Directed by Robin McKenna
“Intelligent and life-affirming.”—Andrew Parker, The Gate
Inspired by Lewis Hyde’s beloved classic book The Gift: Creativity and the Artist in the Modern World, Gift is a richly cinematic documentary, interweaving stories of art projects with a non-monetary exchange. On North America’s Pacific Northwest Coast, a young indigenous man undertakes the elaborate preparations for a potlach—to affirm social status by giving everything away. In Rome, a factory occupied by migrant families is transformed into a living museum protected by a barricade of art—a model of resistance and an invaluable gift. In the utopia of Burning Man, a mutant bumblebee art car distributes honey in the post-apocalyptic desert landscape. Meanwhile, in Auckland, New Zealand, artist Lee Mingwei prepares to launch Sonic Blossom—a transformative offering of song.
Gift is a tribute to something that can’t be measured, counted, bought, or sold. Exploring the parallels between artists’ work and a gift economy, it’s a reflection on the creative process, the reasons why we labor in service of our gifts, and a celebration of the imagination. 2018, Canada, DCP, in English and Italian with English subtitles, 90 minutes. Recommended for 13+.