• Anthony Nadeau

NFB marks National Indigenous Peoples Day w/ the launch of Kevin Settee’s The Lake Winnipeg Project


(Image by Eruoma Awashish provided by the NFB)


June 21: National Indigenous Peoples Day

NFB marks National Indigenous Peoples Day with the launch of Kevin Settee’s The Lake Winnipeg Project

Plus 400 titles on the NFB’s Indigenous Cinema page, new educational resources, and the ever-popular Aabiziingwashi (Wide Awake) cinema initiative June 17, 2021 – Toronto – National Film Board of Canada

In honor of National Indigenous Peoples Day (June 21), Kevin Settee’s four-part series of short films, The Lake Winnipeg Project, is premiering online at Indigenous Cinema, the NFB’s rich online collection of Indigenous-made films. Lake Winnipeg’s shores are home to many vibrant Indigenous communities, including the Anishinaabe, Cree, and Métis. The Lake Winnipeg Project is an Indigenous-led community engagement project that explores the communities’ deep connection to the land and water at a time when many external forces are imposing change.

The Indigenous Cinema page offers free streaming of more than 400 new and classic titles from the NFB’s collection of films by Indigenous directors.

NFB.ca also now features a channel on the devastating impact—and ongoing legacy—of residential schools in Canada, offering 23 films, including Jay Cardinal Villeneuve’s Holy Angels

(Image provided by the NFB)


Selections and Awards

  • Official Selection Imagine NATIVE Film and Media Arts Festival 2017

  • Founder's Award and Indigenous Award Yorkton Film Festival 2018

  • Official Selection Montreal First Peoples Festival 2018

  • Programmer's Choice Alberta Short Documentary Edmonton International Film Festival 2018

  • Official Selection Vancouver International Film Festival 2018

In 1963, Lena Wandering Spirit became one of the more than 150,000 Indigenous children who were removed from their families and sent to residential school. Jay Cardinal Villeneuve’s short documentary Holy Angels powerfully recaptures Canada’s colonialist history through impressionistic images and the fragmented language of a child. Villeneuve met Lena through his work as a videographer with the Truth and Reconciliation Commission. Filmed with a fierce determination to not only uncover history but move past it, Holy Angels speaks of the resilience of a people who have found ways of healing—and of coming home again.


Kent Monkman’s Sisters & Brothers

(Image provided by the NFB)

In a pounding critique of Canada's colonial history, this short film draws parallels between the annihilation of the bison in the 1890s and the devastation inflicted on the Indigenous population by the residential school system.



Marie Clements’ The Road Forward

(Image provided by the NFB)


The Road Forward, a musical documentary by Marie Clements, connects a pivotal moment in Canada’s civil rights history—the beginnings of Indian Nationalism in the 1930s—with the powerful momentum of First Nations activism today. The Road Forward’s stunningly shot musical sequences, performed by an ensemble of some of Canada’s finest vocalists and musicians, seamlessly connect past and present with soaring vocals, blues, rock, and traditional beats. A rousing tribute to the fighters for First Nations rights, a soul-resounding historical experience, and a visceral call to action.


Alanis Obomsawin’s We Can't Make the Same Mistake Twice.

(Image provided by the NFB)


Prizes and awards

  • Official SelectionVancouver International Film Festival 2016

  • Official SelectionCalgary International Film Festival 2016

  • Official SelectionToronto International Film Festival 2016

  • Official SelectionimagineNATIVE Film & Media Arts Festival 2016

  • Official SelectionRIDM 2016

  • Official SelectionAtlantic Film Festival 2016

The Film

In 2007, the First Nations Child and Family Caring Society of Canada and the Assembly of First Nations filed a complaint against Indian Affairs and Northern Development Canada, accusing it of discrimination. They argued that the family and child support services made available to First Nations children on reserves and in Yukon were underfunded and inferior to those offered to other Canadian children. Indigenous children were also six to eight times more likely to be placed in foster care—more often than not in non-Native homes. This situation was reminiscent of the assimilation and trauma caused by residential schools, which was also widely discussed during the trial.



Two of the NFB’s most recent works by Indigenous creators are currently on the festival circuit: Courtney Montour’s Mary Two-Axe Earley: I Am Indian Again

(Image provided by the NFB)


Selections and Awards

  • Official SelectionHot Docs Film Festival - Shorts (2021)


Mary Two-Axe Earley: I Am Indian Again shares the powerful story of Mary Two-Axe Earley, who fought for more than two decades to challenge sex discrimination against First Nations women embedded in Canada’s Indian Act and became a key figure in Canada’s women’s rights movement. Using never-before-seen archival footage and audio recordings, Mohawk filmmaker Courtney Montour engages in a deeply personal conversation with the late Mohawk woman who challenged sexist and genocidal government policies that stripped First Nations women and children of their Indian status when they married non-Indian men. Montour speaks with Cree activist Nellie Carlson, Mary’s lifelong friend and co-founder of Indian Rights for Indian Women, and meets with three generations in Mary’s kitchen in Kahnawà:ke to honor the legacy of a woman who galvanized a national network of allies to help restore Indian status to thousands of First Nations women and children.


Elle-Máijá Tailfeathers’ Kímmapiiyipitssini: The Meaning of Empathy

(Image provided by the NFB)

Awards and Festivals

  • Emerging Canadian Filmmaker AwardHot Docs Canadian International Documentary Festival, Toronto, Canada (2021)

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

  • Official SelectionDOK.fest München, Germany (2021)

  • Colin Low Award for Best Canadian DirectorDOXA Documentary Film Festival, Vancouver, Canada (2021)

Awards and Festivals

  • Emerging Canadian Filmmaker AwardHot Docs Canadian International Documentary Festival, Toronto, Canada (2021)

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

  • Official SelectionDOK.fest München, Germany (2021)

  • Colin Low Award for Best Canadian DirectorDOXA Documentary Film Festival, Vancouver, Canada (2021)


ElleMáijá Tailfeathers’ film witnesses radical and profound change in her community. 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. Community members active in addiction and recovery, first responders and medical professionals implement harm reduction to save lives. This work is contextualized within the historical and contemporary impacts of settler colonialism; Kímmapiiyipitssini: The Meaning of Empathy draws a connecting 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, Kímmapiiyipitssini: The Meaning of Empathy asks the audience to be a part of this remarkable change with the community.

(Seen Through Woman Productions/NFB), which has received the Rogers Audience Award and the Emerging Canadian Filmmaker Award at Hot Docs and the Colin Low Award for Best Canadian Director at DOXA.



The NFB’s online learning portal, CAMPUS, features a number of new resources anchored in the NFB’s Indigenous collection, with mini-lessons written by Indigenous educators based on such acclaimed works as Alanis Obomsawin’s Jordan River Anderson, The Messenger

(Image provided by the NFB)


Selections and Awards

  • Winner – Best Canadian Documentary AwardVancouver International Film Festival, Vancouver, Canada (2019)

  • Official SelectionToronto International Film Festival, Toronto, Canada (2019)

  • Official SelectionFIN Atlantic International Film Festival, Halifax, Nova Scotia (2019)

  • Official SelectionCalgary International Film Festival, Calgary, Canada (2019)

  • Official SelectionRencontres internationales du documentaire, Montreal, Canada (2019)

  • Official SelectionimagineNATIVE Film + Media Arts Festival, Toronto, Canada (2019)


In her latest film, celebrated Abenaki director Alanis Obomsawin tells the story of Jordan River Anderson, and how as a result of his short life, thousands of First Nations and Inuit children today receive the same standard of social, health, and education services as the rest of the Canadian population. Because of Jordan’s Indian status, a dispute arose between the governments of Canada and Manitoba over who was responsible for his care, and Jordan did not receive the appropriate home-based assistance that would have allowed him to end his life in his own community. Jordan’s Principle was passed into law by the House of Commons, and the Canadian Human Rights Tribunal issued a ruling guaranteeing the same standard of service, yet many First Nations and Inuit children were still denied access. It took sustained commitment and the issuance of several mandatory orders for justice to be done. The very timely Jordan River Anderson, The Messenger completes, on an optimistic note, the film cycle devoted to the rights of Indigenous children and peoples that began with The People of the Kattawapiskak River.



Christopher Auchter’s Now Is the Time

(Image provided by the NFB)


Selections and Awards

  • Official Selection Sundance Film Festival, Park City, Utah, USA (2020)

  • Official Selection Toronto International Film Festival, Toronto, Canada (2019)

  • Official Selection Vancouver International Film Festival, Vancouver, Canada (2019)

  • Official Selection San Francisco American Indian Film Festival, San Francisco, California (2019)

  • Official SelectionimagineNATIVE Film + Media Arts Festival, Toronto, Canada (2019)

  • Official Selection Camden International Film Festival, Camden, USA (2019)

  • Official Selection Maoriland Film Festival, Otaki, New Zealand (2020)

  • Official Selection Big Sky Documentary Film Festival, Missoula, Montana, USA (2020)

  • Official Selection Reel 2 Real International Film Festival for Youth, Vancouver, Canada (2020)

  • Official Selection AFI DOCS Film Festival, Los Angeles, California, USA (2020)

  • Indigenous Category Golden Sheaf Award Winner Golden Sheaf Award, Yorkton Film Festival, Yorkton, Saskatchewan, Canada (2020)

  • Documentary Arts/Culture Category Golden Sheaf Award Winner Yorkton Film Festival, Yorkton, Saskatchewan, Canada (2020)

  • Best Canadian Short Film Jury Prize Gimli Film Festival, Manitoba, Canada (2020)

  • Official Selection - Short List: ShortsDOC NYC, New York, USA (2020)

  • Prix du meilleur court canadien - prix Radio-Canada Espaces autochtonesInternational First Peoples' Festival, Montreal, Canada (2020)

  • Prix international de la relève Main Film International First Peoples' Festival, Montreal, Canada (2020)


When internationally renowned Haida carver Robert Davidson was only 22 years old, he was instrumental in changing the history of his people forever. With help from his grandparents, his father, and his younger brother Reg, Davidson committed to carving the first new totem pole in Old Massett in almost a century. On the 50th anniversary of the pole’s raising, Haida filmmaker Christopher Auchter steps easily through history to revisit that day in August 1969, when the entire village gathered to celebrate the event that would signal the rebirth of the Haida spirit. Resplendent with animation, emotional interviews, and original footage shot by what was then known as the NFB’s Indian Film Crew, Now Is the Time captures three generations of Eagle and Raven clan working together to raise the pole in the old way, inching it higher and higher, until it stands proud and strong against the clear blue sky.


and Tasha Hubbard’s Birth of a Family

(Image provided by the NFB)

Prizes and awards

  • Official SelectionHot Docs 2017

  • Official SelectionCinefest Sudbury 2017

  • Official SelectionCalgary International Film Festival 2017

  • Special Jury PrizeimagineNATIVE Film and Media Arts Festival 2017

  • Audience Choice AwardEdmonton International Film Festival 2017

  • Official SelectionCinequest Film & VR Festival 2017

  • Kathleen Shannon AwardYorkton Film Festival 2018

“We grew up in white homes, speaking only English and with no connection to our people or our culture. Though we were loved, we were outsiders in families that had grandparents, aunts, uncles and cousins that were not ours.” Betty Ann Adam


When is a family reunion not a reunion? When your family has never met.

Synopsis

Three sisters and a brother, adopted as infants into separate families across North America, meet together for the first time in this deeply moving documentary by director Tasha Hubbard. Removed from their young Dene mother’s care as part of Canada’s infamous Sixties Scoop, Betty Ann, Esther, Rosalie, and Ben were four of the 20,000 Indigenous children taken from their families between 1955 and 1985, to be either adopted into white families or to live in foster care. Now all in middle age, each has grown up in different circumstances, with different family cultures, different values and no shared memories. Birth of a Family follows them through the challenges, trepidations and joys of their first steps towards forming their family. Meeting all together for the first time, they spend a week in Banff, Alberta, sharing what they know about their mother and stories about their lives and the struggles they went through as foster kids and adoptees. As the four siblings piece together their shared history, their connection deepens, bringing laughter with it, and their family begins to take shape.

During the COVID-19 pandemic, led by strong local partners across the country, the NFB’s Aabiziingwashi (Wide Awake) Indigenous cinema initiative remained active via virtual screenings, as well as in-person screenings where public health measures permitted. The NFB collection of Indigenous-made works consists of documentaries and animated films that can foster dialogue on a range of topics and themes. NFB representatives can help communities and organizations find a film or curate a program for their own local screening events by emailing wideawake@nfb.ca.


All of these film and many more can be seen by following the link below:


Indigenous Cinema link:

https://www.nfb.ca/indigenous-cinema/?&film_lang=en&sort=year:desc,title&year_min=1939&year_max=2021






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