DOC INSTITUTE SAYS MICHELLE LATIMER WILL RETURN ITS VANGUARD AWARD

The organization says it requested Latimer relinquish its BMO-DOC Vanguard Award after her claims of Indigenous identity were called into question last week.

Filmmaker Michelle Latimer is photographed in Toronto, on Wednesday, August 19, 2020. (THE CANADIAN PRESS/Chris Young)

TORONTO – The Documentary Organization of Canada says filmmaker Michelle Latimer has agreed to return an award presented to her earlier this month.

The organization says it requested Latimer relinquish its BMO-DOC Vanguard Award after her claims of Indigenous identity were called into question last week.

The DOC Institute bestows its Vanguard award on a mid-career filmmaker who “embodies creativity, social consciousness and leadership.” The award included $40,000 of in-kind production services and a $1,000 cash prize.

As recently as a few weeks ago, Latimer was regarded as one of this year’s breakout Canadian filmmakers, partly on the rise of “Inconvenient Indian,” a documentary that won two awards at the Toronto International Film Festival in September.

But a recent CBC investigation challenged Latimer’s claims she was of Algonquin, Metis, and French heritage, from the Kitigan Zibi Anishinabeg and Maniwaki area in Quebec, and raised issues over her self-identification.

The filmmaker has said she “made a mistake” in naming Kitigan Zibi as her family’s community before verifying the linkage.

David Friend, The Canadian Press

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