Inspired by Lewis Hyde’s beloved classic The Gift: Creativity and the Artist in the Modern World, Gift is a richly cinematic film, interweaving character‐driven stories. On North America’s Pacific Northwest Coast, a young indigenous man undertakes the elaborate preparations for a potlatch – to make a name for himself by giving everything away. In Rome, Italy, a factory occupied by migrant families is transformed into a living museum, protected by a barricade of art: a model of resistance, and an invaluable gift. In the pirate utopia of Burning Man, a mutant bumblebee art car distributes honey in a post-apocalyptic desert landscape. Meanwhile, in Auckland, New Zealand, artist Lee Mingwei prepares to launch Sonic Blossom – a ‘transformative gift’ of song. Gift is a tribute to something that can’t be measured or counted, bought or sold. Exploring the parallels between artists’ work and a gift economy, it’s a reflection on the creative process, the reasons we “labour in service of our gifts”, and a celebration of the imagination.
Robin McKenna is a director, producer and writer. Recently she directed a short film with legendary actress Geneviève Bujold, produced by the NFB for the Governor General’s Awards, and is in production on Thanadoula, a short animated documentary fairytale, about a real-life ‘death doula’ who finds her calling through the loss of her beloved older sister. She is the producer and director of Medicine, a feature-length documentary about ayahuasca, medicine and healing, for release in 2019. Robin grew up in Montréal, Canada, and began making films with the celebrated series La Course Destination Monde, travelling around the world alone with a camera making short, creative documentaries.
Great War Experience (2007), 70 ans... et au placard? (2012), Gift (2018)