A 22-year-old Robert Davidson and his grandfather Tsinii on the day of the pole raising. (NFB photo)

Haida film coming home for screenings

Now Is The Time tells the story of historic 1969 Old Massett pole raising

Following its premires at the Toronto and Vancouver International Film Festivals earlier this year, Now Is The Time — a documentary about the first pole raising on Haida Gwaii in more than 100 years — is coming home to the islands for a series of screenings.

The film, from Haida director Christopher Auchter, tells the story of the events leading up to the Aug. 22, 1969 event in Old Massett. The pole raising is seen as a major turning point in the resurgence of Haida culture and spirit, at a time when many believed importmant elements of Haida culture were near extinction, due in large part to all Haida totem poles having been forcibly chopped down.

READ MORE: Haida story headed to the international stage in Now Is The Time

Massett Village in 1878, prior to the removal of the poles. (NFB photo)

The film was produced by the National Film Board (NFB), combining new shots and interviews with old footage from the NFB’s Indian Film Crew — as they were known at the time. Now Is The Time shows the process that Haida carver Robert Davidson embarked on to carve the pole, and how the community came together to raise it. Interviews with Davidson, and others involved, are featured throughout the 16 minute film.

Christopher Auchter grew up on Haida Gwaii. Through his work he aims to “create films that are as engaging and entertaining as the many people and environments that have inspired him, and to help facilitate genuine contact between the Haida people and the global community.” (NFB photo)

There will be four dates for people to see the film and talk with Auchter, who will be present at the screenings. Admission is free for all showings.

Nov. 5 — Howard Phillips Community Hall, Masset: 7:30 p.m.

Nov. 6 — Port Clements Elementary School: 1:00 p.m.

Nov. 7 — Haida Heritage Centre, Skidegate: 7:30 p.m.

Nov. 8 — Agnes L. Mathers Elementary School: 10:30 a.m.

READ MORE: Robert Davidson the focus of new documentary, Haida Modern


Alex Kurial | Journalist
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