The imagineNATIVE Film + Media Arts Festival selected two Canadian features as the Opening and Closing Night Galas for the 19th Annual Festival, running October 17 to 21, 2018 in Toronto. imagineNATIVE’s Opening Night Gala on Wednesday, October 17 will be Darlene Naponse’s Falls Around Her, and on Sunday, October 21, the Closing Night Gala will be Sgaawaay K’uuna (Edge of the Knife).
Filled with drama and humour, Falls Around Her commemorates the first starring role in a feature length movie for the legendary Tantoo Cardinal whose remarkable performance is shared with a fantastic supporting cast including Tina Keeper, Gail Maurice and Johnny Issaluk. Legendary singer, Mary Birchbark (Cardinal), abandons a life of fame and fortune to follow the instinctual pull that calls her home. Desiring to reconnect with land and her community, she returns to the beautiful woods of her territory to seek solitude in an isolated cabin. But as the slow change of seasons marks her thirst for transformation, she begins to have the unsettling feeling that she is being watched, and quickly she finds that doors to the past are not so easily shut.
Sgaawaay K’uuna – directed by Gwaai Edenshaw and Helen Haig-Brown – makes history as the first Haida language feature film. On the islands of Haida Gwaii, two extended families reunite at their annual summer fishing camp. Conflict between a charismatic young man, Adiits’ii, and his best friend Kwa, begins to tear their interwoven families apart. When Adiits’ii’s recklessness and arrogance result in a tragic incident, he flees into the rainforest abandoning his family and way of life. Wracked with grief and shame, Adiits’ii descends into madness and transforms into a Gaagiixid, a ravenous “wildman” caught between worlds and consumed by insatiable hunger. When the families return the following summer, they realize Adiits’ii has survived the winter. Now while the community hopes to restore Adiits’ii’s humanity, Kwa wrestles with his deepest desire…revenge.
Sgaawaay K’uuna will be preceded by the short film dukʷibəɫ swatixʷtəd (Changer’s Land). Directed by Tracy Rector dukʷibəɫ swatixʷtəd is a tribute to the Salish country and a celebration of how land endures despite foreign incursions of power plants and highways.