GFF’s 2021 Indigenous Film Series is sponsored by the Canada Media Fund! Stories of and by indigenous peoples from around the world and from right here in Manitoba, Treaty 1 territory and the traditional lands of the Anishinaabeg, Cree, Oji-Cree, Dakota, and Dene Peoples, and the homeland of the Métis Nation.

Acknowledging this truth is important yet only a small part in cultivating strong relationships with Indigenous communities. Please see the resource links below for more history and perspectives:

The Indigenous Film Series is generously sponsored by Canada Media Fund.


2021 Indigenous Film Series:

Bearwalker

dir. Shirley Cheechoo
2001 | Canada | 83 min
>> Full Details on GFF On Demand <<

Bearwalker is the story of a supernatural force at work in a small community where prejudice, injustice, corruption and revenge are simmering just below the surface. It is a dramatic and compelling tale of four Aboriginal sisters’ struggles with the powerful and menacing spirit of the Bearwalker, an evil force that takes possession of and tears apart several lives in the town.

Brown Town Muddy Water

dir. Jesse Green
2015 | Canada | 52 min
>> Full Details on GFF On Demand <<

Brown Town Muddy Water honours the ancient relationship between Indigenous people and the meeting place known as The Forks. This television special chronicles musicians who shaped Winnipeg’s main street in the 1960’s like the late Percy Tuesday, Errol Ranville and Billy Joe Green. For the emerging urban Aboriginal community, echoes of home sounded through music, dance, story and gatherings. Peoples lived experiences of emergence, segregation, racism, camaraderie and resistance are as resilient as the downtown streets of Winnipeg. The professional musicians that grew up on this notorious strip paved the road to success for forthcoming generations of Indigenous artists.

The Corruption of Divine Providence

dir. Jeremy Torrie
2020 | Canada | 96 min
>> Full Details on GFF On Demand <<

Division and discontent roil beneath the surface of the seemingly peaceful bilingual farm community of St-Michel, Manitoba. When the troubled teenager Jeanne Séraphin is nearly killed by mysterious bleeding, the news triggers a frenzy of worship from people looking for a miracle. The Catholic Church, Dakota elders, and an American Pentecostal preacher all vie for access to the young woman, seizing on her suffering to validate their beliefs. But a sage mystic appears, rescues Jeanne from a fallen angel, and makes sense of the strange phenomena that surround her. Jeanne’s message that divinity can coexist with mortal sins quickly separates true believers from false prophets. It will be up to each individual to choose their righteous path.

Daughter of a Lost Bird

dir. Brooke Pepion Swaney
2021 | United States | 66 min
>> Full Details on GFF On Demand <<

Daughter of a Lost Bird follows Kendra Mylnechuk Potter, an American Indigenous woman adopted into a white family, as she reconnects with her Indigenous identity. The film documents Kendra’s odyssey as she finds her birth mother April, also an adoptee, and returns to her Indigenous Lummi homeland. Relying upon verité scenes as the bulk of the film, the story is intense, emotional and personal. Both women navigate what it means to be Lummi, and to belong to a tribe from the outside looking in. Daughter of a Lost Bird explores the ethical grey areas surrounding transracial adoption via a singular story as an entry point into a more complicated national issue. 

Edge of the Knife / SGaawaay K’uuna

dir. Helen Haig-Brown
2018 | Canada | 101 min
>> Full Details on GFF On Demand <<

Haida Gwaii, 1800’s. At a seasonal fishing camp, two families endure conflict between the nobleman Adiits’ii and his best friend Kwa. After Adiits’ii causes the accidental death of Kwa’s son, he flees into the rainforest, descending into madness.

Indian Road Trip

dir. Allan Hopkins
2019 | Canada | 99 min
>> Full Details on GFF On Demand <<

When two unruly Native con-artists are forced to drive a cranky elder across the reserve so she can make peace with long estranged and dying sister, it quickly becomes clear that a supernatural force is trying to halt the journey.

Kímmapiyiipitssini: The Meaning of Empathy

dir. Elle-Maija Tailfeathers
2021 | Canada | 125 min
>> Full Details on GFF On Demand <<

Kímmapiyiipitssini: The Meaning of Empathy is an intimate portrait of survival, love and the collective work of healing in the Kainai First Nation in Southern Alberta, a Blackfoot community facing the impacts of substance use and a drug-poisoning epidemic. Follow filmmaker Elle-Máijá Tailfeathers as she creates an intimate portrait of her community. Witness the change brought by community members with substance-use disorder, first responders and medical professionals as they strive for harm reduction. The Meaning of Empathy draws a line between the effects of colonial violence on Blackfoot land and people and the ongoing substance-use crisis. Held in love and hope for the future, Kímmapiyiipitssini: The Meaning of Empathy asks the audience to be a part of this remarkable change with the community.

One of Ours

dir. Yasmine Mathurin
2021 | Canada | 90 min
>> Full Details on GFF On Demand <<

After a Haitian-born youth is racially profiled at an Indigenous basketball tournament, he wrestles with his shaken sense of belonging in his Indigenous adoptive family while attempting to heal from his past.