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THE SCOOP | Filmmaker/Artist Alanis Obomsawin Is The 13th Glenn Gould Prize Laureate

By Anya Wassenberg on October 15, 2020

Abenaki filmmaker Alanis Obomsawin has been chosen as the 13th Glenn Gould Prize Laureate.

“What wonderful news for me to learn that I had been given such an honour, especially receiving it while I am at home in Odanak. I was so surprised and to think that the jury members come from all around the world makes it even more special. I look forward to meeting all of them when we will be able to do so,” said Alanis Obomsawin in a media release.

A member of the Abenaki Nation, Obomsawin was born in New Hampshire, US, and grew up largely in Quebec. She has worked at the National Film Board of Canada since 1967, where she has directed over 50 films that document the stories of First Nations peoples.

Filmmaking is not Obomsawin’s first career, having come to it as a professional singer, storyteller, and activist. She has performed throughout North America and Europe, most recently in 2018 at the POP Montreal music festival, where she received a standing ovation. She is also a practising visual artist known for her engravings and prints.

Among her films are the renowned documentaries Incident at Restigouche (1984) and Kanehsatake: 270 Years of Resistance (1993). At 88 years of age, she recently completed cycle of seven films on the rights of Indigenous people with a focus on children, and she is currently at work on her next movie project.

Laurie Anderson was Chair of the Glenn Gould Prize Jury, and she commented on the award in release. “Our wide-ranging discussions in the jury brought us to the deep and luminous work of Alanis Obomsawin. We are all so very proud to honour this magnificent artist,” she said.

The Glenn Gould Prize is the latest of a string of awards and recognition given to Obomsawin and her work, including being named a Companion of the Order of Canada in 2019. Other accolades include the Pioneer Award from the International Documentary Association (2004) and a Governor General’s Visual and Media Arts Award (2001).

The Glenn Gould Prize is awarded to an individual whose lifetime contributions to the arts has had an impact beyond the artistic realm. Previous recipients include Jessye Norman (2018), Leonard Cohen (2011), and Sir André Previn (2005). Obomsawin will receive a cash award of $100,000 (CAD) and the Glenn Gould Prize statue by Canadian artist Ruth Abernethy.

“Alanis Obomsawin’s story is a moving chronicle of transcendence, giving voice to the stories, the hopes and dreams of her people, of all Indigenous people,” said Brian Levine, Executive Director of the Glenn Gould Foundation in a release. “Through the honesty of her films, the passion of her music and the vision captured in her printmaking, she illuminates us all with a message of hope, a demand for justice, and an extended hand of understanding and compassion that is truly universal.”

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Anya Wassenberg

Anya Wassenberg is a Senior Writer and Digital Content Editor at Ludwig Van. She is an experienced freelance writer, blogger and writing instructor with OntarioLearn.
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Follow me

Anya Wassenberg

Anya Wassenberg is a Senior Writer and Digital Content Editor at Ludwig Van. She is an experienced freelance writer, blogger and writing instructor with OntarioLearn.
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THE SCOOP | Toronto Symphony Launches Video-On-Demand Service

By Michael Vincent on October 5, 2020

The TSO has announced the new On-Demand concert video series featuring eight concerts programmed by Music Director Gustavo Gimeno.
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CRITIC'S PICKS | Classical Music Livestreams You Absolutely Need To See This Week (Oct. 26 – Nov. 1)

By Joseph So on October 26, 2020

Classical music and opera events streaming on the web for the week of October 26— November 1.
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THE SCOOP | Toronto Symphony Announces Surprise $3.875-Million Gift

By Michael Vincent on October 23, 2020

The Toronto Symphony has announced a significant $3.875 M donation from TSO subscribers Bob and Francine Barrett, of the Barrett Family Foundation.
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