• Anthony Nadeau

Elle-Máijá Tailfeathers’ acclaimed Kímmapiiyipitssini: The Meaning of Empathy Starts Nov 5(NFB)

Awards and Festivals

Official Selection RIDM (Montreal International Documentary Festival), Canada (2021)

Official SelectionimagineNATIVE Film + Media Arts Festival, Toronto, Canada, (2021)

Official Selection Cinéfest Sudbury International Film Festival, Canada (2021)

Emerging Canadian Filmmaker Award Hot Docs Canadian International Documentary Festival, Toronto, Canada (2021)

Rogers Audience Award for Canadian Feature Documentary Hot Docs Canadian International Documentary Festival, Toronto, Canada (2021)

Official Selection DOK.fest München, Germany (2021)

Colin Low Award for Best Canadian Director DOXA Documentary Film Festival, Vancouver, Canada (2021)

Official Selection CIFF - Camden International Film Festival, Maine, USA (2021)

Audience Choice Award- Canadian Documentary Feature CIFF Calgary International Film Festival, Calgary, Canada 2021

Official Selection St. John’s International Women’s Film Festival, NL, Canada (2021)

Sélection officielle - Meilleur long métrage documentaireAmerican Indian Film Festival, San-Francisco, É-U, 2021

Vancouver – National Film Board of Canada (NFB)

Elle-Máijá Tailfeathers’ award-winning feature-length documentary Kímmapiiyipitssini: The Meaning of Empathy (Seen Through Woman Productions/NFB) is screening in Canadian cinemas beginning November 5, distributed by the National Film Board of Canada.

Confirmed dates so far include Vancouver, Lethbridge, Winnipeg, Regina, Saskatoon, Edmonton, Toronto and Victoria—with more cities to be announced—as this story of radical and profound change in the Kanai First Nation comes to communities across Canada.

About the film

  • Kímmapiiyipitssini: 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, where community members active in addiction and recovery, first responders and medical professionals implement harm reduction to save lives.

  • Contextualized in the historical and lived trauma of settler colonialism, Kímmapiiyipitssini draws a connecting line between the impacts of colonialism on Blackfoot land and people and the ongoing substance-use crisis. Held in love and hope for the future, Kímmapiiyipitssini asks the audience to be a part of this remarkable change with the community.

  • The film was shot over four years with a largely Indigenous crew working in close collaboration with members of the Kainai First Nation.

  • Kímmapiiyipitssini (GEE-maa-bee-bit-sin) is a Blackfoot word meaning “giving kindness to each other.”

National screening schedule


  • Emerging Canadian Filmmaker Award and Rogers Audience Award for Canadian Feature Documentary, Hot Docs 2021

  • Colin Low Award for Best Canadian Director, DOXA 2021

  • Audience Choice Award, Canadian Documentary, 2021 Calgary International Film Festival

  • Co-winner, Inspiring Voices & Perspectives Feature Film Award, Cinéfest Sudbury 2021


  • Kímmapiiyipitssini is heartbreaking but should be mandatory viewing for policy makers to understand what opioids are doing to families. I raise my hands to Elle-Máijá Tailfeathers, for being an unflinching witness to the dreams and struggles of her relatives.” – Duncan McCue, CBC Radio Host

  • “…a soaring portrait of tragedy and resilience, yes, but also a handbook for healing that those of us in the privileged classes could learn a lesson or two from.” – Lauren Wissot, Filmmaker Magazine

  • “It’s beautifully crafted, collaborative… [Tailfeathers] has become a real voice for Indigenous filmmaking.” – Hot Docs Programming Head Shane Smith, quoted by Christopher Vourlias, Variety


Kímmapiiyipitssini: The Meaning of Empathy is produced by Elle-Máijá Tailfeathers and Lori Lozinski (Seen Through Woman Productions) and NFB producer and executive producer David Christensen (North West Studio), with the participation of Telefilm Canada and the assistance of the Hot Docs CrossCurrents Canada Doc Fund.

Elle-Máijá Tailfeathers co-directed, produced and starred in The Body Remembers When the World Broke Open. Her lead roles also include Jeff Barnaby’s Blood Quantum and Danis Goulet’s Night Raiders, currently in theatres

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