The Body Remembers When the World Broke Open, a drama directed by Elle-Máijá Tailfeathers and Kathleen Hepburn, has won the Toronto Film Critics Association’s 2019 Rogers Best Canadian Film Award along with its $100,000 prize.
The award is the richest annual film prize in Canada. It was presented to Hepburn and director/co-star Tailfeathers by author Margaret Atwood on Jan. 9 in Toronto.
Tailfeathers is a writer, director, producer and actor. She is a member of the Kainai First Nation (Blood Tribe, Blackfoot Confederacy) as well as Sámi from Norway.
The film is about a friendship between two Indigenous women from different social backgrounds. The film was shot in real time on 16mm film. It co-stars Violet Nelson as a pregnant young woman fleeing an abusive relationship and was previously named one of the top 10 Canadian movies of the year by the Toronto International Film Festival.
“The title is poetic, but the story is grounded in the bone-deep reality that animates the best of Canadian film,” the association’s President Peter Howell said of the film. “TFCA members responded to its empathy, honesty and social currency, as will anyone who views it.”
“It’s incredibly satisfying to see the TFCA’s critics celebrate a vital Indigenous story directed by two women working on the cutting edge of Canadian cinema,” said Rogers Vice-Chair Phil Lind. “The originality, emotional power and sheer nerve of The Body Remembers When the World Broke Open is exactly what this award is designed to encourage.”
Established in 1997, the Toronto Film Critics Association is comprised of Toronto based journalists and broadcasters who specialize in film criticism and commentary. All major dailies, weeklies and a variety of other print and electronic outlets are represented.