John Berger’s Ways of Seeing (1972) popularized the notion that looking is a political act. As a film maker, especially as an indigenous filmmaker, this is a powerful liberating idea. Understanding the ways in which the colonial gaze transforms and takes possession of our production is critical for an autonomous, sovereign film practice.
This presentation reflects upon the work involved in creating an autonomous Indigenous filmic space within a mainstream research university by discussing the journey behind The Ethnographic Film Unit at UBC. Special attention is paid to the power of Indigenous digital videography in disrupting the colonial gaze.