I am a constant student and am always learning my own culture and other cultures specific costume rituals, traditions and history. Indigenous Costume is very specific. One has to be very detailed in the research if Indigenous Costume is a part of the production. With any costume, we have to be very careful and honour.
While on location in Peru, I was taught the intricacies that are a major part of their dress. Folds, colours, patterns are very important, just by looking at one’s hat, you can see where they are from and whether they are single or not within the weaving. [we need to introduce this again]
Speaker Series- my experiences on productions such as the upcoming movie, Bones of Crows, the 8-part tv series, 1491: The Untold Story of the Americas Before Columbus, the play God’s Lake and the feature film, Red Snow. All productions have their own specific costume requirements.
As a professional Costume Designer, I have come across many times in my
career where traditional costumes do not exist from my/our Territory, myself as Nuuchahnulth/Coast Salish, we keep our traditional regalia for just that, tradition. I have had to rent from certain families and blend traditional with contemporary in order to “make it work” for the screen. We as filmmakers have an ability to portray our people with respect and integrity, and Indigenous film making demands it.
I have had the honour of working on films like, 1491: The Untold Story of the Americas Before Columbus, and I had to create costume for several
Indigenous of North and South America in various time frames, and on the
theatrically released Monkey Beach, I was tasked in designing period-piece Indigenous as well as the elusive Sasquatch. On the film, Red Snow, I had the honour of designing for Tantoo Cardinal and the best moment for me was when she first met me, she was relieved to not have to worry about her
costume, and she commented on how many films she has had to maintain her costumes cultural integrity.
It is an honour for me to do the work I do, helping the Director and their vision, collaborating with the Production Designer to create a cohesive palette and then partnering with the Actor to create their Character. It is an honour for me to work as an Indigenous Costume Designer for Film and Stage. It is exciting to create Indigenous Costumes for film, it is important work.
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Previous Speaker Series:
- Creative BC – Industry Day 2023 – Indigenous Costume in Film: Speaker Series with Doreen Manuel of Capilano University – discussing the use of Indigenous Regalia as “costumes” in film and the importance of Indigenous Cultural respect in filmmaking
- University of Victoria: Humanities – Indigenous Costume in Film – Cultural importance of costume in film production
- University of Victoria: Fine Arts Department – Art Thompson and his print collection through the lens of his Daughter.
- University of Victoria: Department of Indigenous Education – Indigenous Speakers Series Lecture – Cultural importance of costume in theatre production, specifically, God’s Lake
- Camosun College: Indigenous Business Program – Components of a script and the information in commercials.
- École Victor-Brodeur: Indigenous Artist Series – A Career in Film