“I have been involved in film and video for many years. The inspiration for my work comes from our own people’s rich history. I am a messenger of these stories and have been entrusted with to bring them to a wider audience. The telling of our stories from our perspective and giving voice to our communities is critical. I feel fortunate to be able to live the history of our people through the documentaries I make. I get my source of strength from my community and most importantly from my family. They give me a strong sense of identity.”
Barb Cranmer (‘Namgis) is a documentary filmmaker from Alert Bay, British Columbia. Her works document cultural renewal and traditional knowledge of First Nations of Canada’s North Pacific Coast.
Cranmer has co-produced, written and directed several documentaries, including “Our Voices, Our Stories” about St. Michael’s Residential School in Alert Bay. It won “Best Documentary Short: at the 40th American Indian Film Festival.
Other works include “T’lina: The Rendering of Wealth”, which received the Best Short Documentary award at the 1999 American Indian Film Festival. In 1997, “Qatuwas: People Gathering Together” received one of the inaugural Northern Canada Aboriginal Production Awards from Telefilm Canada. She has also produced segments for television series such as APTN’s “Creative Native”.
Cranmer’s first exposure to filmmaking was in 1980 when she was a student videotaping oral histories of elders for the opening of the U’Mista Cultural Centre in Alert Bay. In 1987 she was certified through the Aboriginal Film and Television Program at Capilano College in North Vancouver, British Columbia.
Cranmer has served several terms as an elected council member for ‘Namgis First Nation. She belongs to the U’mista Cultural Society and the T’sasala Cultural Group, which presents songs, dances and cultural education in Alert Bay every summer. She is president of the Indigenous Arts Service Organization in British Columbia, which programs indigenous art festivals. Cranmer was a consultant for NMAI’s exhibition “Listening to Our Ancestors: The Art of Native Life Along the North Pacific Coast” which opened in February 2006.