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Ray Morin, A Métis writer, is in Tkaronto (the original Mohawk word for 'Toronto') to pitch his tv series, 'Indian Jones'. This looks to be his big break. The only problem is Ray's growing disdain for tv execs who are more motivated by ticking off the Aboriginal box and tapping into 'hot' Aboriginal funding than they are genuinely interested in the project itself. Ray feels caught between a rock and a hard place as his non-Aboriginal wife puts the pressure on for him to take the job. Jolene Peltier, an Anishnaabe painter, is in Tkaronto conducting interviews for a series of portraits on prominent Aboriginal people. When Elder Max Cardinal gives her an eagle feather and sweetgrass, it confirms her deep-seated feeling that she should walk a spiritual path. But can walking this path mean the end of her relationship with her husband who seems utterly disinterested in Jolene's newfound spiritual calling? For Ray and Jolene, home feels very far away. And having this chance meeting with each other only raises a difficult question: would their questions of identity be answered if they were together? • • • Like so many people of Aboriginal heritage in Canada, the lead characters in Tkaronto feel torn between two cultures and at home in neither one. An artist struggling to find a way to connect with her Ojibway roots, Jolene (Melanie McLaren) feels she's reached that difficult juncture when 'we stop pointing to our parents and saying, "Hey, they're Aboriginal," and start asking, "How am I Aboriginal?"' It's a question that Tkaronto handles with an unusual amount of poise and insight. The quality of writer-director Shane Belcourt's feature debut is all the more remarkable when you consider that it was made in six months on a measly budget. Based on Belcourt's experience as the son of a Métis father, the movie portrays the crises of Jolene and Ray (Duane Murray), two thirtysomethings who can't figure out a way to square up their urban lifestyles and material ambitions with what an elder (played by Lorne Cardinal) calls 'blood memory.' But for all of Tkaronto's heavy themes, the film has a sense of lightness that makes it one of the year’s most appealing local indie features. – Jason Anderson, Eye Weekly
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Directed by: 
Shane Anthony Belcourt
Running Time: 
Melanie McLaren, Duane Murray, Lorne Cardinal, Jeff Geddis
Screenplay by: 
Shane Anthony Belcourt

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