imagineNATIVE Film and Media Arts Festival

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Jump to navigation Jump to search

The imagineNATIVE Film + Media Arts Festival is the world's largest Indigenous film and media arts festival,[1] held annually in Toronto in the month of October. The festival focuses on the film, video, radio, and new media work of Indigenous, Aboriginal and First Peoples from around the world. The festival includes screenings, parties, panel discussions, and cultural events.

As an organization, imagineNATIVE supports the creation of new works through their commissioning program, and national outreach to and for Indigenous communities through various off-site programs throughout the year. ImagineNative also commissions industry reports on the status of Indigenous film production in Canada.[2]


The festival was founded in 1998 by Cynthia Lickers-Sage in her capacity as the Aboriginal outreach coordinator for Vtape as a venue for the exhibition of short film and video work by Aboriginal artists. While initially operated through Vtape, the festival subsequently became an independent organization.[3] An early programmer for the festival was Ojibway critic and journalist Jesse Wente,[4] who continued in his role as programmer through 2010.[5] In 2010, Jason Ryle took on the role of the festival's executive director.[6]


The 2001 winner for Best Film went to Atanarjuat: The Fast Runner by Inuit filmmaker Zacharias Kunuk.[7] This film was the first feature dramatic film in an Indigenous language by an Inuit director.[8]

The 2016 festival focused on Inuit and northern films, with a special focus on films from Greenland.[9] Award winners for that year included Bonfire, a film by Russian Sakha director Dmitry Davydov, for Best Dramatic Feature; Maliglutit by Inuit director Zacharias Kunuk for Best Indigenous Language Production; and Angry Inuk, directed by Alethea Arnaquq-Baril, which won Best Documentary Feature.[10]

Best Short Drama (2000–2016)[edit]

Year Film Director
2003 Moccasin Flats Randy Redroad
2004 Memory Cedar Sherbert
2005 There's No 'I' in Hockey Dennis Jackson
2006 Hawaikii Mike Jonathan
2007 Shooting Geronimo Kent Monkman
2008 Sikumi (On the Ice) Andrew Okpeaha MacLean
2009 Tungijuq Zacharias Kunuk
2010 Redemption Katie Wolfe
2011 Salar Nicholas Greene
2012 Throat Song Stacey Aglok MacDonald
2013 Abalone Tracey Rigney
2014 The Underground Michelle Latimer
2015 Stoerre Vaerie (Northern Great Mountain) Amanda Kernell
2016 UFO Gregory King

Best Canadian Short Drama (2006–2016)[edit]

Year Film Director
2006 133 Skyway Randy Redroad
2007 The Colony Jeff Barnaby
2008 A Small Thing Adam Garnet Jones
2009 Shi-Shi-Etko Marilyn Thomas
2010 Lumaajuuq Alethea Arnaquq-Baril
2011 Amaqqut Nunaat (The Country of Wolves) Neil Christopher
2012 A Red Girl's Reasoning Elle-Máijá Tailfeathers
2013 Mohawk Midnight Runners Zoe Hopkins
2014 Indigo Amanda Strong
2015 Clouds of Autumn Trevor Mack
2016 God's Acre Kelton Stepanowich

Best Short Work (Cynthia Lickers-Sage Award, 2017–Present)[edit]

Year Film Director
2017 I Will Always Love You Kingen Amanda Kernell
2018 Biidaaban (The Dawn Comes) Amanda Strong

Best Indigenous Language Production (2007–Present)[edit]

Year Film Director
2007 Nikamowin (Song) Kevin Lee Burton
2008 L'Amendement Kevin Papatie
2009 Burwa Dii Ebo (The Wind and the Water) Vero Bollow
Igar Yala Collective
2010 File Under Miscellaneous Jeff Barnaby
2011 Samson & Delilah Warwick Thornton
2012 Throat Song Stacey Aglok MacDonald
2013 Baybayin (The Script) Kanakan Balintagos
2014 This May Be the Last Time Sterlin Harjo
2015 Bulunu Milkarri Sylvia Nulpinditj
2016 Maliglutit (Searchers) Zacharias Kunuk
Natar Ungalaaq
2017 Bowhead Whale Hunting With My Ancestors Carol Kunnuk

Zacharias Kunuk

2018 Wiñaypacha (Eternity) Oscar Catacora

Best Experimental (Kent Monkman Award)[edit]

Year Film Director
2003 Thorn Grass Robin Hammer
2004 Wagon Burner Terrance Houle
2005 Su naa (My Big Brother) Helen Haig-Brown
2006 Women in Canada: A Trilogy Marnie Parrell
2007 Nikamowin (Song) Kevin Lee Burton
2008 Tsu Heidei Shugaxtutaan 1 Nicholas Galanin
2009 Horse Archer Pechawis
2010 Burnt Alejandro Valbuena
2011 The Gift Terril Calder
2012 Her Silent Life Lindsay McIntyre
2013 He Who Dreams Dana Claxton
2014 Covered Tara (Beier) Browne
2015 Tai Whetuki - House of Death Lisa Reihana
2016 Dolastallat Marja Helander
2017 Three Thousand Asinnajaq
2018 Eatnanvuloš Lottit (Birds in the Earth) Marja Helander

Best Documentary - Short Format (2005–Present)[edit]

Year Film Director
2005 Wirriya (Small Boy) Beck Cole
2006 Coureurs de nuit Shanouk Newashish
2007 The Vanishing Trace Keesic Douglas
2008 Le rêve d'une mère Cherilyn Papatie
2009 How People Got Fire Christopher Auchter
2010 Ne le dis pas (Do Not Tell) Jani Bellefleur-Kaltush
2011 Spirit of the Bluebird Jesse Gouchey

Xstine Cook

2012 Songline to Happiness Danny Teece-Johnson
2013 Inuit Cree Reconciliation Neil Diamond

Zacharias Kunuk

2014 Treading Water Janelle Wookey

Jérémie Wookey

2015 Nowhere Land Bonnie Ammaq
2016 Cree Code Talker Alexandra Lazarowich
2017 Lelum' Asia Longman
2018 Fast Horse Alexandra Lazarowich

Best Documentary - Long Format (Alanis Obomsawin Award)[edit]

Year Film Director
2003 Totem: The Return of the G'psgolox Pole Gil Cardinal
2004 The Ghost Riders V. Blackhawk Aamodt
2005 Mohawk Girls Tracey Deer
2006 Waban-aki: People from Where the Sun Rises Alanis Obomsawin
2007 Water Flowing Together Gwendolen Cates
2008 March Point Cody Cayou
Nick Clark
Tracy Rector
Annie Silverstein
Travis Tom
2009 C.B.Q.M. Dennis Allen
2010 Y el R'io Sigue Corriendo (And the River Flows On) Carlos Pérez Rojas
2011 The Tall Man Tony Krawitz
2012 My Louisiana Love Monique Verdi
2013 Who Will Be A Gurkha? Kesang Tseten
2014 My Legacy Helen Haig-Brown
2015 The Price of Peace Kim Webby
2016 Angry Inuk Alethea Arnaquq-Baril
2017 Indictment: The Crimes of Shelly Chartier Shane Belcourt

Lisa Jackson

2018 Marks of Mana Lisa Taouma

Best Music Video (2000–2016)[edit]

Year Title Director
2003 Music is the Medicine Randy Redroad
2004 Slangblossom: Possibly Daybi


2005 Tamara Podemski: Meegwetch Bruce McDonald
2006 The Dust Dive: A Minor Disturbance Blackhorse Lowe
2007 Punassiun Spencer St-Onge

Francis Grégoire

Carl Grégoire

Jean-Christophe Gabriel

James Chescappin

Marco Bentz

Jonathan Germain

Wendy Germain

Nicolas Paradis

Jean Philippe Robertson

2008 Warrk Warrk Tommy Lewis

Julia Morris

2009 Ariana Tikao: Tuia (Stitched) Louise Potiki Bryant
2010 Haunted Shane Ghostkeeper
2011 I Lost My Shadow Nanobah Becker
2012 Sides Mosha Folger
2013 Row Houston R. Cypress
2014 Haida Raid 3: Save Our Waters Amanda Strong
2015 Nitahkôtân (I Have Arrived) Moe Clark
2016 We Are Still Here Sofia Jannok

Best Radio (2000–2013)[edit]

Year Genre Title Director
2003 The Aboriginal Music Experience: A Radio Documentary Series
2004 Great Indian Bus Tour Andre Morriseau
2005 Red Album Radio Show Richard Hunter
2006 Charles Shoots the Enemy Native Vibes
2007 Red Moon Dawn Dumont
Documentary, Current Affairs & Talk Good Medicine Radio Show: Tobacco Show Rita Chretien

Wanbdi Wakita

2008 Arts & Entertainment The Plex Show Doug Bedard
Documentary, Current Affairs & Talk ReVision Episode on Alcohol Kim Ziervogel
2009 ReVision Quest Wab Kinew
2010 ReVision Quest: What's So Funny About Being Native? Kim Ziervogel
2011 Bring Your Drum Janet Rogers
2012 Trailbreakers: Cindy Blackstock Angela Sterritt
2013 Native Waves Radio: Resonating Reconciliation Janet Rogers

Best Television (2000–2004)[edit]

Year Title Director
2003 Moccasin Flats Stacey Stewart Curtis
2004 Kunuk Family Reunion Zacharias Kunuk

Best New Media (2000–2014)[edit]

Year Film Director
2003 Daybi
2004 Fire This Time Kokonda Dub
2005 HorizonZero Issue 17: Tell Cheryl L'Hirondelle
2006 Wepinasowina Cheryl L'Hirondelle
2007 An Indian Act: Shooting the Indian Act Archer Pechawis
2008 Rabbit and Bearpaws Chad Solomon
2009 Time Traveller Skawennati Fragnito
2010 Otsì:! Rise of the Kanien'kehá:ka Legends Aboriginal Territories in Cyberspace (AbTeC)
2011 God's Lake Narrows Kevin Lee Burton
2012 Sense of Home Leena Minifie
2013 Skahiòn:hati / Rise of the Kanien'kehá:ka Legends Skins 3.0 Collective
2014 Uhke Cheyenne Scott

Best Audio Work (2014–Present)[edit]

Year Film Director
2014 The Soul of Darwin: The Centenary of the Kahlin Compound Lorena Allam
2015 Reach For the Stars Crystal Favel
2016 The Story She Carries Angela Sterritt
2017 Elcrys Michael Wilson
2018 Trans Mountain Pipeline, B.C. Wolf Cull and Dog Sled Massacre Crystal Favel

Best Digital Media Work (2015–Present)[edit]

Year Film Director
2015 Sky Pets Shandiin Woodward
2016 Ch’aak’ S’aagi (Eagle Bone) Tracy Rector
2017 Thunderbird Strike Elizabeth LaPensée
2018 Aeasi Amie Batalibasi

Best Interactive Work (2018–Present)[edit]

Year Film Director
2018 Biidaaban: First Light Lisa Jackson

Emerging Talent (Cynthia Lickers-Sage & Jane Glassco Awards)[edit]

Year Award Film Director
2000 Cynthia Lickers-Sage
2001 Cynthia Lickers-Sage
2002 Cynthia Lickers-Sage
2003 Cynthia Lickers-Sage Geoffery Parenteau
2004 Cynthia Lickers-Sage Swallow Ariel Lightningchild
2005 Cynthia Lickers-Sage Meskanahk (My Path) Kevin Lee Burton
2006 Cynthia Lickers-Sage Eggs Instead Lena Recollet
2007 Cynthia Lickers-Sage Fighter Erica Lepage
2008 Cynthia Lickers-Sage Mémere Métisse Janelle Wookey
2009 Cynthia Lickers-Sage Nia's Melancholy S.F. Tusa
2010 Cynthia Lickers-Sage Redemption Katie Wolfe
2011 Cynthia Lickers-Sage Amaqqut Nunnat (The Country of Wolves) Neil Christopher
2012 Cynthia Lickers-Sage Scar Tiffany Parker
2013 Cynthia Lickers-Sage El Último Consejo (The Last Council) Itandehui Jansen
2014 Jane Glassco Sumé - Mumisitsinerup Nipaa (Sume - The Sound of a revolution) Inuk Silis Høegh
Cynthia Lickers-Sage
2015 Jane Glassco The Routes James McDougall
Cynthia Lickers-Sage Le Dep Sonia Boileau
2016 Jane Glassco Ohero:kon – Under the Husk Katsitsionni Fox
2017 Jane Glassco Morit Elena Morit Inga-Wiktoria Påve

Anders Sunna

2018 Jane Glassco ANORI (Wind) Pipaluk Kreutzmann Jorgensen

Best Youth (Ellen Monague Award, 2010–Present)[edit]

Year Film Director
2010 Kurt-E: In My Blood Kurt Filiga
2011 The Dimming Ippiksaut Friesen
2012 Le Joie De Vivre Jérémy Vassiliou
2013 Før Hun Kom, Etter Han Dro (Before She Came, After He Left) Marja Bål Nango
2014 #nightslikethese Amber Midthunder

Shay Eyre

Hannah Macpherson

2015 Lo Que Quiero Decirte Raquiel Palomino Ochoa
2016 Smoke That Travels Kayla Briët
2017 RAE Kawennáhere Devery Jacobs
2018 A World of Our Own Morningstar Derosier

Sun & Moon Jury Prizes[edit]

Year Jury Film Director
2017 Sun Sunday Fun Day Dianna Fuemana
Moon Birth of a Family Tasha Hubbard
2018 Sun Sgaawaay K'uuna (Edge of the Knife) Gwaai Edenshaw

Helen Haig-Brown

Moon My Friend Michael Ian Leaupepe

Samson Rambo


NFB/imagineNATIVE Interactive Partnership[edit]

NFB/imagineNATIVE Interactive Partnership was started in 2012 for the commissioning and production of new digital and interactive works by established Indigenous artists. Works produced through this program include De Nort (2012) by the ITWE Collective, Similkameen Crossroads (2013) by Tyler Hagan, Ice Fishing (2014) by Jordan Bennett and Red Card (2016) by Cara Mumford. Ice Fishing was subsequently selected to represent Canada at the 2015 Venice Biennale.[11]

Stolen Sisters Digital Initiative[edit]

The Stolen Sisters Digital Initiative (SSDI) was a 2012 imagineNATIVE artistic commission and national exhibition of four, one-minute digital works by award-winning Canadian Indigenous filmmakers. The commissioned works were created to reflect and respond to the Stolen Sisters, a term adopted by the Aboriginal community and larger social justice organizations of the struggle to find answers for the hundreds of unsolved cases of missing and murdered Indigenous women across Canada. The four commissioned works were:

This was the first time the Festival partnered to present a simultaneous national exhibition. Working with Amnesty International Canada and Pattison Onestop, a national media company, the short videos were exhibited throughout Toronto's subway system, on display screens in 33 shopping centres across Canada, at the Calgary International Airport, and at the TIFF Bell Lightbox leading up to and during the 2012 imagineNATIVE Film + Media Arts Festival.[12][13]

Zwei Indianer Aus Winnipeg[edit]

In 2009, the festival commissioned Zwei Indianer Aus Winnipeg, a short film by Saulteaux filmmaker Darryl Nepinak. The film subsequently screened at the 2009 Berlinale.[14][15]

Embargo Collective[edit]

In March 2008, imagineNATIVE formed the Embargo Collective, an international group of seven Indigenous artists for the purposes of collaborating and challenging one another to create seven new films. Collective members included Helen Haig-Brown, Heiltsuk/Mohawk filmmaker and actress Zoe Leigh Hopkins and Anishnaabe filmmaker Lisa Jackson. The resulting films were subsequently screened at the 2010 Berlinale. Following this, Brown's The Cave was awarded a top-ten recognition at the Toronto International Film Festival, and was screened at the 2011 Sundance Festival, while Jackson's Savage won a 2011 Genie Award for best live action short drama.[16]

In 2014, Embargo Collective II focused on women filmmakers. It was curated by Danis Goulet, and included Hopkins, Blackfoot/Sami filmmaker Elle-Máijá Tailfeathers, Alethea Arnaquq-Baril and filmmaker Caroline Monnet. Among the films produced that year was Roberta.[6]

Other Programs[edit]

imagineNATIVE Film + Video Tour[edit]

The imagineNATIVE Film + Video Tour provides regional and remote communities access to Indigenous-made film and video from Canada and abroad. In addition to bringing a Festival-favourite feature presentation to these communities, the Tour encourages youth to explore the creation of film and video through a Youth-focused film and video program, discussion and hands-on video-making workshops. The video-making workshops assist and lead youth to create and edit short videos using readily-available technology such as cellphones and webcams. The videos are featured on imagineNATIVE's website and open to public voting, sending the winner to Toronto for the imagineNATIVE Film + Media Arts Festival.

indigiFLIX Community Screening Series[edit]

The indigiFLIX Community Screening Series, presented by imagineNATIVE, is hosted in cultural and community centres to reach a broader First Nations, Métis, Inuit and non-Native audience beyond the annual Festival in Toronto. Films are selected from past imagineNATIVE Festivals in an effort to keep these important films alive and accessible to the Indigenous community. imagineNATIVE is committed to supporting artists through payment of industry-standard artist fees for all works presented.

Canadian Indigenous Film Producer Mini-Lab[edit]

The Canadian Indigenous Film Producer Mini-Lab was started as a program to develop skills and talent for emerging Indigenous producers. Among its alumni are Cara Mumford, Michelle Latimer and Jeremy Torrie.[17]


  1. ^ "Jesse Wente on the cultural importance of Indigenous film festivals". CBC. Canadian Broadcasting Corporation. 23 October 2016. Retrieved 5 March 2017.
  2. ^ "imagineNATIVE Study on Indigenous Film". IsumaTV. Retrieved 5 March 2017.
  3. ^ Quanz, Katherine (2014). "Preserving Aboriginal Films and Videos: The Archival Practices of Vtape and ISUMATV". In Druick, Zoë; Cammaer, Gerda (eds.). Cinephemera : archives, ephemeral cinema, and new screen histories in canada. [S.l.]: Mcgill-Queens Univ Press. ISBN 9780773544475.
  4. ^ "Indigenous filmmakers need to control storytelling, says Jesse Wente". CBC Radio. Retrieved 5 March 2017.
  5. ^ " | Metro Morning | About Jesse Wente".
  6. ^ a b Das, Prerana. "Evolution in Indigenous filmmaking | Toronto Film Scene". Retrieved 5 March 2017.
  7. ^ McIntosh, Andrew. "Atanarjuat (The Fast Runner)". The Canadian Encyclopedia. Retrieved 5 March 2017.
  8. ^ "Atanarjuat/The Fast Runner | National Museum of the American Indian". Archived from the original on 6 March 2017. Retrieved 5 March 2017.
  9. ^ Zerehi, Sima Sahar. "Greenland films in the spotlight this year at imagineNATIVE festival". CBC News. Retrieved 5 March 2017.
  10. ^ CBC News. "Inuit, Arctic films big winners at 2016 imagineNATIVE festival". CBC News. CBC. Retrieved 5 March 2017.
  11. ^ National Film Board, Government of Canada (25 October 2016). "Canada News Centre - Métis filmmaker Cara Mumford's Red Card chosen for NFB/imagineNATIVE Interactive Partnership program. Peterborough-based artist will work with the NFB's Digital Studio in Vancouver". Retrieved 5 March 2017.
  12. ^ "STOLEN SISTERS | ARTORONTO". Retrieved 5 March 2017.
  13. ^ "imagineNATIVE's Stolen Sisters Digital Initiative". NationTalk. Retrieved 5 March 2017.
  14. ^ "Darryl Nepinak | National Museum of the American Indian". Retrieved 5 March 2017.
  15. ^ "Winnipeg Film Group : History". Retrieved 5 March 2017.
  16. ^ "Special short film program spotlighting Canadian Aboriginal women filmmakers to close imagineNATIVE 2014 | National Screen Institute - Canada (NSI)". National Screen Institute - Canada (NSI). 14 October 2014. Retrieved 5 March 2017.
  17. ^ "OSM Member Jeremy Torrie Selected for Canadian Indigenous Film Producer Mini-Lab | On Screen Manitoba". Retrieved 5 March 2017.

External links[edit]