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Canadian Indigenous Horrors Films: “Blood Quantum”. Film Proposal

Film Proposal

North America has been a home for many outstanding movies throughout modern history. Most of the notoriety is, expectedly, attributed to Hollywood filmmakers and their large productions, which does not portray the North American film scene fully. Canadian film plays a large role in the industry as well, being subject to both critical and audience acclaim. Canadian filmmakers produce less commercialized movies and focus on the messaging, cinematography, and characterization in their works. The various genre films of Canadian filmmakers allow for great levels of artistic expression.

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Indigenous history and culture have had a notable influence on Canadian filmmaking, with some films making the struggles of native people the central point of their movies. Native people have existed on the margins of society due to colonization efforts and widespread discrimination, their culture and history are often overlooked or appropriated. Using film as a means of expression, Native people can tell their stories on their terms. With centuries worth of conflicts and colorful events, such films have the potential to tell rich and socially important stories. The horror genre is not an exception to this trend, and some producers use aspects of native life, culture, and problems faced by indigenous people in their horror movies. Separate from a traditional horror experience, such films often combine their disturbing imagery, suspense, or supernatural occurrences with socially-charged messaging that highlights injustices suffered by natives. They can either utilize the indigenous beliefs for the basis of their horror or make the film more realistic and emotionally charged.

The issues brought up in Canadian indigenous horrors films are what this article aims to explore. Starting from the general cultural background of Canada, the paper will explore one specific horror film – Blood Quantum. Briefly discussing their author, the article will then outline the main themes present in the movie, how it is similar to other horror movies, the ways it differs, as well as its significance to the native experience. Through this paper, I hope that people can gain a deeper understanding of the lives and struggles of indigenous people.

Annotated Bibliography

Elliott, Alicia. “The Rise of Indigenous Horror: How a Fiction Genre Is Confronting a Monstrous Reality | CBC Arts.” CBCnews, CBC/Radio Canada, 2019, Web.

This article explores the many aspects of native horror, both in movies and in other creative genres. The author, Alicia Eliott, herself a person of native heritage, talks about the difference in approaches to horror media. In stories of white people, scary things often happen to innocent and unsuspecting people who are forced into scary situations or face danger. In many cases, such danger comes from outside an unknown, alien threat to one’s existence or well-being. And while white authors envision threat as an outside force, something unpredictable, native people are all too familiar with the gritty, decimating, man-induced horror of their existence. Many of the common fears depicted by non-native writers, Alicia states, are something that indigenous people had to experience first-hand. She notes that the native horror comes from the mundane, from people considering one to be alien, from systematic discrimination and dehumanization. This article provides great insight into differences in indigenous and non-indigenous horror narratives, allowing us to make a clear distinction.

Ahearn, Victoria. “In Jeff Barnaby’s Blood Quantum, Zombies Offer Commentary on Colonialism.” The Star, 2019, Web.

This page details a short review of the movie “Blood Quantum”, which will be discussed in this paper. The author discusses the plot and the messaging behind the film, noting the director’s thoughts on the matter as well. Ahearn talks about the movie’s effort to pay homage to native history in its narrative, and the significance it has for Mi’gmaq people. I am planning to use this article to show how this particular movie supplies a zombie horror narrative with deeper meaning and substance.

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Lawrence, Bonita. “Gender, Race, and the Regulation of Native Identity in Canada and the United States: An Overview.” Hypatia, vol. 18, no. 2, 2003, pp. 3–31., Web.

This overview provides information on the historic regulation of native people’s identity in Canada and the United States. For this article, the relevant information concerns the use of “Blood Quantum” to disenfranchise and regulate native people. The paper details both the requirements held to be considered native and the restrictions that came with the status. I plan to use this concept to expand on the name of the film, the possible meaning behind it, and how the concept is reflected in its messaging.

Marubbio, Elise. “Introduction to Native American/Indigenous Film.” Post Script, vol. 29, 2010. 3, Web.

This article provides some information on native filmmaking and its differences from its non-native counterpart. While it has no significant bearing on this work, I want to use it to further expand on the differences between types of filmmaking and the responsibilities inherently held by a native filmmaker.

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