Lana Gets Her Talk

A cinematic observation of Indigenous artist Lana Whiskeyjack as she works to complete a mixed-media sculpture of a tortured face, the face of her uncle. Lana calls the piece "Losing My Talk". This brief study of an artist and her work helps us come to some understanding of the trauma experienced by Canada’s Indigenous people in the Indian residential school system, of its enduring effects on the children of survivors of the IRS, and of one woman’s journey to recover what was lost: dignity, identity, and voice. A story of resilience, Lana’s journey speaks of the power of Indigenous “ways of being” in our time.

  • Beth Wishart MacKenzie
    Gently Whispering the Circle Back, Brothers in the Buddha, Unforgotten
  • Beth Wishart MacKenzie & David Cunningham
    Gently Whispering the Circle Back, Rage Series
  • Beth Wishart MacKenzie
    Gently Whispering the Circle Back, Brothers in the Buddha, Unforgotten
  • Richard Gustavsen
    Gently Whispering the Circle Back, Brothers in the Buddha, Caught in the Crossfire, The Price of Duty
  • David Cunningham
    Gently Whispering the Circle Back, Rage Series
  • John Blerot
    Audio Post
    Brothers in the Buddha, Unforgotten, Wolverine: Ghost of the Northern Forest
  • Project Type:
    Documentary, Short
  • Runtime:
    37 minutes 8 seconds
  • Completion Date:
    June 1, 2017
  • Country of Origin:
  • Country of Filming:
  • Language:
  • Shooting Format:
    Digital HD
  • Aspect Ratio:
  • Film Color:
  • First-time Filmmaker:
  • Student Project:
  • FAVA FEST 2017
    Edmonton, Alberta
    April 19, 2017
    DOC Short Award of Excellence/Audience Choice Award
  • Female Eye Film Festival 2017
    Toronto, Ontario
    June 23, 2017
    ONT Premiere
    Nominee: Best Doc Short
  • United Nations Association Film Festival 2017
    Stanford, CA
    United States
    October 26, 2017
    International Premiere
  • Cinema Politica 2017-2018
    Montreal, Quebec
    September 1, 2017
    2017-2018 Programme
  • National Aboriginal Day Conference 2018
    Red Deer, Alberta
    June 21, 2018
  • Yellowknife Internationl Film Festival 2018
    Yellowknife, NWT
    October 5, 2018
  • Marda Loop Justice Film Festival 2018
    Calgary, Alberta
    November 14, 2018
  • Parliament of the Worlds Religions 2018
    Toronto, Ontario
    November 2, 2018
  • Edmonton Short Film Festival
    Edmonton, Alberta
    October 18, 2020
Distribution Information
  • Beth Wishart MacKenzie
    Country: Worldwide
    Rights: All Rights
Director Biography - Beth Wishart MacKenzie

Beth Wishart MacKenzie is an independent filmmaker based in Edmonton, Alberta, Canada. Using film she seeks to communicate the richness and complexity of cultural-religious life in Canada and to examine the challenges multicultural coexistence presents to Canadians. Her prior experience in the discipline of Comparative Religious Studies allows her to bring an informed and sensitive perspective to her documentary film work and to effectively interpret the symbolic codes and spiritual sensibility of the individuals and communities she engages with. As a socially engaged documentary filmmaker, Beth seeks to use the creative medium of film to build community in Canada.

• The Final Exam (Drama/2020/11 min) Co-Writer/Producer/Director
• From a Light Within (Doc/2018/10 min) Producer, Director, Writer
• Lana Gets Her Talk (Doc/2017/37 min) Producer, Director, Writer
• Unforgotten (Doc/Redux 2015 (original 2009)/57min) Producer, Co-Director, Co-Writer
• Brothers in the Buddha (Doc/2014/70min) Producer, Director, Writer
• Gently Whispering the Circle Back (Doc/2013/50min) Producer, Director, Writer

Add Director Biography
Director Statement

In "Lana Gets Her Talk" I follow Lana Whiskeyjack’s development and completion of the mixed media sculpture, "Lost My Talk", as a way to creatively explore a disturbing chapter in the story of Canada: a chapter in which the children of Canada’s Indigenous peoples were taken from their families and compelled to attend Indian Residential Schools designed to acculturate them to mainstream Canadian society. Many children suffered emotional, physical and sexual abuse, and many were traumatized by separation from family, language, and culture. Canadians like to imagine themselves as being on the "right side of history" but "Lana Gets Her Talk" challenges that view.

That being said, "Lana Gets Her Talk" is a profoundly positive story. While it takes a hard look at the impacts of Indian Residential Schools, it is also an observation of human resiliency in the aftermath of trauma. Lana uses art as "ceremony" to heal from her own wounding as the child of a survivor of Canada's Indian Residential School system. She articulates in word and in image a story that Canadians need to see and hear for the healing of the nation, and that the global community needs to see and hear to better understand the complex character of Canada.

As a tool for Reconciliation, “Lana Gets Her Talk” forms part of a Cross-Canada Touring Art & Film Installation "pikiskwe-speak": An Invitation to Conversations in Reconciliation
Featuring: “Lost My Talk” and other artwork by Lana Whiskeyjack & “Lana Gets Her Talk” (DOC Short) by Beth Wishart MacKenzie
Pikiskwe-speak is one of 200 exceptional projects to receive a generous grant from the Canada Council for the Arts New Chapter Initiative commemorating Canada's 150.