Alanis Obomsawin Awarded the Glenn Gould Prize

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Alanis Obomsawin Awarded the Glenn Gould Prize

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by ahnationtalk on October 15, 202074 Views

TORONTO, Oct. 15, 2020 – Prolific documentary filmmaker, singer-songwriter, visual artist, activist and member of the Abenaki Nation, Alanis Obomsawin C.C., G.O.Q., C.A.L.Q. has been chosen as the thirteenth Glenn Gould Prize Laureate.  During her 53-year filmmaking career, Canada’s Alanis Obomsawin has devoted herself to chronicling the lives and concerns of First Nations people.

“What wonderful news for me to learn that I had been given such an honour, especially receiving it while I am at home in Odanak. I was so surprised and to think that the jury members come from all around the world makes it even more special. I look forward to meeting all of them when we will be able to do so,” said Alanis Obomsawin.

Obomsawin was chosen from a distinguished list of international candidates across a broad spectrum of creative disciplines, nominated by members of the general public worldwide. She will receive a cash award of $100,000 (CAD) and the Glenn Gould Prize statue by Canadian artist Ruth Abernethy.

“Alanis Obomsawin’s story is a moving chronicle of transcendence, giving voice to the stories, the hopes and dreams of her people, of all Indigenous people,” said Brian Levine, Executive Director of the Glenn Gould Foundation. “Through the honesty of her films and the passion of her music, she illuminates us all with a message of hope, a demand for justice, and an extended hand of understanding and compassion that is truly universal.”

Alanis Obomsawin has directed more than 50 films for the National Film Board of Canada, where she has worked since 1967. Now 88, she continues to make films. Most recently, she completed a seven-film cycle devoted to the rights of Indigenous children and peoples.  Her body of work includes landmark films Kanehsatake: 270 Years of Resistance documenting the 1990 Mohawk uprising, which received 18 international awards, and Incident at Restigouche, a look at police raids on a Mi’gmaq reserve.  She received news of winning the Glenn Gould Prize while on set making a new film about a dream she had as a young woman.

In addition to her legendary filmmaking career, Ms. Obomsawin is a prolific visual artist. Her engravings and prints have been exhibited internationally. As a singer-songwriter, Ms. Obomsawin has toured Canada, the United States, and Europe.

Ms. Obomsawin is the recipient of numerous awards and honours including Companion of the Order of Canada (2019), Directors Guild of Canada Honourary Life Member Award (2018), ten Lifetime Achievement awards and 14 honourary doctorates.

Ms. Obomsawin will choose an outstanding young artist to receive the $15,000 (CAD) Glenn Gould Protégé Prize. The recipient of the Protégé Prize will be announced later this year. Both Ms. Obomsawin and her protégé will receive their awards at a gala ceremony and their work will be honoured through a series of public events in Toronto, post-COVID.

The thirteenth Glenn Gould Prize Jury was chaired by Laurie Anderson (United States), and included Dr. Surojeet Chatterji (India), Teju Cole (Nigeria/United States), Neil Gaiman (United Kingdom), Chilly Gonzales (Canada), Harry Gregson-Williams (United Kingdom), Dr. Adam Greig (Scotland/India), Hilary Hahn (United States), Cécile McLorin Salvant (United States), Tatiana Maslany (Canada), A.R. Rahman (India), Richard Reed Parry (Canada), and Philippe Starck (France).

About the Glenn Gould Prize

The Glenn Gould Foundation honours the spirit and legacy of Canadian pianist, writer, and broadcaster Glenn Gould. Every two years, the Foundation convenes an international jury to award the Glenn Gould Prize to a living individual for a unique lifetime contribution that has enriched the human condition through the arts. Visit

For further information: Media Contact: Karen Lorenowicz, KL Strategic Communications, 416-245-2475, [email protected]; Pronunciation: Alanis Obomsawin: ala NEESS oh BOM saw win


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