For her 53rd project, renown Indigenous filmmaker Alanis Obomsawin profiles the life of Jordan River Anderson, a deceased five-year-old boy whose battle with a rare genetic disorder caused political upheaval in Canada between the provincial and federal governments over the cost of his care.

Titled Jordan River Anderson, The Messenger, the 65-minute documentary details how the short life of its namesake led to the instating of Jordan’s Principle, a law that guarantees that Indigenous children have access to government-funded services.

Focused on more than Anderson’s plight and untimely death in 2005, the film is also peppered with the voices of parents of other Indigenous special needs children who have been denied access to lifesaving health services. Many of them state Canada’s longstanding history of systemic racism and discrimination towards the Indigenous community as the root cause of the ill-treatment.

Obomsawin is known for riveting storytelling that works to highlight the Indigenous experience, and her latest offering is no different. Originally starting the film in 2011, it took her five years to find a suitable ending to complete it.

Jordan River Anderson, The Messenger is a touching look at how the tragic loss of a young boy inspired nation-wide change and the work that still needs to be done to repair the relationship between the Canadian government and the Indigenous community.

Screens:
Tuesday, September 10, Jackman Hall (AGO), 6 PM
Thursday, September 12, Jackman Hall (AGO) 12 PM
Saturday, September 14, TIFF Bell Lightbox, 6:15 PM

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