March 3, 2021
FilmRise, a New York-based film and television studio and streaming network, has acquired U.S. distribution rights to the full-length feature film Beans.
The coming-of-age story about a 12-year-old Mohawk girl forced to grow up fast during the 1990 Indigenous uprising known as The Oka Crisis was awarded second runner up of the People’s Choice Award at the Toronto International Film Festival and is an Official Selection at Berlinale 2021. Beans is directed by Tracey Deer, an Indigenous woman whose own experiences from the crisis inspired her to write this impactful movie.
“Beans is a perfect addition to our library of films showcasing important stories from underrepresented populations,” Danny Fisher, CEO of FilmRise, said in a statement. “Deer has created a powerful, eye-opening perspective about an historic event that shook the Indigenous community of Quebec exactly 30 years ago.”
“We are thrilled with all the honors that the Berlinale, TIFF and others have given us, and now Tracey’s voice and vision will be carried in the U.S. with FilmRise,” added producer Anne-Marie Gélinas of EMAFilms in a statement. “Our film’s story is so relevant to the times that we are currently living.”
The film premiered at the Toronto International Film Festival, where Deer won the TIFF Emerging Talent Award and later was selected to TIFF Canada’s Top Ten. The film went on to the Vancouver Film Festival where it won Best Canadian Film and Most Popular Canadian Narrative. Beans has also played at the Sao Paulo Film Festival in Brazil and the Los Cabos Film Festival in Mexico.
In the film, Tekehentahkhwa (played by Kiawentiio) goes by her quirky nickname, Beans. She is a loving big sister to her constant sidekick, Ruby (Violah Beauvais), as they play in the woods and carefully avoid the rough and tough kids of their neighborhood on the Mohawk reservation of Kahnawà:ke, Quebec. When a peaceful protest at a neighboring reservation turns into an armed stand-off to protect a burial ground from being desecrated for a golf course expansion, Beans’ community quickly joins the battle in what becomes known as the Oka Crisis. Overnight, her community is cut off from the outside world. Beans seeks out the toughest girl she knows, April (Paulina Alexis), to help her transform into the brave Mohawk warrior that she needs to be to survive. She gains acceptance with the cool clique, but that doesn’t prepare her for the racism and violence she confronts as the conflict escalates. Unable to cope, she descends into a dark, rage-filled existence focused on revenge. It’s not until her reckless actions put everyone she cares about into peril that she wakes up to what’s really important in her fragile world.