Neil Diamond (Cree)
Neil Diamond (Cree) is a director and writer with the First Nations independent production company Rezolution Pictures International in Montreal. Diamond’s recent award-winning documentary Reel Injun provides a lively and insightful look at the portrayal of Native Americans through a century of Hollywood film. In 2010 the film won three Gemini Awards of the Academy of Canadian Cinema and Television for Best Direction in a Documentary Program, Best Visual Research, and the Canada Award, which recognizes the work of exploring the racial and cultural diversity of Canada. The film was runner-up for the Donald Brittain Award for Best Social/Political Documentary Program and for Best Original Music Score. Reel Injun has won awards at numerous Canadian and international film festivals, premiering in 2009 at the Toronto International Film Festival and selected as the opening night film of the 2009 imagineNATIVE Film & Media Arts Festival. It has been released theatrically in Canada and the U.S. and has been broadcast on television, including on the PBS series Independent Lens in 2010.
Diamond has actively explored Cree culture and the impact of Hydro-Québec dams on Cree communities bordering James Bay through film and photography. He has worked closely with Cree producer, director and writer Ernest Webb. In 2009 the two co-directed the feature-length docudrama, The Last Explorer, based on the life of Diamond’s uncle. Diamond’s earlier directing credits, with Webb as producer, include the award-winning documentaries Heavy Metal: A Mining Disaster in Northern Quebec and One More River, co-directed with Tracey Deer, winner of the Pierre and Yolande Perrault Award for Best Documentary Debut at the Rendez-Vous du Cinéma Québecois. Diamond's directorial debut, the 2001 film Cree Spoken Here, won the Telefilm/APTN Award for Best Aboriginal Documentary. Diamond also co-directed and co-wrote the series Dab Iyiyuu, about elders and traditional knowledge, which was broadcast for three seasons on Aboriginal Peoples Television Network (APTN).
In 1993, Diamond helped found The Nation, a northern Cree news magazine. He sits on the editorial board of The Nation, and is a director of the magazine's parent company, Beesum Communications. He was raised in Waskaganish, a Cree community on the southern end of James Bay, and lives and works in Montreal.
Work featured: Reel Injun