TIFF: “Carry It On” is a tribute to the life of Canadian-American Indigenous singer-songwriter Buffy Sainte-Marie | India is blooming
The life, music and activism of Canadian-American singer-songwriter Sainte-Marie has broken down barriers to become an inspiration to fans and fellow musicians. Now, a documentary premiering at TIFF captures it all.
Directed by Madison Thomas and starred onscreen by Madison Thomas and legendary Indigenous singer-songwriter Andrea Warner, Buffy Sainte-Marie’s documentary “Carry It On” had its world premiere at the 47th Toronto International Film Festival ( TIFF) depicting Sainte-Marie’s life, music and activism breaking down barriers to become an inspiration to fans and fellow musicians.
Directed by Lisa Meeches and Stephen Paniccia in Canada in 2022 from production companies Eagle Vision and White Pine Pictures, and edited by Brina Romanek, the documentary is an inspiring biography of Sainte-Marie, as well as a testimony to the tribute paid to the life and career of Sainte-Marie.
She was the first Indigenous person to win an Oscar in 1983 for Best Original Song “Up Where We Belong” which was co-written by her and featured in An Officer and a Gentleman). Additionally, she was also the first recurring Native guest star on Sesame Street.
Being more than just a singer, Sainte-Marie’s integrity and insistence on tackling topics that others were reluctant to earn her great respect.
When she appeared on the television show The Virginian in 1968, she asked producers to hire native actors. She remains one of the few pop artists to refuse to have her rights bought out by Elvis.
For this reason, she was targeted. Angered by his activism, the FBI demanded that radio stations refuse to play his records in an attempt to derail his career.
With her art and activism deeply intertwined, Sainte-Marie is also withdrawn and said she really shouldn’t be the only Native North American to win the Oscar so far.
The documentary features Buffy Sainte-Marie, Joni Mitchell, Robbie Robertson, John Kay, Jackson Browne, Taj Mahal, Sonia Manzano, George Stroumboulopoulos, Jeremy Dutcher, and filmed by Gabriel Levesque, Andy Hourahine and Jon Elliott.
The film is publicized by V Kelly & Associates and distributed by White Pine Pictures of Canada.
Winnipeg-born filmmaker Madison Thomas was nominated for a 2018 Canadian Screen Award for her work on the award-winning series Taken. Its features include Ruthless Souls (19). Buffy Sainte-Marie: Carry It On (22) is her last film.
(Reporting by Asha Bajaj)
Image: Carry It On by Buffy Sainte-Marie. Image credit: TIFF