Politician Man wins at Yorkton Film Festival (while 'protest song' is 'protested' by social media giants
Attawapiskat ON via Winnipeg MB (06.19.20) – Music video Politician Man garnered the Golden Sheaf for Best Performing Arts & Entertainment from Canada's 'best little film fest' during a virtual awards gala streamed live from Saskatchewan last evening. The Yorkton Film Festival has been celebrating cinema since 1947, presenting one of the most coveted prizes among Canadian filmmakers: the Golden Sheaf Award. The iconic statue given out by the festival has long been symbolic of the Canadian prairies, and now, one of them is about to make the long journey to its new home on a trophy shelf in Attawapiskat.
Executive produced by Adrian Sutherland, directed by Justin Stephenson, and produced by RoseAnna Schick, the music video for Sutherland's debut single has been gaining attention since its release. Politician Man is a protest song, calling out politicians of all stripes in a direct way, while encouraging each of us to do our part to better understand each other. Sutherland sings: "We need to listen, we need to change, we're sick and tired of the same old games..."
Watch the video here:
Politician Man - https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7Zd-N19k09Y&feature=youtu.be
Listen to (or download!) the song here:
ABOUT THE SONG & VIDEO
The seeds of the song were planted last July when Sutherland's Cree community of Attawapiskat declared a state of emergency over contaminated water. At almost the exact same moment, insensitive comments on social media from a politician in Ottawa sparked massive public outcry, mass media coverage, and a spontaneous visceral response from Sutherland himself.
One month later, the idea for the song was sparked in a co-writing session with brothers Matt and Chris Gormley in Toronto, and a recording session was booked in Hamilton for the fall – leaving just three weeks from song completion, to intended date of its release. In that short time, an unforgettable and powerful music video was created by Stephenson (director of animation and editor, The Secret Path) and introduced to the world on October 17, 2019 – four days before Canada's federal election.
"The relationship between Canada and First Nations has been difficult for a long time, and in many ways it still is," says Adrian Sutherland. "Politician Man is about this relationship, and the need for all of us – politicians, chiefs, Indigenous people, all Canadians – to start listening to each other, and move past the blaming. We all need to do our part. That's what reconciliation is."
"The song, the recording, the video, everything happened really fast," says Sutherland. "Justin got it, right away, and did an incredible job bringing the video to life in just a few weeks. He came up with really cool ideas to convey the message, even though we didn't have much time or budget. We had a great team in place, and somehow managed to pull it all off. I think we ended up with something pretty special, and it's an honour for Politician Man to be recognized by the Yorkton Film Festival. I look forward to welcoming a Golden Sheaf statue to my home here in Attawapiskat!"
This will be the fourth Golden Sheaf to make its way into the home of Justin Stephenson: "It is so exciting that the Yorkton Film Festival has honoured Politician Man with this award. Adrian's message about change was critical before the election when the song was released and continues to be really important. I was a true honour and pleasure to work with Adrian and RoseAnna on this project. They both put their hearts into it and inspired me to do the same."
PROTEST SONGS IN 2020... PROTESTED BY SOCIAL MEDIA PLATFORMS
Politician Man claimed top spot on the Indigenous Music Countdown earlier this month, reaching #1 on the Canadian-produced and internationally-recognized "Top 40" music chart. The video has been viewed more than 45k times on YouTube, and is being played on radio stations in North America, Germany, Switzerland, the UK, and Australia.
Ironically, Politician Man, a protest song, has been flagged a 'political ad' and 'rejected' for advertising on Facebook numerous times since its release. Meanwhile on Twitter, Midnight Shine's account was 'temporarily suspended' just this week for strategically Tweeting clips of Politician Man to music fans and news sites while referencing a candidate running in the US presidential election. Sutherland sings: "Lying to my face, lying to yourself, lying to the people you said that you would help..."
TV BROADCAST THIS SUNDAY
Adrian Sutherland & Midnight Shine will light up screens this weekend, kicking off the 2020 Indspire Awards with a rockin' rendition of Lonely Boy. The gala was recorded live-to-tape on March 6 at the National Arts Centre in Ottawa and will air this Sunday June 21 at 8pm ET across Canada on CBC and APTN. The celebration includes performances from Leela Gilday, Tom Wilson, and more, with co-hosts Tiffany Ayalik and Craig Lauzon, and honours Indigenous adults and youth who are making significant contributions in education, culture, business, health, law, sports and public service.
ALBUM RELEASE: JUNE 30
A full remastered-and-reimagined version of Midnight Shine's debut album is being released June 30. James Bay will feature new artwork of its namesake region, a greeting by Adrian Sutherland in his Mushkegowuk Cree language, special 'Radio Edit' of the band's debut single, and a 'Bonus Track' – the previously unreleased Misguided Woman, one of the first songs ever written by Sutherland.
Each of the remastered tracks on James Bay will be released with a beautifully-designed lyric video, and Sutherland will live-stream a special acoustic series live from his home in Attawapiskat starting Thursday, June 25, performing one track each week all summer long.
"It's been pretty special to revisit this album. These are some of the songs that mean the most to me, and that I'm most proud to share," says Sutherland. "The fans who have been with us from the beginning, they already know our early music and will enjoy the remastered versions, which sonically, sound pretty amazing. For new fans, it's a good chance to hear the early music that laid the groundwork for Midnight Shine."
"I've always wanted to share about my life through music, and my first album has many songs worth revisiting, especially in the context of today's uncertain world. With everything going on around us, this seems like a good time to get back to the basics of a more simple life, and the universal themes reflected in my early music."