Alanis Obomsawin joins InFocus to discuss 50 years of making documentaries

“It’s incredible what influence a documentary can play in terms of telling it like it is.”

Alanis Obomsawin has been making groundbreaking documentaries for the National Film Board for the past 50 years.

But looking back to when she was first started Obomsawin says she had two obstacles to overcome.

“It was very difficult at the beginning. When I had problems I immediately thought oh it’s because I’m a First Nations person and then I discovered being a woman was not a great help either,” said Alanis Obomsawin.

Member of the Abenaki First Nation, the distinguished documentary filmmaker joined host Dennis Ward on this week’s episode of InFocus.

“When you make these documentaries, you have to know that this is what you want to do and don’t imagine that people are going to love you for it, some do and some hate you. You’re always disturbing something which has to do, sometimes with government agencies, sometimes with people and so you have to know what you’re doing and believe in it and go all the way,” she said.

“And for justice and for the good a documentary can do. And it’s a lot of work and it is not easy but it’s incredible what influence a documentary can play in terms of telling it like it is and justice and influencing people who have the power to make changes.”

Obomsawin is also an Officer of the Order of Canada, a singer and an activist. She has made 50 films for the National Film board and won numerous awards for them. There isn’t any sign of her slowing down anytime yet as well, as she recently released her latest documentary “Our People will be healed.”

In the coming months her documentary called “We can’t make the same mistake twice” will be premiering on APTN.