imagineNATIVE Announces 2021 Fest
by Staff Editors
(September 13, 2021 – Toronto, ON) The imagineNATIVE Film + Media Arts Festival has announced their programming for the 22nd Annual Festival, using a live feed on Facebook this morning. In keeping with the guidelines on the continuing COVID-19 pandemic, the festival will feature 145 works representing 51 Indigenous Nations at both live in-person and virtual events running from October 19-24, 2021 in Toronto.
The Opening Night Gala will be Night Raiders by Danis Goulet (Cree/Métis) as an in-person screening with a Q&A session at the TIFF Bell Lightbox. Night Raiders is a Canadian-New Zealand science fiction apocalyptic film starring Elle-Máijá Tailfeathers, Brooklyn Letexier-Hart, Alex Tarrant, Amanda Plummer, and Violet Nelson. imagineNATIVE’s Closing Night Gala on Sunday, October 24 will be Iwianch, el Diablo Venado (Iwianch, the Devil Deer) by José Cardoso (Achuar/Shuar) as a virtual screening. In this documentary feature, an enigmatic presence haunts the depths of the Amazon rainforest, where an Indigenous Achuar teenager has disappeared. Secrets of this dreamlike forest, and Amazonian visions of life after death, are explored.
Feature film highlights from imagineNATIVE 2021 include: the Ontario premiere of Portraits From A Fire by Trevor Mack (Tŝilhqot’in (Chilcotin)), a coming of age film following an eccentric teenaged misfit as a family secret begins to unravel; the Ontario premiere of Run Woman Run by Zoe Hopkins (Mohawk), a magical anti-romcom about a single mom who is goaded into running a marathon by the ghostly appearance of legendary Onondaga marathon runner Tom Longboat; Ste. Anne by Rhayne Vermette (Métis), tracing an allegorical reclamation of land through personal, symbolic and historical sites all across Treaty 1 Territory, heartland of the Métis Nation; Bootlegger by Caroline Monnet (Algonquin), a dramatic French feature where two radically opposed women divide their reserve in northern Quebec into two clans to determine the best path to independence; and Cousins by Ainsley Gardiner (Te Whanau-a-Apanui/Ngati Pikiao/Ngati Awa) and Briar Grace-Smith (Nga Puhi/Te Arawa), based on the 1992 novel by Patricia Grace where three cousins, connected by blood but separated by circumstances, spend a lifetime in search of each other.
Feature documentary highlights include the International premiere of Warrior Spirit by Landon Dyksterhouse (Navajo), about the first Native American UFC champion Nicco Montano (Navajo) and a stark look at how the UFC exploits their fighters for millions; the Canadian premiere of Tote Abuelo by María Sojob (Tzotzil), which follows a grandfather weaving a traditional hat, with a granddaughter who does not remember her childhood well, as the threads of family history unravel; and Kímmapiiyipitssini: The Meaning of Empathy by Elle-Máijá Tailfeathers (Blackfoot/Sámi), an intimate portrait of survival, love and the collective work of healing in the Kainai First Nation, a Blackfoot community facing the impacts of substance use and a drug-poisoning epidemic.
From October 19-24, 2021, imagineNATIVE artists, organizers and audiences will come together to exchange ideas, share space, and connect with kin globally. This gathering, in person and online, influences the curatorial theme: Fall Camp – a time of Harvest, nourishment, and celebration before much-needed rest. For six days the Festival is a collective and creative occupation that trails the fall equinox, a time of movement, harvesting, and gratitude.
The imagineNATIVE Film + Media Arts Festival is the world’s largest Indigenous festival showcasing film, video, audio, and digital + interactive media made by Indigenous screen-content creators. The Festival presents compelling and distinctive works from Canada and around the globe, reflecting the diversity of Indigenous nations and illustrating the vitality and dynamism of Indigenous arts, perspectives, and cultures in contemporary media.