kelly. 
I continue to be blown away by the response Crash Site has got. It's wonderful to know that other people want Native girls being nerds and being awesome. But I hadn't seen Crash Site with the audience I intended it for: Native kids. 
Cue my friend Cella and her mum, Silvana, asking me to speak at Strathcona School to their kids Grades 1-6. I showed the movie during the assembly and spoke to a group of grade 5s afterwards. I was nervous the night before as I knew how I reacted when I was a grade 3 kid and some loser came to speak to us at my school. I was ready to be thrown out because I was so boring. Yeah, there was a bit of unrest when I introduced the movie but once the movie was halfway through, the kids were quiet, laughing at the right moments, and enjoying everything.

Two parts that blew me away though were when Cella told me about hearing little girls being horrified at a character telling her sister, "You can't act like an Indian fresh off the reserve" and overhearing another little girl trying to repeat the Cree lines after she heard them. But the best part was when I got to talk to the kids of Grade 5 about the movie and what they thought about it. A bunch wanted to know if I was going to make it longer. One kid wanted me and Kelly to make the comic book. And they all wanted to know what I wanted to make next. The teacher mentioned that the kids had been thinking of questions to ask me all week and she had hadn't seen them so focused for a guest.

It was great to hang out with a bunch of kids who were as nerdy as I was when I was their age. I loved cracking jokes about nerd memes and talking about Spiderman with them. And seeing their excitement to talk about making and acting in their own movies was infectious. I had a great time! And I felt really touched when they asked if I could send them a link to the movie.

Even though I am still terrified of being run out of the school cause I'm so boring, I would still like to visit another school. Here's to Native nerds!