Documentarian Alanis Obamsawin wins Toronto filmmaking prize

Celebrated documentary-maker Alanis Obomsawin has won the Clyde Gilmour Award, which allows the recipient to bestow $50,000 in Technicolor services to a filmmaker of her choice.

In awarding the prize, the Toronto Film Critics Association praised Obomsawin as “a significant architect of Canadian cinema and culture.”

The Abenaki director, writer and singer is best known for Kanehsatake: 270 Years of Resistance, considered the definitive look at the 1990 Mohawk uprising in Oka, Que.

Obomsawin’s lengthy career includes more than 45 films, most of them point-of-view documentaries focused on Indigenous peoples and their lives.

Her most recent film is the 2016 documentary We Can’t Make the Same Mistake Twice, which documents the landmark human rights complaint against Canada’s federal government regarding policies that discriminated against Indigenous children on reserves. 

The critics’ association says Obomsawin will announce her designate in the days to come.

The group will announce the bulk of its awards on Dec. 11, and finalists for the Rogers Best Canadian Film Award, which comes with $100,000. That winner will be announced at a gala in Toronto on Jan. 10, 2017.