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NFB Announces Terril Calder’s ‘Meneath: The Mirrors of Ethics’ World Premiere

Based on the award-winning 2021 animated short ‘Meneath: The Hidden Island of Ethics,’ the stop-motion installation reflects Indigenous teachings from the earth, fused into the story, creating a unique viewing experience; debut set for Tribeca Festival’s ‘Tribeca Immersive’ showcase in June.

The National Film Board of Canada’s (NFB) installation of Métis filmmaker and media artist Terril Calder’s “Meneath: The Mirrors of Ethics” has its world premiere June 7-18 in New York as part of the Tribeca Festival’s “Tribeca Immersive” showcase.

Adapted from Calder’s award-winning 2021 NFB stop-motion animated short Meneath: The Hidden Island of Ethics, the stop-motion installation uses interfering screens in an object reminiscent of a puppet theatre. It charts the challenging journey of a precocious Métis Baby Girl as she contemplates her path to Hell while unearthing Nokomis, the Wise Grandmother whispering the Sacred Teachings to Baby Girl, in parallel to Jesus shepherding her through seven Deadly Sins.

About the experience:

In the middle of Turtle Island, a Métis Baby Girl is born. Her childhood wonder is disrupted when Jesus appears and tells her about the so-called sins of humanity. Convinced she is soiled and destined for Hell, the abuse and racism she endures leave her riddled with self-loathing and fear. To quell her trauma, Nokomis brings light to the Anishinaabe Teachings buried deep within Baby Girl. For every alleged Sin Baby Girl receives, she also gets a Teaching that fills her with strength and pride and affirms a path toward healing.

Through a system of interfering screens, Calder directs the viewer’s gaze below the surface to witness a “dissection of the colonial narrative, physically shifting the dominant Christian perspective.” The installation offers an augmented reality-type “looking glass into the Indigenous ethical voice that often remains hidden.” Indigenous Teachings are reflected from the earth and fused into the story to create a unique viewing experience that varies based on the viewer’s position in proximity to the interfering screens.

“Meneath: The Mirrors of Ethics” features the voice of Gail Maurice (Cardinal, Tricksters) and was edited by the late Indigenous filmmaker Jeff Barnaby (Rhymes for Young Ghouls, Blood Quantum). Jelena Popović produces with Eloi Champagne as technical director and Jason Ryle as consulting producer. The executive producers are Robert McLaughlin and Michael Fukushima for the NFB English Program Animation & Interactive Studio.

Calder is a Canadian Métis artist and multidisciplinary creator. While she focuses on stop-motion projects, which she writes, directs, crafts, and animates, she also has an extensive background in performance, visual, and media art.

Source: NFB

Debbie Diamond Sarto's picture

Debbie Diamond Sarto is news editor at Animation World Network.