Howard Editing The Marker 01

Photo of Howard Adler by Ed Kucerak

“Yes making this film was a challenge, but I think to a much lesser extent then the challenge that the five indigenous artists faced in designing a heritage marker. I really did want to do justice to their story though, and to show how much hard work and struggle the artists put into creating the commemorative marker”, replies filmmaker Howard Adler when we asked him about his documentary An Object that has Spirit which has its World Premiere at the One World Film Festival on Saturday September 26, 2015.

An Object that has Spirit tells the story of five indigenous artists who came together from across Canada to create a heritage marker to honour Indian Residential School Survivors and entrust their experiences to public memory. Faced with an enormous task, the artists rise to the challenge, transforming what was originally conceived of as a heritage plaque into an object imbued with spirit.

How did you get involved in the making of this film?
I was basically approached by the Assembly of First Nations (AFN), on the recommendations of an advisory committee, which was actually composed of some seriously talented and well known Indigenous Artists. I believe their role was to also make recommendations for artists that could be chosen to create the Commemorative Marker, and I was very honoured that they recommended me for this project.

My job was to document the Commemorative Marker Workshop, a week long gathering in which 5 artists had to conceive and design an object that would commemorate the legacy of Indian Residential Schools in Canada, and to create a short film about the creative process.

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