Native filmmaker Keshane honours his grandmother

Aboriginal filmmaker Michael Roderick Keshane screened his autobiographical documentary films on Oct. 3 at Humber Lakeshore Campus. Courtesy of Kenneth Sackaney

Phil Witmer
A&E Reporter

Emerging Aboriginal filmmaker Michael Roderick Keshane screened his documentary shorts at Humber College’s Lakeshore campus on Oct. 3 as part of Aboriginal Awareness Week.

Toronto-based Keshane grew up in what he called “the slums” of Regina, Sask., a time he described as difficult and dark.

“Most of the people (who lived) there were First Nations. The only options were alcohol, drugs, or else another high-risk lifestyle.”

Keshane’s films, Dead Life Acknowledged and this year’s Giving Up the Ghost, are brief, stark stories of Keshane’s struggles with intravenous drug addiction and his familial relations. Ghost deals with the lasting legacy and influence of his late grandmother, Rose Keshane.

“My grandmother always believed in me and my work…she always told me that I was too smart to end up at the bottom and I want to honour her teachings through my film work,” said Keshane.

Ghost details Rose Keshane’s triumphs (raising 14 kids by herself) and her long period suffering from Parkinson’s disease.

Humber Manager of Community Partnerships Sabra Desai, who attended the L Space Gallery screening, said that Keshane has a “natural skill” as a storyteller and that “everyone should hear (his) story”.

Keshane will release his first dramatic, non-documentary movie next year under his production company Elizabeth Films.

“My grandmother taught me to be a helper, said Keshane. “Compared to those who I speak to, I come second.”

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