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Waseese (Brooklyn Letexier-Hart) and Niska (Elle-Máijá Tailfeathers) in Night Raiders directed by Danis Goulet
Waseese (Brooklyn Letexier-Hart) and Niska (Elle-Máijá Tailfeathers) in Night Raiders directed by Danis Goulet

The 22nd Annual imagineNATIVE Film + Media Arts Festival will showcase over 145 works from artists representing 51 Indigenous nations giving voice to over 26 Indigenous languages- at live in-person and virtual events from October 19-24, 2021 in Toronto, Ontario.

Night Raiders by Danis Goulet (Cree/Métis) will headline imagineNATIVE’s Opening Night Gala, set to take place as an in-person screening and Q&A at 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-rom com 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 at imagineNATIVE 2021 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.

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