The National Film Board of Canada says Michelle Latimer’s documentary Inconvenient Indian will head to APTN next month, and be made available for educational and community screenings in the fall.
The release schedule comes more than a year after the NFB and the film’s producers pulled the project from distribution amid controversy over the director’s claims of Indigenous ancestry.
The NFB says it held “a series of meaningful consultations” with partners including an NFB Indigenous advisory committee and the film’s producers to find “an accountable path forward … that acknowledges the collective contribution of the onscreen Indigenous participants.”
Inconvenient Indian, which is based on Thomas King’s best-selling book of the same name about North America’s colonial history, will now make its world broadcast premiere on APTN on April 8 and will stream the following day on APTN lumi.
The NFB says the film will then be made available for educational and community screenings in the fall, along with “supplementary material created to encourage reflection and discussion.”
After spending much of her career citing Algonquin, Metis and French heritage, Latimer’s identity was called into question in late 2020 when the Kitigan Zibi Anishinabeg, an Algonquin First Nation about 120 kilometres north of Ottawa, denied any connection to her in a CBC investigation.
The Toronto-based filmmaker apologized for naming the community before verifying the link but maintained in a blog post and interview with the Globe and Mail that she had ancestral ties to the mixed Algonquin/French Canadian population in the region.
The controversy led Latimer to resign from CBC’s celebrated series Trickster, a drama she co-created and directed that was based on novels by Indigenous writer Eden Robinson. CBC cancelled a second season.
Meanwhile, the NFB pulled Inconvenient Indian from distribution and all film festivals, including the 2021 Sundance Film Festival, where it was to make its U.S. debut.
The NFB said Monday in a release that its new release plan “reflects the shared priority by all involved to have the film serve its highest value,” and promote dialogue and conversation about the issues raised in King’s book.