We’ve all heard of the breakaway sensation that is A Tribe Called Red, a DJ crew that incorporates electronic dance music with traditional First Nations music. With their success, and with the current climate that comes with being Native in Canada, it’s time for the younger generation to step forward and stake their claim in the arts. That’s where director Chrisann Hessing takes us in the short documentary Turning Tables.

Joshua DePerry, aka Classic Roots, is a young indigenous man who has had an interesting start to his artistic journey. Growing up in the Long Lake 58 First Nation Reserve, he once had dreams of becoming a doctor or a lawyer, but instead changed his path after a brief downward spiral. Music is in his blood as his father was a DJ too, and DePerry started mixing traditional pow-wow music with techno and house beats to create his own unique brand of “pow-wow step”.

This doc takes you into the studio and onto the dance floor as his native pride shines through with the blend of techno, native sounds, pow-wow dance and breakdancing. His is a fusion of what the youth of today can strive to be: turning their lives around, being proud of their roots and looking towards the future to educate those in Toronto and beyond who are unaware of possibilities of indigenous culture.

Hessing and producer Tanya Hoshi brings an uplifting 16-minute doc that encompasses the hope, drive and positivity DePerry brings to his life. And as a fan of EDM myself, I only want to hear more from him.

Screens (as part of Shorts Program: Below the Surface):
Monday, April 30, 9 PM, Scotiabank
Wednesday, May 2, 3 PM, Scotiabank
Saturday, May 5, 6 PM, Innis Town Hall