Buffy Sainte-Marie documentary wins International Emmy


A documentary about folk legend Buffy Sainte-Marie, made before her Indigenous ancestry was called into question, has won an International Emmy Award.

“Buffy Sainte-Marie: Carry It On,” directed by Madison Thomas and narrated by Sainte-Marie, won in the arts programming category.

The award is presented by the International Academy of Television Arts & Sciences.

Producers describe the film as a retrospective of Sainte-Marie’s life and career, including interviews with famous friends and colleagues, never-before-seen archival material and cinematic recreations.

The singer-songwriter’s ancestry was challenged in a CBC investigation last month that presented several identity documents that suggested she is Italian American.

Saint-Marie has denied the accusations.

Sainte-Marie’s story of her birth, childhood and identity has shifted throughout her six-decade career, with her identifying as Algonquin and Mi’kmaq before saying she was Cree, adopted from a mother in Saskatchewan.

The documentary, produced by Eagle Vision, White Pine Pictures and Paquin Entertainment, premiered at the Toronto International Film Festival last year and is available to stream on Crave, while the CBC piece is available on YouTube.

A statement by White Pine Pictures on its website supports Sainte-Marie.

“We stand behind Buffy and believe it to be true that her mother told her she was adopted and of Canadian Indigenous descent.”

This report by The Canadian Press was first published Nov. 20, 2023.

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