Documentarian Alanis Obomsawin wins $100,000 Glenn Gould Prize

TORONTO — Documentary filmmaker Alanis Obomsawin has won the $100,000 Glenn Gould Prize recognizing her lifetime contribution to the arts.

The 88-year-old, who is also a musician, was selected by a jury of her peers in recognition of her dedication to chronicling the lives and concerns of First Nations people.

Obomsawin has directed more than 50 films over her half-century career at the National Film Board, including landmark documentaries “Incident at Restigouche,” and “Kanehsatake: 270 Years of Resistance.”

Established in 1987, the Glenn Gould Prize is awarded in honour of the acclaimed Canadian piano virtuoso, who died in 1982 at age 50 after suffering a stroke.

The prize, which is handed out every other year, has been awarded to American opera singer Jessye Norman, American composer Philip Glass, Canadian theatre icon Robert Lepage and Leonard Cohen in recent years.

Grammy-winning musician and visual artist ​Laurie Anderson ​was the chairperson of this year’s international jury.

The other jury members span an array of creative disciplines, including pianist Surojeet Chatterji​, writer-photographer ​Teju Cole, music producer A.R. Rahman, author ​Neil Gaiman, Arcade Fire’s Richard Reed Parry​ and Canadian actress ​Tatiana Maslany.

Obomsawin will also choose a young artist or ensemble to receive the $15,000 City of Toronto Glenn Gould Protege Prize later this year.

This report by The Canadian Press was first published October 15, 2020.

David Friend, The Canadian Press

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