5 Indigenous-made films you have to see at CIFF 2022
By Abbie Riglin, Photo Editor
The Calgary International Film Festival (CIFF) is back this year from Sept. 22 to Oct. 2 with another selection of amazing films spanning from shorts to global categories. In lieu of the National Day for Truth and Reconciliation, also known as Orange Shirt Day, on Sept. 30, here are five Indigenous-made films showing at CIFF 2022.
1. Bones of Crows
A psychological drama that tells the story of Aline Spears, a Cree matriarch, as she experiences starvation, cultural assimilation, racism and sexual abuse over generations within the Canadian residential school system. Continuing into a story of resilience, Spears uses her culture and language during World War II to make great contributions until she can return home and face her abusers.
Bones of Crows will also expand onto CBC’s silver screen in 2023 for a five-episode mini-series.
Directed by: Marie Clements
Starring: Grace Dove, Alyssa Wapanatâhk, Michelle Thrush, Phillip Lewitski.
2. Buffy Sainte-Marie: Carry it On
The documented story of the life, music and activism of Indigenous singer-songwriter Buffy Sainte-Marie. With her first hit, “Universal Soldier”, a hard-hitting accusation of those who blindly follow orders, Sainte-Marie became an instant sensation and inspiration to both her fans and other musicians.
Buffy Sainte-Marie: Carry It On explores the lesser-known details of Sainte-Marie’s life within her art and activism in a well-researched memoir.
Directed by: Madison Thomas
Starring: Joni Mitchell, Robbie Robertson, Taj Mahal, Alanis Obomsawin, Tantoo Cardinal, Jackson Browne, George Strombolopolous, John Kay, Jeremy Dutcher
3. Dark Nature
Directed by Calgary-based Métis director Berkley Brady, Dark Nature stars a female lead cast in a psychological thriller.
The story follows a survivor of domestic violence named Joy who joins her friend’s therapy group on a retreat in the Canadian Rockies. Eventually, reality and delusion are confused, due to an experiment led by the group’s leader, Dr. Dunnley.
Directed by: Berkley Brady
Starring: Hannah Emily Anderson, Madison Walsh, Roseanne Supernault, Helen Belay, Kyra Harper
4. Ever Deadly
The story of Inuk throat singer Tanya Tagaq. Ever Deadly explores Tagaq’s intimate relationship with the Nuna— the land. The land is a living, breathing organism that is present within her improvised performances showcased beautifully in the documentary through concert footage intertwined with sprawling scenery in Nunavut.
Directed by: Chelsea McMullan, Tanya Tagaq
Starring: Tanya Tagaq
Rosie tells the story of an orphaned, Indigenous girl in 1980s Montréal after she moves in with her Aunty Fred who is more than reluctant to take her in. Fred, an artist making art out of trash, has just lost her job and is on the edge of eviction. She introduces Rosie to her two best friends Flo and Mo, glamorous, gender-bending street workers.
Together the three show Rosie their street-smart ways, and Rosie shows them what they were missing. Rosie is a story of finding home in the most peculiar places and it shows just how people you never expected can become your chosen family.
Directed by: Gail Maurice
Starring: Mélanie Bray, Keris Hope Hill, Constant Bernard, Alex Trahan, Josée Young, Brandon Oakes, Jocelyne Zucco, Arlen Aguayo Stewart
CIFF 2022 also features a selection of Indigenous-made short films. For more information check the Calgary International Film Festival’s website.