Introduction & International Awards - 1

1 3 5 7 9 11
2 4 6 8 10 12

Scared Absolutely Shitless at Ipperwash - 2012 Update

"Thank you so much for believing in us
when no one else would listen."

Cully George, Aug. 2004
- to the documentary filmmakers Joan & John Goldi

AWARDS Update:

Ipperwash: A Canadian Tragedy

Produced by Goldi Productions Ltd.

The season opener for CBC'S
The Passionate Eye

Has won important international awards at leading American film and television festivals

Go to The Faces of Ipperwash

Below the order in which they were awarded.

Investigative Filmmakers Joan & John Goldi csc, at Ipperwash

In October, 1995, only weeks after the killing of Dudley George at Ipperwash, at a time all the media were barred from access to the people at Stoney Point, longtime Canadian documentary filmmakers, Joan Goldi and John Goldi csc, started their investigation into what really happened.

We were the only media allowed behind the barricades at Camp Ipperwash with access to the terrorized people there, who had barred all outsiders - especially the media - from getting in.

Our research, inside, convinced us that "the universally publicized media story, of police returning fire in self defence against terrorist Indians shooting guns at OPP officers," was a total fabrication by OPP publicists.

And it was being swallowed holus bolus by an unquestioning media, which aided and abetted the police cover up by demonizing the people of Stoney Point, letting the public believe they were merely "rowdy, gun-toting Indians who got the comeuppance they deserved."

What evidence did they have for any of it? Was this racism? Do you have a better explanation?

Thanks to mainstream media journalists this was the overwhelming public view of the Stoney Pointer First Nation in September, October, November, December 1995, and January, February, and March 1996.

Nothing illustrates white media racism more clearly than the fact that Peter Edwards, the Star's chief investigative reporter on Ipperwash, did not publish a single solitary article during these six long months that were the darkest hours of the people at Ipperwash.

His last article was published on September 19, 1995.

He let the file die, and wrote nothing further till March 31, and early April 1996.

Astonishingly, he would later write a book and get a medal for human rights.

The fact that the white mainstream media dropped the ball on this file will forever stain the history of the profession when posterity looks back on this period of Canadian journalism.

A full six months without a peep, as the First Nations people of Ipperwash hid behind their barricades in fear of what would happen to them if they, their women, their children, ventured out into a world dominated by trigger happy white policemen, a racist Premier*** and a hostile and uncaring white media.

The journalists would only start writing again after reports leaked out about what the new SIU investigation - which we were responsible for jump-starting on Dec. 8, 1995 - was uncovering, in March and April, 1996. Then the white mainstream media journalists became brave again. Peter Edwards wrote his first Ipperwash article on March 31, after an unforgivable absence from writing publicly about the Ippwerwash file for almost seven months.

***We became aware in October 1995, that Premier Harris - the ex-golf pro - at a Queens Park meeting shouted to "Get those fucking Indians out of the Park," a racist diatribe that did not become public knowledge until many years later, when even a cabinet minister, under oath, said Harris did indeed say it. Our source was the local Chief, Tom Bressette, who had his secret mole in the Premier's entourage, and who phoned him a warning, of worse to come, only hours after the Premier spoke out. The police attack and killing occured immediately after...

On December 8, 1995, - at a time the mainstream media had totally abandoned the Ipperwash file; no one had written a thing for months - at SIU headquarters, we insisted that the SIU (the Special Investigations Unit is mandated to investigate all police shootings in Ontario) re-open the Ipperwash file, which it was just on the point of closing without charging any police officer with wrongdoing in the killing of Dudley George. We were informed that they had a press conference already planned to make that announcement on December 11.

We were strong in saying they couldn't do that - our exact words, "You can't do that!" - and offered to act as liaison with the traumatized people of Ipperwash and give their investigators access to all the people who had been at the site of the shooting, none of whom the SIU had talked to. The SIU agreed, and cancelled its mandatory press conference - due 90 days after an incident investigation. We got its investigators their first access to the people behind the barricades at Stoney Point, and filmed their activities when they were first allowed in, in February 1996. (It was this investigation which led to charges the following June.)

With that accomplished, sometime in March, we ended our lengthy investigation at Ipperwash. After working for months without income of any kind, we had to go find work that paid bills we were incurring for gas, room and board, and production expenses. But we knew, that once the SIU knew what we had already established as the facts, the Stoney Pointers would be exonerated, charges would be laid against the police, and mainstream media interest would revive. And the demonized people of Stoney Point would get their day in court, and some sort of justice in the court of public opinion.

Which is exactly what happened. The renewed SIU investigation, which we were responsible for re launching, once again perked the interest of the members of the mainstream media, who slowly started picking up the ball, they should never have dropped in the first place. They had originally chosen, instead, to blindly xerox OPP handouts as investigative journalism for their front pages.

As a journalist, who later got a medal for his stories on Ipperwash, told us, more than a little defensively, "You can't really blame us for the blinders and the lapse. You know, we journalists depend heavily on the police for access and for scoops. We didn't want to jeopardize that."

Two years, and millions of dollars later, a judge ruled that the Stoney Pointers were totally absolved of any and all terrorist behaviour, that numerous OPP officers were lying in court, about their activities that night, and found one of its most elite officers guilty of killing Dudley George. The story that ultimately came to light, was, in every particular, exactly what we had told the SIU had happened, three months after the shooting, two years before...

Ipperwash: A Canadian Tragedy

We believe that without our intervention, in insisting that the SIU reopen the Dudley George file, none of this - court charges, a guilty verdict, the Ipperwash Inquiry, etc. - would ever have come to pass.

From October 1995, to February 1996, we had spent 73 days behind the barricades at Stoney Point, had talked repeatedly to virtually all of the 60 people there, driven 11,000 kms, and lived in motels, and had shot over 100 tapes. Ninety-nine percent of the expenses came out of our own personal funds. We did it to right a wrong and preserve the historical video record for posterity.

Most of the footage we shot in 1995-96, of life behind the barricades, has never been seen by anyone, in private or public.

It is a treasure trove of glimpses into the lives of modern Canadian First Nations people trying to live normal lives, when they are traumatized by the fear that outside the barricades is a world of people trying to kill them if they gave them half a chance...

The Final Shame - Whatever else Ipperwash is, it is a sad indictment of a profession that claims to be some kind of watchdog for democracy, human rights, and a protector and spokesperson for victims of bureaucratic oppression. The mainstream media failed, big time, on the Ipperwash file, delaying justice for years, blinded from seeing or looking for evidence, and information, that was available at the time, but just too lazy, and set in their ways, to do more than show up for work, collect their pay, and josh around with, you know, the usual sources...

Is it any wonder the media, in its entirety, was barred from Camp Ipperwash in the fall of 1995? The Stoney Pointers were the only ones who got the story right...

Should any member of the media have gotten a medal?

Two Certificates of Merit, Mar. 2006
The Hugo Awards at the Chicago Film Festival

We are pleased to announce that

"Ipperwash: A Canadian Tragedy"

has been awarded a prestigious
Certificate of Merit

in international competition, at the Chicago Film Festival, the only program from the CBC (Canadian Broadcasting Corporation) to win an award in the heavily contested Social/Political Documentary category.

We are pleased that Ipperwash was awarded a Second Certificate of Merit, in the prestigious Investigative Reporting/News Documentary category, being one of only six award winners - and the only Canadian - honoured by the jury in this competition.

The Hugo Awards present only Gold, Silver, and Certificates of Merit, which are considered Bronze Awards at other festivals.
Columbus (OH) International Film & Video Festival

We are pleased to announce that

"Ipperwash: A Canadian Tragedy"

has been awarded the BRONZE MEDAL, in international competition, at the 53rd Columbus International Film & Video Festival in Ohio.

We are pleased that Ipperwash, an entirely Canada-specific documentary, has won so many outstanding international awards and honours.

Promotional Request,
Amnesty International, Ottawa, ON
"We thank you for allowing us to use "Ipperwash: A Canadian Tragedy" in our human rights promotional campaigns. It is a great success with our audiences in making Canadians more aware of the human rights abuses that occur right here in Canada. All of us should be showing this program to spread awareness of the injustices carried out against Canada's Aboriginal and minority populations."
We note with irony, that Ipperwash: A Canadian Tragedy was rejected by an Aboriginal issues film festival in Winnipeg, Manitoba (see below.) Not good enough, or important enough, for the Peg and the denizens hunched about Portage & Main.
Houston (TX) International Film & Television Festival (Worldfest)
We are pleased
to announce


"Ipperwash: A Canadian Tragedy"

a documentary about Canada, has been awarded the highly coveted PLATINUM AWARD, the Festival's top award, in international competition, in the extremely prestigious "INVESTIGATIVE JOURNALISM" category, at the world's largest film and television festival in Houston Texas.

This category honours television producers who excel in two major fields of endeavour: investigative sleuthing, research, and writing, as well as film and television communication and crafting.

(The festival typically receives over four thousand submissions, in scores of categories, from over 1200 producers from around the world.)

All phases of production of this program, including research, location shooting, and studio post-production (music, sound, and picture off and online editing) were entirely carried out by our partners, long-time Canadian filmmakers Joan Goldi and John Goldi csc.

The last time this team sent a program to compete at Houston Worldfest - the four-hour series "The Great Anglo-Boer War: The Canadian Experience," made for History Television, and for which both also did all the phases of production - they were awarded an astonishing Four Gold Medals, an achievement the President of Worldfest called "OUTRAGEOUS."


Award-winning Canadian filmmaker, John Goldi csc (far left) was first introduced to Ipperwash by the founding spirit for our company, and its logo, "KEEPING CANADIANS IN TOUCH WITH CANADA," John Goldi Senior, shown taking his family to the beach off Stoney Point (far right) in 1953, only meters from where Dudley George, a Canadian Aboriginal, would be killed 42 years later, by police.

The place and the event would inspire John Goldi to make a documentary to tell the story of this Canadian tragedy to the world.

Boohoo AWARD, Fall 2005
Also known as "The Oh, So Canadian Award" from the organizers of:
Winnipeg Aboriginal Film & Video Festival

We are not interested in showing your program

"Ipperwash: A Canadian Tragedy"

to our festival audiences in Winnipeg, Manitoba, Canada.

Festival organizers did not say whether they refused to accept this program for show because:

  • the Producers are white and so can not have anything of value to say on Canadian Aboriginal human rights abuses on any level
  • there are no First Nations people in Manitoba, or those with civil rights problems, and none with complaints regarding policing, or because
  • they will not give exposure to a program which questions abusive policing against native protesters, or because
  • no one in Winnipeg could possibly be interested in something that happened in Ontario or because
  • the program had won just too many international awards
Hopefully no public funding is going to this fledgling attempt at a festival to pay for salaries of people whose vision of program excellence and relevance seems to be bounded by the Winnipeg 100-101 Ring Road and be so wildly out of whack with Amnesty International's view of this important Canadian documentary.
Apr. 2005
Selected for Show,
Executive Director, Montreal First People's Festival
"We are pleased to inform you that 'Ipperwash: A Canadian Tragedy' as been Selected for Show to the General Public in the National Film Board's downtown theatre, during the "First People's Festival 2005" in Montreal, June 13-22, 2005."
"This festival, is among the larger North American film festivals that deal specifically with video and film about the First Nations of the Americas."
Houston (TX) International Film & Television Festival (Worldfest)
We are pleased to announce that

"Ipperwash: A Canadian Tragedy"

has been awarded the BRONZE MEDAL, in international competition.

We note with pride that it was the top award given to a Canada-specific documentary in this (social issues) category.

"Worldfest is the world's largest film & television program competition."
American Indian Film Festival, San Francisco, CA
"Please acknowledge my sincere appreciation to you for sharing 'Ipperwash: A Canadian Tragedy' with the 29th annual American Indian Film Festival.

"I am delighted to advise you that 'Ipperwash: A Canadian Tragedy' has been nominated for BEST DOCUMENTARY FEATURE."

Michael Smith, Executive Director

The winning documentary featured the story of a re-enactment march of American Indians to the place where the Massacre at Wounded Knee took place in 1890.
American Indian Film Festival, San Francisco, CA
We are pleased that "Ipperwash: A Canadian Tragedy" is also one of the VERY few programs to be "Selected for Show" at the Festival. It was projected in high quality SP format before an international audience of Aboriginal Peoples and non-native viewers from all over the globe, at the Galaxy Theatre, in San Francisco, on Nov. 8, 2004.

Subsequent to the showing we have received requests for information about the program from interested parties all over the world.

JAN. 2005
Request for Show,
Executive Director, Montreal First People's Festival
We are pleased to announce that the Montreal First People's Festival has requested that we submit "Ipperwash: A Canadian Tragedy" - which staff members had seen in San Francisco, at the American Indian Film Festival - to their festival, offering to waive the entrance fees if we submitted it. We sent the show so that audiences in Quebec could learn about Dudley George and the people of Ipperwash.
"This festival, is among the larger North American film festivals that deal specifically with video and film about the First Nations of the Americas."
DEC. 2004
Request for Show,
Executive Director, Palm Springs Native American Film Festival
We are pleased to announce that the Palm Springs Native American Film Festival has requested that we submit "Ipperwash: A Canadian Tragedy" - which staff members had seen in San Francisco, at the American Indian Film Festival - to their festival, and has offered to waive the entrance fees if we agreed. We sent the show so that audiences in the biggest state in the US - with some 34 million people - could learn about Dudley George and the people of Ipperwash.
FINALIST NOMINATION - "History & Society", Dec. 2004
New York Festivals, New York, NY
The only Canadian Independent Producer Selected for this honour in 2005.

We are pleased to announce that

A Canadian Tragedy"

has been Nominated as a Finalist by the jury at the prestigious New York International Film & Television Festival competition, in the heavily contested "History and Society" category.

It is our seventh Finalist Nomination in documentary competitions at this leading American Television Festival, in the last six years, all for Canada-specific television programming.

We are pleased that American juries, comparing our programs against the best in the world repeatedly recognize the excellence of our programs, all of which are entirely "Canada specific."

The last time we competed at New York, in 2002, our History Program, "The Great Anglo-Boer War: The Canadian Experience" was also awarded a Finalist Nomination in the same highly competitive "History and Society" category.

We were honoured that, on that occasion, out of 100 international entries, the Festival Jury selected our program to advance to the Medal Round as a Finalist - the only documentary from Canada to survive the rigorous selection process.

Witness Buck Doxtator
Oneida Peacekeeper

Buck Doxtator - Running Scared!

"They were running away from us but still shooting!"

The Scene: Recalling a high point of terror, when he and a dozen unarmed Stoney Pointer men, women, and children were under police machine gun attack at Ipperwash Provincial Park.

The Implication - The police scared each other so badly, by firing at one other, that they broke ranks and ran in fear from the scene.

Good News from Silva Basmajian,
Executive Director, National Film Board, Ontario

"Ipperwash: A Canadian Tragedy" is exactly the kind of documentary program that we are looking for. It's a perfect fit for the National Film Board's mandate and - with its theme of promoting social justice and examination of human rights abuses - in line with what the NFB is currently interested in exploring."

Precisely! Our sentiments exactly...

Expressed to us enthusiastically by Silva Basmajian, the Executive Director, NFB Ontario, in a personal interview when we pitched the project to her at her office.

We had sought the support of the National Film Board in the making of this documentary, believing that this stunning story of police human and civil rights abuse against First Nations people in Ontario - which we were the first to uncover in November, 1995, and then to report to Ontario's SIU, and the CBC - is exactly what Canada's taxpayers had funded the National Film Board to produce, in promoting the "national good." Ms. Basmajian told us she agreed.

After eight years of living in remote African, Inuit, and Dene communities, and many years more, of working for, and with, many First Nations groups across Canada, we had developed a knowledge, and an insight into the Aboriginal experience in Canada, that few non-Natives shared. It is precisely why, when all other journalists and media outlets had abandoned the Ipperwash file, as "just desserts for a rowdy bunch of gun-toting Indians who got exactly what they deserved," that we uncovered the tragic Ipperwash miscarriage of justice in November, 1995.

With our 136 international television awards (including 69 Platinum, Gold, Silver, and Bronze Medals) we believed we had the skills to do a good job. We know of no other Canadian producer who has so many high level international documentary television awards, every one of them for entirely Canada-specific programs.

The Distribution arm of the National Film Board - not the production end - had accorded us the rare honour, in the 1980s, to bulk purchase four of our privately produced films, for the National Film Board's National Catalogue and Lending Library Service. Getting the NFB to buy even one private film, which it had no hand in producing, was a rare occurrence indeed; to have four selected was an unprecedented achievement for a producer.

Bad News from Silva Basmajian,
Executive Director, National Film Board, Ontario

We then received a short and curt letter in the mail saying "We are not interested in your project, "Ipperwash: A Canadian Tragedy," with no reason given whatsoever.

Numerous, understandably frantic attempts by us to contact Silva Basmajian, went unanswered.

Neither she nor any of her subordinates ever returned any of our calls.

It's understandable - what could she possibly say, in view of her total about-face. She knew she had lost total credibility, as a responsible public official, and television professional. So she ran from her responsibilities to us, and the taxpayers of Canada, who expect her to do her job dutifully and professionally.

We had been forewarned, by industry insiders, to expect this kind of treatment, that the National Film Board was an "Insider's club" which heavily favours former employees, their business associates, and their pet projects.

Clearly we are not former employees... And have never had any luck with the NFB producers, who look for people with more "merit" than we have been able to muster, to put their money behind.


Nevertheless, to us it is still shocking that Canada's National Film Board refused to get involved in what is certainly Ontario's - as well as one of Canada's - most important human rights and Aboriginal issues programs ever made.

The NFB had a chance to be a force for good in the Canadian community, and use its considerable publicity arm, paid for by the taxpayers of Canada, to stand against systemic racism, which is Canada's biggest problem in the 21st century.

It chose to be part of the problem, instead of the solution.

And it raises the very real question for Canadian taxpayers: why bother funding an institution whose officials obviously seems more tuned to promoting private agendas instead of the public good?

Go to The Faces of Ipperwash
Copyright Goldi Productions Ltd. - 1996, 1999, 2005, 2011