Island Filmmaker John Hopkins’ new short documentary Pituamkek: A Mi’kmaq Heritage Landscape will make its world premiere at the 2021 FIN International Atlantic Film Festival on September 19. Featuring stunning visuals and theatrical Dolby 5.1 surround sound, Pituamkek (18:52) is part of the Atlantic Shorts 5 and will be screened at Cineplex Park Lane Cinemas in Halifax at 3:30 pm.
Produced, directed, shot and edited by Hopkins, written and executive produced by Jesse Francis, and narrated by Kalolin Johnson, the film was locally shot and crewed. It was co-produced by PEI’s Square Deal Productions and Prime Creative in Halifax.
“I had an outstanding team and partners working on this film. I feel honoured to have been commissioned by Mi’kmaq Confederacy to produce and direct Pituamkek on behalf of L’nuey. The Chiefs of the Epekwitk Assembly of Councils vetted and approved Pituamkek through all its stages and I was elated there was a standing ovation when they saw their first cut of the film,” shares Hopkins.
Hopkins was commissioned by the Epekwitk Assembly of Councils and L’nuey, with support from Parks Canada, to create the short doc to help move forward Reconciliation through a proposed new National Park Reserve in Northwestern PEI. Pituamkek, the proposed new National Park Reserve, will cradle the traditional Mi’kmaq fishing and hunting territory, known as Hog Island and the Sandhills. This fifty-mile sacred stretch of small islands, burial grounds, majestic dunes and rare species, is visually stunning to experience and has a surprising history of ancient volcanic activity.
Many hope that this pristine coastal area, home to the Mi’kmaq people of Epekwitk for more than 10,000 years, will be forever protected. Elders Georgina Knockwood-Crane, Captain Jimmy Bernard, his sister Chief Darlene Bernard (Lennox Island), and others share their stories and memories of gathering and sharing wild food from this majestic landscape stretching from Lennox Island to Alberton. For the Mi’kmaw, the realization of Pitiamkek will provide protection for threatened Mi’kmaq cultures, traditions, and their environmentally born and spiritual language—all of which continue to face increasing pressures from modern Western civilization and assimilation.
Upcoming PEI public screenings of the theatrical version of Pituamkek will be announced this fall.