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The imagineNATIVE Film + Media Arts Festival announces 2023 programming and festival theme

Fancy Dance and Hey, Viktor! to open and close the festival


September 15, 2023, Toronto – The imagineNATIVE Film + Media Arts Festival (imagineNATIVE) announced its 2023 programming today at its press launch event in Toronto. This year’s programming features films from around the globe spanning 74 Indigenous Nations and 40 Indigenous languages, including Māori, Innu-aimun, Inuktitut, Northern Sami, and Yakut to name a few.  

This year’s theme of “homecoming” will ensure feelings of welcoming, warmth, and kindness are interwoven into every space of the festival week in Tkaron:to (Toronto). 

The festival also announced this year’s special events and digital programming which can be found here

From October 17-22, 2023 (Toronto) and October 23-29, 2023 (online), imagineNATIVE will showcase 14 feature films, 70 short films across 11 short film programs, 21 digital and interactive works, and 17 audio works.   Each work presented at the festival is led by an Indigenous creative. The Festival will also present 7 exhibitions throughout the city, and many live musical performances.

Fancy Dance from director Erica Tremblay will open this year’s festival with Cody Lightning’s irreverent comedy Hey, Viktor! closing out the festival. 

With 70 short films featured at imagineNATIVE this festival, there’s something for all audiences. Grouped thematically, the short films will be showcased in short film programs including the Witching Hour, Queerdom, “That’s My Baby!”, From Land to Water, For The Grandbabies, Into The Unknown, Staying Vigilant, Embracing Loss, Long Line of Ladies, A Mother’s Love, and You Know Who You Are

The imagineNATIVE Film + Media Arts Festival is supported by its presenting partner the Canada Media Fund. The imagineNATIVE Film + Media Arts Festival along with its many year-round activities is made possible with the support of public funders, foundations, and donors. imagineNATIVE acknowledges and gives appreciation to the Canada Council for the Arts, the Ontario Arts Council, the Toronto Arts Council, the Ministry of Ontario, Canadian Heritage, Ontario Creates, Telefilm Canada, and Miziwe Biik.

A full rundown of the imagineNATIVE Film + Media Arts Festival Official Selection can be found below:

Feature Films

Fancy Dance
Dir. Erica Tremblay
Opening Night Film

United States, 90 min

Since her sister’s disappearance, Jax (Lily Gladstone) has cared for her niece Roki (Isabel Deroy-Olson) by scraping by on the Seneca-Cayuga Reservation in Oklahoma. Every spare minute goes into finding her missing sister while also helping Roki prepare for an upcoming powwow. At the risk of losing custody to Jax’s father, the pair hit the road and scour the backcountry to track down Roki’s mother in time for the powwow. What begins as a search gradually turns into a far deeper investigation into the complexities and contradictions of Indigenous women moving through a colonized world and at the mercy of a failed justice system.

Hey, Viktor!
Dir. Cody Lightning
Closing Night Film

Canada, 102 min

In the quarter-century since the release of Smoke Signals, Cody Lightning, one of its former child actors, has seen better days. He’s spent the years since milking his fifteen minutes sour as a Z-list celebrity whose swings at reviving his career via self-made zombie films are matched only by his hard partying. A light at the end of the tunnel comes in the form of a financier who wants to produce Smoke Signals 2, an effort that will call on him to reunite with much of the original film’s cast and his ineptitude to take on any professional or adult responsibilities.

Filmed in a startlingly fresh and hilarious mockumentary style, Cody Lightning’s directorial debut, Hey, Viktor!, marks an exciting new chapter in his prolific filmography. Equal parts gut-busting comedy and existential self-inquiry, Lightning’s film takes no prisoners and, in a hyper-meta approach, looks at the absurdity that goes into making a film.


Cafe Daughter
Dir. Shelley Niro

Canada, 90 min

Based on the play of the same name by Kenneth T. Williams, and inspired by true events, Café Daughter is a coming-of-age story about Yvette Wong, a young Chinese Cree girl in 1960s Saskatchewan, who explores and embraces her Cree identity after the passing of her mother. Her journey to reconnect is further bolstered by Maggie Wolf, a part Mi’kmaq girl, who encourages her to take pride in who she is and where her family comes from. When Yvette’s ancestry is revealed, the attitudes of her fellow students and teachers soon turn to discrimination against her and her dreams of going to medical school. In the face of all of this, Yvette chooses to persevere and succeed.

This screen adaptation is the latest in the expansive and prolific oeuvre of director Shelley Niro. Rooted in the experiences of Dr. Lillian Eva Quan Dyck, Order of Canada, Niro and the film’s cast compose a story of inspiration and champion what is possible in overcoming adversity and forging your own path.


I’m Just Here for the Riot 
Dir. Asia Youngman, Kathleen Jayme

Canada, 78 min

I’m Just Here for the Riot is a feature-length documentary that dives into the mob chaos and dramatic aftermath of Vancouver’s shocking 2011 Stanley Cup riot. Through riveting archival footage that plunges viewers into the madness and gives privileged access to key characters who experienced that night and its fallout, the film tells the untold story of the world’s “first smartphone riot.” A decade after a night that shocked the world, I’m Just Here for the Riot reveals how this was a prelude for the toxic social media mob mentality we’re all struggling to grapple with today.


Inky Pinky Ponky  
Dir. Ramon TeWake, Damon Fepuleai

New Zealand, 60 min

Lisa (Amanaki Faletau-Prescott), a young fakaleiti (3rd Spirit), has ambitions beyond her seemingly small world and dreams of being her school’s Queen of the Ball. It won’t be an easy road, but as she deals with her mother’s rejection of her identity and the open bigotry she faces at her high school, she never loses sight of who she is or what she wants. After her romance with Mose (JP Foliaki), the school’s rugby captain, is targeted by her fellow classmates, tensions rise as Lisa bravely refuses to not be true to who she is, and more importantly, who she wants to be.

In Inky Pinky Ponky, co-directors Damon Fepulea’i and Ramon Te Wake form a portrait of hope, pride, and persistence in the face of intolerance. Anchored on a magnetic performance by Faletau-Prescott, Te Wake and Fepulea’i bring us into Lisa’s world, a reality of pain and joy, and show that the latter will always win out.


Dir. Dana Claxton

Canada, 113 min

In August of 1911, a Native-American man mysteriously appeared in the town of Oroville, California. He walked out of the bush, starving, not speaking and visibly traumatized. Town residences, unable to determine where he came from, called in University of California anthropologists Alfred Kroeber and T.T. Waterman, who determined the man was from the Yahi people from the Nation of Deer Creek. The man was brought back to the UC campus and given the name “Ishi,” meaning “man” in the Yahi language. As in most history, the story of the Yahi, is tragic. After the California gold rush in 1849, Ishi’s people were massacred. It is estimated around 1908, Ishi escaped the massacre by hiding in the bush, surviving on his own, lonely, without community and forced to hide from a world now filled with his people’s executioners.

This hybrid feature documentary is based on the performance of James Luna, who toured a performance piece called ISHI:The Archive Performance reflecting on Ishi’s story and the impact of colonization that exists today


Dir. Tearepa Kahi

New Zealand, 102 min

When Community Sergeant “Taffy” Tawharau (Cliff Curtis), a Māori police officer, returns home, he is faced with a dilemma. Indigenous activists in the vicinity have been holding militant boot camps and are suspected of plotting to kill the country’s Prime Minister… or so the police have said. Taffy is given the choice to infiltrate the activists’ group and become an informant, a decision that will soon blur the lines between who he is as a proud Māori and his sworn duty as an officer.

With Muru, director Tearepa Kahi weaves a tense thriller that finds pressure in questions of competing loyalties between colonial forces, community, and the struggle for liberation. Aided by Curtis’ onscreen presence as Taffy, Kahi’s film builds its powder-keg narrative from historical events circa 2007 and leads its audiences on a charged ride to its explosive finale.


Red, White & Brass
Dir. Damon Fepulea’i

New Zealand, 85 min

When the window for securing a ticket to the Tonga versus France Rugby World Cup game closes, Maka (John-Paul Foliaki) is forced to get creative for his chance to see his favourite team. The only way he can make it work is to perform with his brass band at this monumental match. The problem is that he doesn’t have a band, instruments, or any musical ability at all. To make this group a reality, he’ll have to convince his friends and family in Wellington’s Tongan community to join him in his quixotic endeavour.

With Red, White & Brass, director Damon Fepulea’i whips up a charming tale of what’s possible when you band together against improbable odds and set your sights on a goal that’s just out of reach. Foliaki leads the film’s colourful ensemble through their many hilarious misadventures and feel-good finale.


The New Boy
Dir. Warwick Thornton

Australia, 116 min

With the arrival of a mysterious nine-year-old Aboriginal boy (Aswan Reid), the lives of the denizens of a rural monastery in 1940s Australia slowly come out of balance. Secrets are uncovered and tensions are stretched to their breaking points as the boy begins to display otherworldly gifts, driving the head nun, Sister Eileen (Cate Blanchett), to the brink of spiritual madness.


The latest film by the prolific Warwick Thornton (who wrote, directed, and lensed this film), The New Boy meditates on the nuances of survival, belief, and collective joy in the face of some of colonialism’s worst efforts. The film paints a world where its inhabitants ride the edge of darkness and the divine and are forced to rely on each other to endure. Buttressed by powerhouse performances from Reid and Blanchett, Thornton’s vision of a new possibility for cross-cultural understanding and acceptance questions what angles we have not approached to heal the scars of struggle.


Feature (Documentary)

Veins of the Amazon
Dir. Alvaro Sarmiento, Diego Sarmiento, Terje Toomistu
Feature (Documentary)

Peru, 72 min

Observation of an important infrastructure in Amazonia: downstream on a cargo boat that brings passengers and goods to the isolated communities in the Peruvian rain forest.

Cargo boats form a non-lieu, a space of transition for the travellers taking journeys that can last days, as well as for the Indigenous communities living on the edges of the Amazon River, fighting for the survival of their cultural traditions and struggling to adapt to modernity.


Tautuktavuk (What We See)
Dir. Carol Kunnuk, Lucy Tulugarjuk
Feature (Documentary)

Canada, 82 min

After experiencing a traumatic event in Igloolik (an Inuit hamlet in Foxe Basin, Qikiqtaaluk Region in Nunavut), Uyarak leaves her community and family in Nunavut to live in Montréal. When Covid-19 lockdowns close off the Canadian Arctic from the rest of the world, Uyarak is further separated from her closest friend, eldest sister, Saqpinak. This extreme situation blurs the lines of both the fictional lives of the sisters, and the non-fiction lives of the film’s directors, Lucy Tulugarjuk and Carol Kunnuk, who play the sisters.

The film becomes a series of vignettes of heartache and healing – both in the dramatic based- on-true-events narrative, and the lived reality of these characters and creators.


Dir. Jules Koostachin
Feature (Documentary)

Canada, 82 min

WaaPaKe (Tomorrow) explores how children of Indian Residential School survivors — including three generations of director Dr. Jules Koostachin’s own family — are moving beyond the burden of intergenerational trauma and into healing.

Dir. Juan Javier Pérez
Feature (Documentary)

Canada, 82 min

This film is a fragment of Juan Javier Pérez’s father’s life, a story Juan has known since childhood.

Through his dreams, José received a gift given by the gods. A gift that brings consequences. Now that he is at a mature age in life, José would like to rest, but he is not allowed. Vaychiletik explores this fierce yet beautiful reality, forged from the dreams of the Mayan people of Mexico.


Dir. Xun Sero
Feature (Documentary)

Canada, 82 min

In this documentary, Mexican Tzotzil director Xun Sero confronts his past with honesty, understanding and forgiveness.

As a Mexican Tzotzil, Xun grew up between the sacrality both of Guadalupe Virgin and Mother Earth. As a son, he grew up among the derision of not having a father and blaming my mother for it. Mom is a dialogue between mother and son exploring their contradictions, knowing and recognizing each other, and reflecting on naturalized violence and its reproduction


Witching Hour

Dear Stephen King, instead of using Indian Burial Grounds in your books, have you thought of using European Burial Grounds?
Dir. Joey Clift
Witching Hour

United States, 1 min

An open letter to Stephen King asking him why he’s so scared of Native American people.


Dir. Eili Bråstad
Witching Hour

Norway, 17 min

Inspired by the power of nature, Skádja is a queer story from Sápmi about regaining freedom and autonomy


Unborn Biru
Dir. Inga Elin Marakatt
Witching Hour

Norway. 19 min

A desperate Sámi widow steals silver from a dead body, in order to survive and feed her daughter and unborn child. But the silver is cursed, and it has consequences for all of them.



The Untold Tales of Tūteremoana – Whiro
Dir. Keely Meechan
Witching Hour

New Zealand, 22 min

After the loss of her grandmother, Whiro becomes the target of a witch hunt when strange occurrences begin in her family’s traditional resting place. 


Dir. Evgeny Nikolaev
Witching Hour

Russian Federation 22 min

In the depths of winter, a Yakut man moves to an abandoned house where he begins to experience strange events. As he tries to understand the unknown he unwittingly exposes a shocking secret.


Queerdom short films 


Dir. Taietsarón:sere ‘Tai’ Leclaire
Queerdom short films

United States, 10 min

Amidst a music festival, a Queer Native Person witnesses a Non-Native wearing a ceremonial headdress, prompting a deep introspection to deliver the ultimate retort.


Can I Love You?
Dir. Kymon Greyhorse
Queerdom short films

United States, 14 Min

When an acceptance letter to college arrives, a Navajo girl faces the challenge of relinquishing her role as a mother figure.


Dir. Keisha Erwin
Queerdom short films

Canada, 10 min

In this heartfelt, short documentary, Keisha Erwin shares their transformative journey of reconnecting with their family and culture in Northern Saskatchewan, demonstrating the power of healing through reconnection.


Dir. Kymon Greyhorse
Queerdom short films

United States, 3 Min

A heartfelt, poetic journey, an intimate love letter that delves into self-discovery and cherishing one’s roots. 


Dear Kin
Dir. Alexis Anoruk Sallee
Queerdom short films

United States, 3 Min

A captivating web series intertwined with evocative photographic portraits celebrating Indigenous LGBTQ2S+ individuals and their unique narratives.


The Roof
Dir. Alexander Bocchieri
Queerdom short films

United States, 20 min

A leaky roof leads a Northern Cheyenne teen on a soul-stirring journey, revealing an unexpected truth and a profound bond with family and community beyond their wildest imagination.


“That’s My Baby!”


Club Kid Alley
Dir. Tyler J Sloane
“That’s My Baby!”

Canada, 4 min

A love letter to queer nightlife, let Bom Bae bring you into Toronto’s Club Kid Manor as they prepare for a glittery night out.


Dir. Veialu Aila-Unsworth
“That’s My Baby!” 

United States, 7 min

Raya loves make up but her family does not. Torn between her dreams and her Papua New Guinean family’s strict religious beliefs, she finds comfort in her ancestors.


Ancestral Threads
Dir. Sean Stiller
“That’s My Baby!” 

Canada, 12 min

Former model, Joleen Mitton is on a mission to use fashion as medicine for Vancouver’s Indigenous community. She takes us inside Vancouver Indigenous Fashion Week, a multifaceted celebration of traditional and contemporary Indigenous identity.


Dir. Libby Hakaraia
“That’s My Baby!” 

New Zealand, 15 min

How far would you go to make your grandmother happy? A young Māori man ventures far outside his comfort zone to create an experience for his grandmother that she will never forget.


The Alexander Ball
Dir. Jessica Magro
“That’s My Baby!” 

Australia, 30 min

Samoan-Māori-Australian trans woman of colour, Ella Ganza, and the Meanjin (Brisbane) ballroom scene prepares for one of biggest ballroom events of the year: The Alexander Ball. 


From Land To Water


Baigal Nuur – Lake Baikal
Dir. Alisi Telengut
From Land to Water short films

Canada, 9 min 

The formation and history of Lake Baikal in Siberia are re-imagined with hand-made animation, featuring the voice of a Buryat woman who can still recall some words in her endangered Buryat-Mongolian language.


Dir. Armando López Castañeda
From Land to Water short films

Mexico, 3 min 

Drumohre is the language of the first that lived here. The more days go by, the less they speak it. Here you no longer see anyone who understands it.


Dir. Keli Mashburn
From Land to Water short films

United States, 7 min

A “pandemic dream film,” inspired by the work of Elise Paschen. This film mirrors itself as rich soundscapes play over vast landscapes, creating a lonely tension between the visible and the invisible.


The Golden Age
Dir. Bawaadan Collective
From Land to Water short films

Canada, 20 min

A morality tale for adults played out as an allegory to the loss of connection between humans and animals, and the global pandemic.

Ajá (Water)
Dir. Dennis Noel López Sosa
From Land to Water short films

Mexico, 5 Min

An exploration and reinterpretation of the chontal people’s mystic ceremony of rain pleading.


Dir. Moe Clark, Victoria Hunt, James Brown
From Land to Water short films

Canada, 5 min

An experimental examination of threshold states. Moving through deep space time in underwater realms, mirrored bodies spiral, suspend and dance through te reo maori and nêhiyawêwin lamentations.


Dir. Zephyr McKenna
From Land to Water short films

Canada, 3 min

Documentation of time spent stewarding the ReSistering/Queering Place garden on the Niwa’ah onega’haih’ih/Kobechenonk/Humber river, and reflections on water and grief.


For The Grandbabies


Starlight Sojourn
Dir. Chantal Rousseau, Darcy Tara McDiarmid
For The Grandbabies  

Canada, 4 min

A vibrant animation with natural soundscapes depicts Yukon wildlife traversing through the night.


Ni Wapiten – I see
Dir. Noémie Echaquan, Julie Ottawa
For The Grandbabies 

Canada, 3 min

A child’s call to action for the people of the world to do better for Mother Earth and future generations.


Dir. Segundo Fuérez
For The Grandbabies  

Ecuador, 5 mins

An adorable stop-motion animation short about a bear and a musician who recruit their friends to help a group of Indigenous women fight a mining corporation on their lands.


Dir. Brent Owen Beauchamp
For The Grandbabies  

Canada, 3 min

A boy learns not to run off on his mother and that not everything is what it seems.


Dir. Nicolás Zarco
For The Grandbabies 

Mexico, 8 min

An elderly woman missing her family journeys to the past to revisit her younger self and reunite with her loved ones.


The Bull of Cold
Dir. Alexander Moruo
For The Grandbabies 

Kazakhstan, 9 min

A young Sakha boy apprentices under his reluctant grandfather as they build an ice sculpture of the Bull of Cold, but something goes wrong when the boy takes the project into his own hands.

Rieban – The Fox
Dir. Sara Margrethe Oskal
For The Grandbabies 

Norway, 8 min 

After struggling to hunt fish and satisfy her hunger, a mischievous fox gets creative when she comes upon a fisherman heading home with his catch of the day.


Whistling Woods
Dir. Barry Billinsky
For The Grandbabies  

Canada, 12 min

When a group of kids reach the limits of their boredom, they turn to each other for entertainment, playing Truth or Dare, telling spooky stories, and doing what we’re all told not to do… whistle in the woods.


Into The Unknown


Katele (mudskipper)
Dir. John Harvey
Into The Unknown

Australia, 14 min 

Martha, an Indigenous woman works tirelessly in a laundromat loading machines and folding washing, ready for the collection of her boss. When a mysterious visitor arrives, Martha is reminded of the life she has left behind. 


Dir. Adriel (Strenneth) Rosenfeldt
Into The Unknown

Canada, 4 min 

Robin’s mind is full of her memories and experiences and is home to a figure of her consciousness who makes decisions to keep Robin safe and happy. This figure is faced with a challenge. She must make the hard decision whether to destroy the memories and everything connected to them or to try to live with them in harmony. 


Dir. Mii Taokia
Into The Unknown

Cook Islands, 4 min 

Tai lives in a world that is both beautiful and dangerous. The Pacific islands that were once teeming with life are now being destroyed by the island eaters. These machines are massive, towering beasts that consume everything in their path, leaving nothing but barren wasteland in their wake. 


Dir. Barry Billinsky
Into The Unknown

Canada, 17 min 

Disaster strikes Kikino during the annual baseball extravaganza, forcing those that can to bunker down. Local internet celebrity Kit Kat Thompson escaped this place once before, what makes this time any different? Everyone struggles to determine what the future might hold, how to survive, and where exactly is Home. 


Dir. Madison Thomas
Into The Unknown

Canada, 11 min 

Starbound is a short sci-fi/ family drama that explores the return of eight year old Billy Campbell after being abducted by aliens four years earlier. 


Do Digital Curanderas Use Eggs In Their Limpias?
Dir. Roberto Fatal
Into The Unknown 

United States, 13 min 

A struggling Latinx healer considers abandoning the physical world for promises of a digital utopia. 


Dir. Asia Youngman
Into The Unknown 

Canada, 16 min 

After moving to a new town, a teenager must navigate peer pressure when her next-door neighbour convinces her to explore a nearby island in search of a legendary lake monster. 


Staying Vigilant


Dir. Eva Thomas
Staying Vigilant 

Canada, 14 min 

A woman vigilantly trails the cops who pick her friend up after a night out. She doesn’t know where they are taking her, but she knows she will not become a victim. 


To Be Silent

Dir. Tace Stevens

Staying Vigilant 

Australia, 9 min 

A personal story about the subtle ways in which racism can show itself in the workplace, and a lesson in trusting your gut when things don’t feel right. 


No Māori Allowed
Dir. Corinna Hunziker
Staying Vigilant

New Zealand, 44 min 

The rural town of Pukekohe in Auckland is shaken when confronted with its hidden past; the segregation and racism towards Māori is uncovered. 


Embracing Loss


Heart Like a Pow Wow
Dir. Chief Lady Bird
Embracing Loss

Canada, 5 mins 

A beautifully poetic animated short illustrated by Chief Lady Bird and spoken by Tara Williamson, Heart Like a Pow Wow shares the evolution of grief through love from an Anishinaabe perspective. 


A Bear Named Jesus
Dir. Terril Calder
Embracing Loss

Canada, 5 min 

What does it look like to be in the presence of someone who looks and sounds like a loved one but is unrecognizable at the same time? 


Four Nights and a Fire
Dir. Alex Nystrom
Embracing Loss

United States, 13 min 

A man’s spirit lingers, watching over his son as he processes his grief while keeping a sacred fire to light his father’s journey back home to the spirit world. 


A Boy and His Loss
Dir. Michelle Derosier
Embracing Loss

Canada, 7 min 

A boy carrying the heavy burden of loss decides to join the dead in order to free himself of his grief until a divine intervention shows him the way of letting go. 


Grape Soda in the Parking Lot
Dirs. Megan Kyak-Monteith, Taqralik Partridge 
Embracing Loss

Canada, 8 min 

This animated short paints a mosaic of Taqralik Patridge’s childhood memories and the loss of her grandmother’s Scottish Gaelic and her father’s Inuktitut languages that English had caused. 


I Won’t Remain Alone
Dir. Yaser Talebi
Embracing Loss

Iran, 15 min 

An elderly couple struggles with the decision to donate their son’s organs while coming to terms with his impending death. 


Fast Eddie
Dir. Keely Meechan
Embracing Loss

New Zealand, 14 min 

A film memorializing a man who lived his life to the fullest, shooting for one last adventure with the love and support of his family by his side. 


Long Line of Ladies


Nisihkason Lex
Dir. Kaayla Whachell
Long Line of Ladies

Canada, 14 min 

Alexa navigates the world around her as a young Indigenous woman. Through her Digital Voice project, she creates a safe space for herself and her friends to speak about life’s hardships. 


Mother (EADNI)
Dir. Liselotte Wajstedt
Long Line of Ladies

Sweden, 7 min 

With captivating animation that skews the lines between reality and imagination, Mother (EADNI) is a retelling of childhood memory and the inherent connection to land between mother and daughter. 


Dir. Kathleen Mantel
Long Line of Ladies

New Zealand, 5 min 

A spoken word poetry piece that flows from darkness to light, signalling a breakthrough from the cycles that we find ourselves in. 


Dir. Evelyn Lorena
Long Line of Ladies

United States, 16 min 

A coming of age story about a young, undocumented Guatemalan woman at odds between her socio-economic status and her dreams of being on a prestigious country club swim team. 


Metal Belt
Dir. Blackhorse Lowe
Long Line of Ladies

United States, 14min 

With the help of a sister, a Navajo woman escapes New Mexican militia slave traders to find her way back home. 


Long Line of Ladies
Dir. Shaandiin Tome, Rayka Zehtabchi
Long Line of Ladies

United States, 20 min 

A young girl coming into her womanhood is embraced by her family and empowered to continue the Flower Dance Ceremony, a celebration gifted by the Creator to her people.


Our Grandmother The Inlet
Dir. Jaime Leigh (Demetra) Gianopoulos, Kayah George
Long Line of Ladies

Canada, 9 min 

An ancestral connection and love for the water runs deep between a grandmother and granddaughter, sustaining the fight against the impacts of industrialization.


A Mother’s Love 


Dir. KJ Edwards
A Mother’s Love

Canada, 5 min 

A woman visits her late mother in her dreams. A reminder that when our loved ones pass, they are never really far away.


the sky is very pretty
Dir. Aracely Méndez
A Mother’s Love

Mexico, 17 min 

Mothers bear the weight of uncertainty for their futures while their daughters continue to live out their childhood playing and dreaming within the walls of a Mexican migrant and refugee shelter.


Entre Nous Locataires
Dir. Elijah Alexander Chenoweth
A Mother’s Love

Canada, 7 min 

In the midst of an impending redevelopment eviction, three mothers share their stories of raising their children at the Alma Blackwell Co-op, a residential safe space meant for families escaping domestic violence.


Dir. Derek Quick
A Mother’s Love

United States, 8 min 

A working homeless mother struggles to make ends meet, but does her best to provide her daughter with a safe and loving environment despite living out of their car.


Dir. Ayaal Adamov
A Mother’s Love

Russian Federation, 20 min 

In this dream-like experimental drama, roles of motherhood shift between sisters when a student returns to her rural Yakut home after her sister passes.


Nigiqtuq (The South Wind)
Dir. Lindsay McIntyre
A Mother’s Love

Canada, 16 min 

An Inuk mother lives under the watchful eye of her RCMP officer husband, falling under pressure for her and her daughter to assimilate to their new life in the south.


He Karu He Taringa
Dir. Tahuaroa Ohia
A Mother’s Love

New Zealand, 13 min 

Seen through the eyes of a young boy sensitive to the world’s intense sights and sounds, a mother desperately advocates to get a diagnosis to help him.


You Know Who You Are 


Dir. Marlikka Perdrisat
You Know Who You Are

Australia, 6 min 

Country is where you belong. From Indigenous Australia, Babanil explores how connection to country links its people to the ancestors across generations and millenia.


Dir. Lucia Ortega Toledo, Daniel Califf-Glick
You Know Who You Are

United States, 14 min 

A semi-autobiographical story of immigration, the struggle to fit in, and a particularly loud rooster.


Plastic – A love letter to the estranged
Dir. Va’a Magalogo
You Know Who You Are

New Zealand, 14 min 

Plastic/ fake/ other – What can be done when a community doesn’t accept their own blood? What can be done when a community won’t share their culture with their own? What does it mean to be a Pacific person, living in the diaspora?


Pasifika Drift
Dir. Alana Hicks
You Know Who You Are

Australia, 12 min 

A new baby is on it’s way and the aunties have arrived to bring their children home.

The Mainland
Dir. Conrad Lihilihi
You Know Who You Are

United States, 18 min 

In Hollywood, an aspiring Hawaiian actor is compromised – does he honour his own identity or play at being ethnically ambiguous to fit a cynical diversity agenda.




About imagineNATIVE: 

The imagineNATIVE Film + Media Arts Festival is the world’s largest Indigenous festival showcasing film, video, audio, and digital + interactive media made by Indigenous 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. imagineNATIVE.org

For media inquiries:

Ally LaMere-Shedden

Route 504 PR


Alya Stationwala 

Route 504 PR


imagineNATIVE Film + Media Arts Festival

Toronto: October 17-22, 2023

Online: October 23-29, 2023




Media Contact:

Damien Nelson, damien@wantandable.ca

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