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Jeff Barnaby, acclaimed Mi’kmaq filmmaker, dies at 46

Mi’kmaw filmmaker Jeff Barnaby, considered a visionary of modern Indigenous cinema, has died.

The director’s representatives say he died after a yearlong battle with cancer. He was 46.

Raised on the Listuguj Reserve in Quebec, Barnaby helmed many short films, including the Jutra Award-nominated The Colony and the Genie-nominated File Under Miscellaneous.

The writer-director who was based in Montreal gained acclaim for his 2013 debut feature Rhymes for Young Ghouls. The film criticized Canada’s residential school system in a way that hadn’t been widely done in cinema. Set in the 1970s, it also reminded audiences that the events it depicted were not ancient history.

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He followed that up with the 2019 zombie horror film Blood Quantum, which swept the Canadian Screen Awards, winning six out of its 10 nominations — the most of any film at the awards that year. It featured a cast that was nearly all Indigenous and took Barnaby more than 13 years to complete.

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Barnaby is survived by his wife, Sarah Del Seronde, and son, Miles.

&copy 2022 The Canadian Press

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