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VIFF Year Round
June 21, 2021
National Indigenous Peoples Day: Who We Are
On VIFF Connect
"Indigenous History Month is a time to acknowledge those who came before us throughout turtle island, to validate lived experiences & the trauma left behind from the legacy of residential schools and the ripple effects of colonization that are prevalent in modern society. As Indigenous people, we must honour the past but most importantly walk forward and hold each other up as a community to a path of healing as these experiences shaped Who We Are." – Who We Are series curator, Rylan Friday.

Selected by Indigenous Curators: Rylan Friday, Jasmine Wilson and Sharon Fortney, the five films in the Who We Are series share universal hard truths that deviate from trauma based narratives, but explore the themes of: healing, resiliency, joy, laughter, pain and community all woven throughout as a singular curation. Their curatorial goal is to celebrate Indigenous voices in cinema, to showcase strong engaging stories from First Nations, Métis, Inuit and Maori filmmakers while showing the beauty, complexities and vibrancies of Indigeneity around the globe.
Co-presented with
Museum of Vancouver
Tickets & Passes
In the spirit of reconciliation, the Who We Are series pass and tickets are free to anyone self-identifying as Indigenous.

Single Tickets: $10
Series Pass (5 films): $25

VIFF+ Silver, Gold and Monthly Connect members get free access to Fire Song and can purchase a pass for $16.
Atanarjuat: The Fast Runner
Atanarjuat: The Fast Runner
Zacharias Kunuk, Canada (2001)

Zacharias Kunuk's film Atanarjuat: The Fast Runner, is the first feature length film of its kind, completely spoken in Inuktitut language, yet departing from documentary film tradition into riveting drama. When Atanarjuat displaces Oki, the Chief's son, by winning the hand of the beautiful Atuat, his brother Amaqjuaq pays the ultimate price. This cautionary tale, based on an Inuit oral tradition, showcases the consequences of putting personal desires ahead of community needs.

Camera d’or for Best First Feature Film, Cannes 2001
Best Canadian Feature Film, TIFF 2001
Taika Waititi, New Zealand (2011)

In Taika Waititi's 2010 film, an eleven-year-old Maori Boy idolizes his absent father (Waititi) to the point of absurdity. When his father, Alamein, comes home unexpectedly, Boy must reassess his fantasy as he's confronted by the truth that his father is not the man he wishes him to be. Filmed in Waititi's community, Boy is a humorous and heart-warming coming-of-age story about Maori masculinities that speaks volumes the world over to Turtle Island.

Fire Song
Fire Song
Adam Garnet Jones, Canada (2015)

Shane (Andrew Martin), a gay Anishnabe teenager living in Northern Ontario, struggles to support his family after his sister commits suicide, while also keeping his sexuality and relationship with his boyfriend, David (Harley Legarde-Beacham) hidden. If he fails, he'll be forced to choose between keeping the family home or saving his future. Adam Garnet Jones' poetic drama explores themes of love, loss, belonging, isolation and ultimately self-acceptance while stamping out colonial ideologies on sexuality.

The Body Remembers When the World Broke Open
The Body Remembers When the World Broke Open
Elle-Máijá Tailfeathers, Kathleen Hepburn, Canada/Norway (2019)

After a chance encounter on a busy Vancouver street, Aila (Elle-Máijá Tailfeathers) decides to bring Rosie (Violet Nelson), a pregnant domestic abuse victim home and encourages her to seek help. Unfolding in real time, this deft drama from Tailfeathers and Kathleen Hepburn (Never Steady, Never Still) employs a riveting combination of intimacy and immediacy as these two Indigenous women forge a tentative bond and embark on a revelatory odyssey that will forever change their lives.

Best Direction, Best Screenplay, Best Cinematography, Canadian Screen Awards 2019
Best BC Film, BC Emerging Filmmaker, VIFF 2019
Rhymes for Young Ghouls
Rhymes for Young Ghouls
Jeff Barnaby, Canada (2013)

This dark and gritty residential school era drama takes place on the Red Crow Reserve. Aila, the community's designated "weed" princess, schemes to avoid imprisonment at St. Dymphna's residential school by paying Indian Agent "Popper" a truancy tax. When her drug money is stolen, Aila must confront her nightmares to enact her revenge. Rhymes for Young Ghouls is not just a film. It is a glimpse into Indigenous people's horrific reality of corruption, abuse, and poverty at the hands of the Canadian government's middlemen.
Who We Are Film Series Artist Panel
June 28, 5pm PDT
Facebook Live

A panel discussion will supplement the Who We Are film series, with guest artists – Antanarjuat director Zacharias Kunuk and The Body Remembers When the World Broke Open actor Violet Nelson. Facilitated by Odessa Shuquaya & Rylan Friday. Sponsored by the Talking Stick Festival + the Season of Four Fires, celebrating their 20th Anniversary all year long.
The Vancouver International Film Festival and the Museum of Vancouver both operate on the unceded Traditional Lands and Waters of the əsəlil̓wətaʔɬ, Xʷməθkwəy̓əm, & Sḵwx̱wú7meshsi Nations and all their ancestors.
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