“Beans” has secured distribution ahead of its European premiere at the Berlinale. FilmRise scored U.S. rights to Tracey Deer’s coming-of-age drama set against the backdrop of the Oka Crisis, Deadline reports.
Spanning 78 days, the Oka Crisis saw Mohawk protestors, Quebec police, the Royal Canadian Mounted Police, and the Canadian Army coming to a standoff over the proposed expansion of a golf course and development of townhouses on land that included a Mohawk burial ground.
“Beans” tells the story of a 12-year-old Mohawk girl (Kiawentiio) dealing with the crisis and the travails of adolescence.
Deer penned the script with Meredith Vuchnich (“Train 48”).
“‘Beans’ is very much inspired by my own coming-of-age journey,” Deer told us. “I was 12 years old when I lived through the Oka Crisis and it had a profound impact on my identity as an Indigenous woman. I drew both positive lessons about the importance of standing up for what you believe in and learned firsthand about the incredible resilience of my people — but I also learned that the world was a dangerous place because of my difference.”
The Mohawk writer-director explained, “With this film I want audiences around the world to experience what it was like to be in the crosshairs of so much hate and anger, at such a young age, and the destructive impact it had on me and my people. These kinds of experiences shatter innocence, confidence, and hope.” She continued, “Even though this film takes place in 1990 and shows how bad things were, these messages of intolerance, ignorance, and indifference are still being heard loud and clear across this country today. We live it every day. Like an infection, hate and anger spreads and multiplies on both sides. We must stop this cycle of violence to protect the next generation from repeating the mistakes of our past and, shamefully, our present.”
Asked what she’d like audiences to think about after watching the film, Deer said, “All of my work has centered bridge building by fostering greater awareness, compassion, and solidarity towards Indigenous people so that the world doesn’t have to be such a hostile place for my people, or for anyone vilified as ‘Other’ by the ruling majority. With ‘Beans,’ I want audiences to experience the complex reality of being an Indigenous person through the heartbreaking and disturbing experiences of racism, hate, and exclusion and the toll these experiences can take.”
“‘Beans’ is a perfect addition to our library of films showcasing important stories from underrepresented populations,” said Danny Fisher, CEO of FilmRise. “Deer has created a powerful, eye-opening perspective about an historic event that shook the Indigenous community of Quebec exactly 30 years ago.”
“Beans” made its world premiere at the 2020 Toronto International Film Festival and just opened this year’s Athena Film Festival. No word on a release date for the film just yet.