« The scale of a journey is measured through what you get out of it »
Quebec, Canada. At the summer solstice, a group of young Aboriginals from the Innu and Huron nations and young Quebecers travels the Jesuits’ ancestral trail, 310 km of land and water which links Lac Saint-Jean and Quebec City. Some embark on this journey to follow their ancestors’ trail, others for a unique experience with nature or as a personal challenge. One thing is certain; throughout this 21-day long adventure, they must learn to know themselves better and rise above prejudice. From laughter to silence, with stories and moments of introspection, a simple encounter turns into a profound learning experience.
In their second opus, Mélanie Carrier and Olivier Higgins continue in a similar vein to their début film, although this one is set in their home country. Once again, we’re brought on a journey where humans are pushed to their limits, and once again, the filmmakers are interested in encounters with the Other. This time, however, the film turns around the complicated relationship between Indigenous and non-Indigenous peoples. From the very start, the three nations represented in the film (Innu, Huron and Québec,) are on uneven footing. But as the challenges, mosquitos, rain and physical exertion mount, we watch as tongues start to loosen, barriers start to fall away, and heartfelt connections start to grow. Brought together by their shared consciousness of the history of the land they are traversing and their shared pride in their difficult journey, these young people bear witness to the grandeur of their experience. The friendships that take shape over their journey form a sort of safety net that will follow the film’s young subjects long after its completion. Encounters catches us off guard and leaves us daydreaming of encounters between vast nations where people could trade, laugh, and learn from one another, with no walls between them: only the endless horizon and the star-speckled vault of the sky.
Tënk's Artistic Director
Olivier Higgins and Mélanie Carrier are film directors and producers from Quebec, Canada. Biologists by training, they discovered video production by documenting their adventures around the world. Awarded many times and widely distributed internationally, their work is devoted to documentary films focused on issues related to identity, social fabric, territory and social justice. Their first film, Asiemut, tells the story of their 8,000 km bicycle journey in Asia. It won 36 awards in addition to being distributed in 40 countries. Then, with Encounters and Québékoisie, they question the complex relationship between Quebecers and First Nations people. These films received many honours worldwide and Québékoisie has been translated into twenty languages. After holding more than 400 film conferences in Quebec, Europe and the United States, they dedicated themselves to the creation of Wandering, a Rohingya Story, their latest documentary about the Rohingya refugee crisis. Parallel to this project, they also designed and produced a multidisciplinary exhibition on display at the Quebec National Museum of Fine Arts.