Hugh’s News #7 Maina film
A romantic adventure film, set in Labrador six hundred years ago, made in Quebec, with much of its dialogue in Inuktitut and Innu, ostensibly doesn’t have much to do with British Columbia literature...
August 21st, 2014
But, in fact, Maina, the critically acclaimed feature from Michel Poulette, is based on a story that was first published in English by Richard Olafson’s literary imprint, Ekstasis Editions, in 2001.
by Hugh Henderson
Inside everyone is a frontier waiting to be discovered. That’s the promo line for Poulette’s new feature film Maina, the story of how the daughter of Innu Grand Chief Mishtenapuu (Graham Greene) is captured by the Innuit of the frozen north after venturing into their territory to rescue a young boy from her community. Forced to adapt to a new life with a new clan in igloos, Maina (Roseanne Supernault) learns new customs and finds love.
The film was named Best Picture at the American Indian Film Festival and garnered six Canadian Screen Award nominations. The Union Films release has since won Best Picture, Best Director and Best Actor at the Dreamspeakers Film Festival. Quebecois director Poulette has worked for major Québec and Canadian TV networks, as well as for Showtime and Lifetime. He made his feature-film directorial debut in 1994 with Louis 19, le roi des ondes, which was followed by La Conciergerie (1997).
“I did not get any money out of the deal,” recalls Richard Olafson of Ekstasis Editions, “and I only sold about 20 copies when I first published it.”
Maïna (Ekstasis $21.95) was originally published in French in 1997 (Québec Amérique, 9782890378988). Since then its author, Dominique Demers, has become recognized as an outstanding author for young readers in Quebec.
Having published approximately 350 titles over a 32-year period, Olafson was recently denied any funding by the BC Arts Council, an organization that still refuses to release the names of its jurors upon request (Canada Council does), fails to respond to letters and hires staff who are not fully up to speed on disciplines they oversee.
Undeterred, Olafson is planning to publish translations of books by ‘Franco-Columbique’ authors who write in French but live in British Columbia, starting with Nicole Dargère who lives in Surrey. “I am not angry or resentful,” says Olfason, in response to being unsupported by BC Arts Council, “just disappointed.” Ekstasis has previously published Francophone Andre Lamontagne, who lives in Vancouver, and includes a range of Francophone authors in translation: Claudine Bertrand, André Carpentier, Robert Lalonde, Emile Ollivier, Annik Perrot-Bishop, Hélène Rioux and Yolande Villemaire.
Mona Fertig’s Mother Tongue imprint, having published a critically acclaimed series of books about under-heralded artists of B.C., was also again denied access to BCAC Block Funding for Book Publishers by a BC Arts Council jury. Canada Council supports both presses.