Kijâtai-Alexandra Veillette-Cheezo has an impressive name, and the talent to match it. In her experimental short, “Kijatai”, featured at the Montreal Festival du nouveau cinéma (FNC) 2021, she explores her forgotten language.
As Kijâtai is working on a future film project and pursuing a career in journalism – we got a chance to talk to her about her filmmaking ambitions and vision.
➣ Tell us a little bit about yourself and your journey as a filmmaker.
➤ I’m a 28 years old indigenous filmmaker. I have directed 4 short films and I’m currently working on a 360 project. I’m working as well on a Bachelor’s degree in journalism at the Université du Québec à Montréal (UQAM).
➣ What was the process leading up to the making of “Kijatai”?
➤ Kijâtai is my first short film created with Wapikoni Mobile. After years of putting my passion for cinema aside, I wanted to get back into it. In fact, the process of the short film was very therapeutic as it helped me express some things that I had trouble with. Especially the feeling of separation inside me. In this short film I showed that, but also wanted to share how I can be in harmony with everything, to be at peace with the things and people who make me who I am.
➣ Tell us about a filmmaker you admire or look up to.
➤ Korean-born, Belgium-raised activist and artist Kimura Byol-Nathalie Lemoyne inspired me to pursue the art of cinema and push my limits in terms of expressing myself through this medium.
➣ What are your main goals and hopes for the future?
I want to find new ways to express myself and connect with other people around the world. I’m currently studying journalism. I want to bring a needed new representation in this domain. I also want to learn the tools to help elevate the voices of those we don’t hear often.
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