Don’t make the mistake of thinking that because a film is short that it does not have a lot to say. You will be amazed what they can pack in in just a few minutes. It goes along the lines of the old saying about quality not quantity. In just 16 minutes director Christopher Auchter demonstrates he has plenty to say. And what he does will have an impact.
Fifty years ago in the very eventful year of 1969 the first Haida pole was carved and raised in over one hundred years. Overdue? Yes. Eventful? Certainly. A symbol? Definitely. It marked the resurgence of the Haida culture. That totem pole was raised by members of the Eagle and Raven clans. It still stands today in a place beside the church. Showing its importance.
In 1969 the elders talked of how when they were young that on the Haida Gwaii archepelago was filled with a forest of poles, but then white men came and it was a familiar story. The Christians took over removing most of those important symbols of the culture. They had pretty much disappeared by the middle of the 20th century. Indigenous identity was something that was desired to be rid of.
Up stepped young artist Robert Davidson (or his Haida name – Guud San Glans) who pushed for the renaissance. Wanting the Haida traditions to exist again. Davidson began working on a large scale carving.
A documentary was released which highlighted Davidson, his art and desire to revive the Haida culture. It was called It Was the Time. Five decades later filmmaker Christopher Auchter has brought it back through a remake called Now is the Time. Using the original footage he has brought it all back to the forefront. All the images, all the issues. He uses the older footage along with some presentday interviews and even some animation to create something modern.
TIFF is the premiere for the NFB produced short.