Clint Alberta

Alberta CA
January, 2002

Documentarist. A dazzling young shooting star of personal queer/Native cinema, the Alberta-bred director uncovered pain and beauty within himself and his generation of young aboriginals before his 2002 suicide. Also known by his birth name Clint Morrill and several other noms de caméra, the most recent being Jules Karatechamp, Alberta will be remembered mostly for his NFB feature, Deep Inside Clint Star (1999, 89). In this unclassifiable documentary he interviewed six of his male and female friends, gay and straight, as well his mother, most casually posing for the camera on Day’s Inn beds or standing or driving amid the city- or rez-scapes they inhabit. The questions about sexuality, identity and personal history are frivolous and indiscreet, and sometimes the gorgeously androgynous and charismatic director seems more intent on primping directly into the lens in his satin cowboy shirts or aestheticizing his mundane wanderings with his hyperkinetic camera. Yet the depth of revelation and intimacy reached wowed audiences at Sundance and queer, documentary and aboriginal festivals around the world as well as receiving a Gemini. Alberta’s first film was a somewhat more routine documentary short about tuberculosis among prairie First Nations people, Lost Songs (1999, 25). This was followed by a short indie autobiographical fiction My Cousin Albert: Portrait in Shades of Black about a gay and a straight teenage boy duo (Alberta’s character gets pounded out when he develops more than a feeling of friendship for his pal). His last film, Miss 501 (A Portrait of Luck) (2001, 82), is a portrait of an ageing Toronto drag performer named “Burger” in the queer underground bar scene.