Vancouver International Film Festival
Through October 9 at various venues in Vancouver
VIFF’s brand new program Signal—which runs from October 1 to 3—is a unique interactive exhibition that explores the potential of creative technology in storytelling. Co-curated by Loretta Todd and co-presented by VIFF and DGBC, it focuses on Indigenous programming.
Highlights include a world premiere Sanctuary: A Tale of Two Forests, an environmental adventure through two distinct and threatened BC rainforests by Damien Gillis, T’uy’t’tanat-Cease Wyss, and Olivier Leroux; And This is not a ceremony Niitsitapi by writer and director Ahnahktsipiitaa (Colin van Loon). The latter bears witness to the dark side of life in Canada while still aboriginal. The entire program is free for visitors.
VIFF launch, meanwhile, with crow bone, a sweeping tale spanning the greater part of the 20th century by Métis writer-director Marie Clements. The film follows the life story of a Cree woman who, along with her siblings, is taken from her parents as a child by white settlers and forced to attend a residential school, a harrowing tale of oppression and resilience.
Throughout the festival, several other indigenous titles are on offer. Co-directed by acclaimed Inuk vocal singer Tanya Tagak Ever Deadly With Chelsea McMullan. An intimate portrait of the artist, the documentary combines performance recordings with interviews, verité camerawork, archival material and hand-drawn animation.
clubona keeper, Directed by Tamo Campos and Jasper Snow-Rogen, this is an intimate account of the Tahltan Nation’s struggle to protect the Clabona Sacred Headwaters, a vital natural habitat in northwestern BC, from commercial mining. Interweaving truthful cinematography with intimate interviews, the film documents the tactics used by land defenders. As blockades are met with police arrests, residential school trauma and forced relocation are brought to the surface as part of ongoing resistance to colonialism.
I am empowered as a mother, managed by Inder Nirwan and Dani Barker, focusing on the life and work of Patricia Massey, founder and director of the Massey Arts Society and co-founder of the Aboriginal Brilliance Collective. Chad Charlies Fire Cracker Bullet Standing Rock is a personal documentary about the transformative experience of an Aboriginal comedian taking part in the profession.