Wabanaki Modern

WINNER "Best Documentary Short" Big Apple Film Festival 2023
HONORABLE MENTION U.S.A Film Festival 2023

Eastern Canada’s most successful 1960’s Indigenous art collective was nearly forgotten by the Canadian arts establishment, until, half a century later, a major gallery exhibition celebrates its unique visual style and voice.

The Micmac Indian Craftsmen (MIC) studio in 1960’s New Brunswick forever changed the landscape of modern Indigenous art in the Atlantic provinces. Our film is a celebration of the rich history surrounding these unsung artists from Elsipogtog and their era-defining works. Beaverbrook art Gallery co-curators Emma Hassencahl-Perley and John Leroux, and First Nation elders and artists including Percy Sacobie, Tara Francis and Jordan Bennett provide context forming the backbone of Wabanaki Modern.

We explore the art, the key players and how their works impacted the next generation of Indigenous artists, and how their story reflects the challenges of Indigenous life in postwar Canada.

  • Clem McIntosh
    Ghost Team, In Private
  • Sandy Hunter
    Petropolis: Airial Perspectives on the Alberta Tar Sands, Drop the Needle
  • Emma Hassencahl-Perley
  • John Leroux
  • Project Type:
    Documentary, Short
  • Genres:
    Art, Indigenous
  • Runtime:
    20 minutes 31 seconds
  • Completion Date:
    November 1, 2022
  • Production Budget:
    50,000 USD
  • Country of Origin:
  • Country of Filming:
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  • First-time Filmmaker:
  • Student Project:
  • Big Apple Film Festival
    United States
    May 19, 2023
    Best Documentary Short
  • USA Film Festival
    Dallas, Texas
    United States
    April 25, 2023
    North Amercian
    Honorable Mention (Best Director)
  • Woods Hole Film Festival
    Woods Hole
    United States
    Official Selection
  • New York LIft Off Film Festival
  • Vox Popular Media Arts Festival

  • Flickers' Rhode Island International Film Festival
  • Lunenburg Doc Fest
    Lunenburg, NS
    September 23, 2023
  • Siverwave Film Festival
    Fredericton, NB
    November 3, 2023
Distribution Information
  • CBC
    Country: Canada
    Rights: Free TV
Director Biography - Clem McIntosh

Born and raised in New Brunswick, Clem McIntosh is an award-winning Director, Producer and DP working in NYC and Toronto for over 15 years, across narrative, documentary and commercials. Clem has worked for such outlets as Time Magazine, Netflix, CBC and NBC Universal. In addition, he continues to direct, produce and write his own work, including producing the comedy feature Ghost Team starring Jon Heder, Justin Long and Amy Sedaris. As an actor, Clem has been performing for over 20 years, appearing in theatre, film and TV, including Boardwalk Empire, The Path, Broad City and Netflix's Master of None. Clem is also the co-founder of the successful Toronto theatre company, Leroy Street Theater.

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Director Statement

This film was made as a companion piece to the exhibition and book Wabanaki Modern by producers, authors and curators of the Beaverbrook Art Gallery in Fredericton NB, Emma Hassencahl-Perley and John Leroux.

It is said that art is subjective, and while I tend to agree, the work of the "Micmac Indian Craftsmen” of 1960’s Elsipogtog, New Brunswick, Canada transcends this accepted wisdom. In working on this film, I observed that while their art was completely unknown both within and outside of the arts community, the quality of it was both universally and instantly recognized. My jaw hit the floor with these dual realizations, and I could not comprehend how I had never stumbled across the movement or their works. Through researching and producing this film, it became clear that the efforts of the Micmac Indian Craftsmen had been completely swept under the rug and quite literally erased from the history books.

There was a severe injustice done to these artists and their legacy. This art movement had the potential to garner the same notoriety and acclaim as the work of the Inuit Art Collective of Cape Dorset, had the government not so swiftly pulled the plug on funding. I truly believe if this program was able to continue it had the power to change the face of culture in New Brunswick as we know it today. This film was made in collaboration with the Elsipogtog First Nation with the sole purpose to right a wrong from sixty years ago and finally give this incredible work the platform and spotlight it so rightfully deserves.