True North: Paud Mulrooney’s Irish-Canadian Adventures in Super 8

Deirdre Mulrooney

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Offering a unique representation of the Irish-Canadian experience, Paud Mulrooney’s Super 8 films and self-developed photographs of life on Cat Lake and Ogoki Post Reserves with his young family (including his daughter the film-maker) are a rare window into the life of Native Canadians in the 70s and 80s.

International focus on Ogoki Post was highlighted by Gord Downie, lead singer of top Canadian band Tragically Hip’s album Secret Path, the proceeds of which go to truth and reconciliation with Canada’s First Nations. Paud Mulrooney, a school teacher from Limerick, Ireland, was on this path decades ago, when he brought his wife and family to live with the Ojibway and Cree people, running local schools at a critical period of transition from the Residential school system to more enlightened native community-run schools, and developing a new curriculum suited to native traditions and lifestyle.

True North reveals what drew Paud Mulrooney there – from his days in Trinity College Dublin to an encounter with Vietnam War Draft Dodgers who were forming a film co-op when he arrived in Toronto in the 1960s – bathed in the gorgeous hues of his original dreamy Super 8 reels and slow photography.

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