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Politician Man, the debut single from Adrian Sutherland, is a protest song for Canada. The seeds were planted in July 2019 when his Cree community of Attawapiskat declared a state of emergency over contaminated water. At the same moment, insensitive comments from a politician in Ottawa sparked massive public outcry, a spontaneous response from Sutherland himself, and national media coverage. Jump ahead to August, when co-writing sessions with musical brothers sparked a song that was important, timely, and totally kickass. One day in September, that song came to life in a recording studio. By the first week of October, a filmmaker was adding his keen artistic eye to the message behind the music. Politician Man was released October 17, 2019, with accompanying video by Justin Stephenson (director of animation and editor, The Secret Path). It speaks to Canada’s troubled relationship with First Nations. Growing up in an isolated place like Attawapiskat has given Sutherland a unique perspective, while his growing profile as an artist is now giving him a voice. This is his way of taking action, doing something, about the ongoing struggle that Indigenous people face in Canada, while the country takes growing steps toward reconciliation. “Sometimes reconciliation sounds like an empty word, and it’s frustrating. You keep trying to get ahead, but there are ongoing challenges, one obstacle after another. I have to wonder what I’m doing still living in Attawapiskat, and if anything is ever going to make a difference,” says Sutherland.

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Director: Justin Stephenson is an award-winning filmmaker and moving image designer. His recent work includes directing, editing and animating Gord Downie’s Secret Path in Concert for the CBC, Distributed, a 360-degree video work commissioned by the Canadian Film Centre Media Lab, and the animated film for Gord Downie’s The Secret Path, also for the CBC.

Stephenson also directed and animated the film The Complete Works, based on the work of renowned avant-garde author and poet, bpNichol. Fifteen years in the making, the film toured internationally at film and literature festivals and won two Golden Sheaf awards at the 2016 Yorkton Film Festival.

Justin’s work focuses on materialities – the physical qualities of subjects and media. For example, the ink, paper, and letterforms used in his title work for David Cronenberg’s A Dangerous Method, in which the narrative of the film is staged against handwritten letters between the main characters.

Developing concepts through process, Justin takes a hands-on approach with all aspects of production from the design, editing, and animation through to post production.

Other works include direction and design for television, commercials, interactive media, and live performance. He created the video design and projections for Fujiwara Dance Inventions’ production of Christian Bök’s Eunoia, and the animation design for the 2015 remounting of Robert Lepage’s Erwartung and Bluebeard’s Castle with The Canadian Opera Company.

Some notable film title works include Patricia Rozema's Mouthpiece, Sarah Polley and Mary Herron’s Alias Grace, Keith Behrman’s Giant Little Ones, Miranda de Penciers’s The Grizzlies, Atom Egoyan’s Remember; Nathan Morlando’s Mean Dreams and Edwin Boyd; and David Cronenberg’s Maps to the Stars, and Cosmopolis.

Justin's awards include 2019 Canadian Screen Award nominations for Gord Downie's Secret Path In Concert (Best Variety or Entertainment Special, and Best Direction, Variety or Sketch Comedy). Secret Path In Concert also won a Yorkton Film Festival award for Best Performing Arts film. His animated documentary on bpNichol, The Complete Works won Best Arts and Culture Doc and the Founders Award at The Yorkton Film festival. The animated film for The Secret Path received a Juno Nomination and the Donald Britton Award at the Canadian Screen Awards. In addition, Justin's commercial and broadcast design work has earned him numerous BDAs and Applied Arts Awards.

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  • Runtime
  • Language
  • Country
  • Director
    Justin Stephenson
  • Screenwriter
    Adrian Sutherland
  • Cast
    Adrian Sutherland