ermen’s notes for FNIS 401M presentation:
Reel Reservations Films Shown: Number 14, Dancing the Space In Between
Synopsis: This ‘docu-drama’ is about a 17 year old Gitxsan and Coast Salish hockey player named Jordan Wilson. Jordan is a kind and charismatic young man who loves his family, is involved with his community and is a naturally talented fisher. We spend the first half of the movie following Sasha Perry, the actor playing Jordan, through what seems like a normal day. He wakes up, plays video games, checks his facebook page and gets ready for his hockey game later that day. During the game, we are provided facebook updates from his family and learn of his altruism when he passes the winning shot to a teammate who hasn’t scored a goal all season. Jordan plans to stay home the evening after the game, but he receives what seem like endless texts asking where he is, when will he get there, do you know whose here?? Jordan ends up going to the party, though his parents think he has stayed home. At the party, he drinks beyond his capacity and gets highly intoxicated. On his walk home, he gets into a car that we have previously learned is his dream car and it has the keys in it. While he is sitting in the driver’s seat he gets a text from his sister saying that his friend Mike, who he had been looking for earlier, had crashed his bicycle on the way home and was at the hospital. Some of Jordan’s family members believe that he was trying to make sure his friend was ok when he started the car and began driving toward the vicinity of the hospital. He gets into a fatal car crash to the devastation of his family, community and team.
Maintenance of protocol: Before the screenings began, the MC of the event began by making a land acknowledgement and thanking the Musqueam, Squamish and Tsleil Waututh people for the continued use of their lands. This acknowledgement was noticeably different, for me, than at many of the other events I have attended – the difference was that there was no round of applause after the speaker was finished. I don’t know which factors may contribute to these differences in reception and reaction of a land acknowledgement.
Protocol was also maintained throughout the talkback which occurred after the show. Everyone who decided to ask a question of or give a comment to Jordan’s mother first thanked her for sharing her story and for allowing them to be a part of the message that Jordan had for the world, and she would return the thanks. During the talkback, there was also a lot of discussion on the grassroots nature of this film and the support and strength of the Gitxsan community and family network. Marie Clements is dedicated to Jordan’s story and his family, community included. Some of the talkback discussion was about how Jordan’s story pushes against stereotypes for Native Youth and shows the strong and rippling impact that the youth have on a family, a community, a Nation. All of this reminded me of Nolan’s discussions of ceremony throughout that titular chapter of Medicine Shows. The ceremony discussed by Nolan in the context of performance and performance based media involves the processes of speaking, singing, and dancing people, places and times into existence. Jordan’s mom shared with the audience how she ended up working with Marie because she felt that Jordan had a message to share and more work to do for people left behind. This film will hopefully be shown in highschools are to hockey teams in order to help teach youth the importance of relying on your loved ones and also the importance of making sure you are actively teaching the children around you how to stay safe. The short piece played after Number 14 was called Dancing the Space In Between and was a comment on the time and space between life and death and the ceremony song and dance that occupy that space. It is very complementary and grounding after the very emotional showing of Number 14.
Discussion Question: – What are some of the other ways we have witnessed / heard about performances and performance based media that function acts of healing and teaching for audiences and communities?