The first totem pole raising in almost a century took place in Old Massett in August 1969. (NFB photo)

Haida director has documentary selected for Toronto film festival

Christopher Auchter’s film on the Old Massett totem pole raising comes on 50th anniversary

Haida film director Christopher Auchter has had his documentary Now Is The Time selected for viewing at the upcoming Toronto International Film Festival.

The short documentary tells the story of the August 1969 totem pole raising in Old Massett. The pole was carved by renowned Haida carver Robert Davidson, and marked the first pole raising on Haida Gwaii in nearly a century. The event was an inspiration for both the village and the Haida nation.

READ MORE: Animating history: Auchter to remake documentary film 50 years after historic pole-raising

Artist and animator Christopher Auchter speaks with GidGalang Kuuyas Naay students about his award-winning short film, The Mountain of SGaana. (Andrew Hudson / Haida Gwaii Observer)


Now on the 50th anniversary, in Now Is The Time Auchter takes viewers back to that day with a mix of interviews, animations and original footage collected from what was then known as the National Film Board’s Indian Film Crew. Viewers will see generations of Eagle and Raven clan members working together to achieve the task.

Auchter’s directorial debut came in 2017 with the animated short film Mountain of Saana, based off a traditional Haida fable.

READ MORE: Haida animator wins first festival award for The Mountain of SG̱aana


Alex Kurial | Journalist
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