Indigenous Filmmakers Highlighted For NCFD 150

March 24, 2017

From March 5 – 7, 2017, REEL CANADA was honoured to present Beyond 150 Years: An Acknowledgement of Cinematic Territory, which took place in Vancouver on the unceded territories of the Musqueam, Squamish, and Tsleil-Waututh peoples. This three-day event was designed to acknowledge the work of Indigenous filmmakers and the contributions of their peoples that go back far beyond 150 years. The astounding  level of audience engagement at our Vancouver events showed that Canadians want to hear Indigenous stories, and the discussions and workshops we held highlighted the role film can play in getting these stories to a wide audience and helping us build towards reconciliation.

After such a successful and enriching trip last month, we are getting ready to showcase the incredible work of Indigenous filmmakers and actors across the entire country on April 19. As part of National Canadian Film Day 150 (NCFD 150), REEL CANADA and our screening partners are programming diverse works by Indigenous artists in every region of Canada.

We’ve listed just a few examples below, but you can find many more by choosing a film from our list of Indigenous movies and clicking “Find Screening” to locate the nearest NCFD 150 event to you. There is sure to be something to satisfy every viewer from coast-to-coast-to-coast!



Northwest Territories: Riverview Cineplex presents a double feature of films about Indigenous people living in the North. THE SUN AT MIDNIGHT tells the story of a reluctant friendship between a 16-year old rebel (Kawennáhere Devery Jacobs [Mohawk]) and a caribou hunter (Duane Howard [Nuu-Chah-Nulth]) as they struggle to survive the wilderness (Kirsten Carthew, 2016, 93 min). Based on the novel by Richard Van Camp [Tłı̨chǫ], THE LESSER BLESSED is a tender and sensitive coming-of-age drama that explores questions of identity, ancestry and belonging with a powerful and empathetic performance from young Joel Evans (Anita Doron, 2012, 86 min). Hay River, NT. April 19, 2017. 7:00 pm. Free admission.

Nunavut: The Astro Theatre in Iqaluit is programming a full day of films. Sure to be popular is the made-in-Nunavut horror short, KAJUTAIJUQ: THE SPIRIT THAT COMES, co-written and produced by Nyla Innuksuk [Inuk]. This evocative film explores a modern Arctic hunter who finds he has more than the elements to fear (Scott Brachmayer, 2015, 15 min). Iqaluit, NU. April 19, 2017.

Yukon: In a special pre-NCFD event on April 15th, the Dawson International Short Film Festival will present a curated selection of Canadian shorts, including two shorts by Indigenous filmmakers. The animated film THE GRANDFATHER DRUM explores the damaging effects Christianity and the theft of a community’s healing drum have the Anishinabek people (Michelle Derosier (Anishinaabe), 2016, 11 min). GOD’S ACRE tells the story of Frank (Lorne Cardinal), a Cree man vowing to protect his ancestral lands despite the effects of climate change and an order of evacuation (Kelton Stepanowich, 2016, 15 min). Dawson, YT. April 15, 2017. 7:00 pm. Free admission.


Alberta: The Heritage Museum presents the documentary, REEL INJUN, a journey through cinematic history of Indigenous (mis)representation on screen. REEL INJUN traces how the image of the “Hollywood Indian” has influenced popular understanding of Indigenous culture and history (Neil Diamond [Cree], 2009, 86 min). Wetaskiwin, AB. April 19, 2017. 1:00 pm. Free admission.

British Columbia: En’owkin Centre & Shatford Centre is showing EMPIRE OF DIRT. Written by Shannon Masters (Cree) and produced by and starring Jennifer Podemski (Saulteaux), this is a powerful story of motherhood in which a single mom’s desperate bid to save her daughter means returning home to face her own past and raising issues that test these three generations of spirited women. Popcorn will be served with a discussion to follow the film (Peter Stebbings, 2013, 99 min).  Penticton, BC. April 19, 2017. 7:00 pm. Free admission.

Manitoba: Urban Shaman Contemporary Aboriginal Art presents a curated Indigenous Shorts collection. More than ten films across a range of genres will be shown from several Indigenous nations. Included will be works such as ABORIGINALITY (Dominique Keller & Tom Jackson [Cree], 2007, 5 min), a powerful animated short about modernity, tradition, and identity, and DANCERS OF THE GRASS (Melanie Jackson [Métis/Saulteaux], 2009, 2 min), a stunning stop-motion rendering of the hoop dance. Winnipeg, MB. April 19, 2017. 8:00 pm. Free admission.

Saskatchewan: Mispon Festival presents the documentary ANGRY INUK, a Hot Docs award-winning film that uses humour and technical savvy to explore the damaging effects of animal rights activism on the seal hunting industry and the Inuit way of life—and the ways Inuit are fighting back (Alethea Arnaquq-Baril [Inuk], 2016, 85 min). Regina, SK. April 19, 2017. 7:00 pm. Free admission.


Ontario: Timmins Film Society (with TIFF’s national outreach programme, Film Circuit) will show  ATANARJUAT: THE FAST RUNNER, a sweeping tale of love, betrayal and revenge set against the backdrop of vast Arctic landscape. ATANARJUAT is the winner of eight Genie Awards and was voted the best Canadian