Films4Families | 2017 | 78 minutes
SIFF Says:In 2016, children from Saskatchewan’s indigenous tribes strode into history competing in Canada’s first ever province-wide First Nations Spelling Bee. In her first feature-length documentary, director Lana Šlezić follows the paths of six young competitors, from their studies on their reserves to the big day and beyond. Facing both structural and personal hurdles, these youths and their families remain inspired to prove themselves and their communities to the world, with the winners at the provincial Bee getting to compete in the National Championships in Toronto. Although driven by determination towards this goal, the film’s true emphasis is on the journey, illustrating how family, friends, and communities came together to push for achievement. Šlezić expertly distills each contestant’s character, with their values, hopes, struggles, and perseverance coming to life in every scene. We get an intimate glimpse into their lives on the reserve, showing how their families and friends guide their pursuit to better themselves and capturing profound moments of love and support in triumph and adversity alike. It’s because of these personal perspectives that BEE NATION resonates so well as a testament to the power of supporting our children’s dreams, no matter the obstacles.
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