Director: Norman Earl Soldier, 5min, CDN
Director: Jeff Dorn, Documentary (Official selection HotDocs 2012), 51min, CDN
Smoke Traders tells the story of the contraband tobacco trade and the effect on individual lives and communities. The multimillion-dollar cigarette industry that Mohawks have built has pulled their communities out of third world poverty, but the Canadian government is determined to shut the trade down. Are these traders criminals who must be stopped? Or are they entrepreneurs who deserve our support?
Director: Mike Melski, Drama, 99min, CDN
Charlie Zone stars Glen Gould as a washed-up Aboriginal boxer reduced to fighting amateur YouTube bouts while holding down a laboring job on the Halifax waterfront. Spotted on the Internet for his still-potent fight prowess, he’s hired by a mysterious woman who claims to represent a family that wants its adopted daughter back from a heroin den in the North End (the ‘Charlie Zone’ of the title). What appears to be a simple crime story darkens and deepens, as the kidnappee (Amanda Crew) has her own hidden agenda.
Every Emotion Costs
Director: Darlene Naponse, Drama, 93min, CDN
Every Emotion Costs is an exploration of the reality of returning home to the reserve to face family, community and the ceremony of death. We follow Quilla and her sister June as they return to bury their mentally ill mother. Upon arrival, Quilla must deal with a sister she hasn’t spoken to in years, her past loves that emerge from the forest, and the resentment she had with her dead mother. Emotionally abandoned by her mother we follow Quilla as she explores an upbringing of life on the reserve, past relationships, and find out what drove her away. In a bright detail of what should be a somber ritual, we see that addiction revels in the characters lives, edifying their own personal rituals,pain,lust and disappointment. It is the family Quilla left behind on the reserve that allows her to discover herself amongst all the tragedy in her life.
Path of Souls
Director: Jeremy Torrie, Drama, 130min, CDN
A woman tracks her dead husband into the afterlife and travels the treacherous Path of Souls into the Underworld of the Dead. How far would you go for love?
Grieving wife Grace Hudson (LAURA HARRIS) and long lost friend Brandon (COREY SEVIER) decide to complete her dead husband (ADAM BEACH) Jon’s thesis, embarking on a cathartic road trip taking them deep into Indian country to sacred sites across Native North America. Along the way they encounter Elders and medicine men that speak of dark matter, wormholes, parallel universes, and shape-shifting spirits as real as the stone they’ve used to depict them. From Manitou-Ahbee to Devil’s Tower in Wyoming to haunting rock art in Sego Canyon, Utah Grace and Brandon discover knowledge older than the Pyramids in Egypt. As Grace and Brandon explore the clues within Jon’s notes, collect evidence and marvel at the beauty of the natural landscape known as Turtle Island they come to understand they have stepped into a spiritually charged universe, perilously close to the land of the dead and the Path Of Souls.
Between ancient ceremonies, traditional teachings, and enigmatic tricksters they must sort out what part of our world is illusion and what is reality.
As they near the completion of Jon’s thesis and unlock centuries-old secrets, will they live to tell the tale?
Director: Yves Sioui Durand, Drama (French and Innu) With subtitles, 96min, CDN
After receiving a cryptic message from his biological mother, Dave, a young Indigenous man living in Montreal, returns to his reserve for the first time since he was adopted at the age of three. Despite his ancestral ties to the First Nation, Dave experiences an identity crisis as he struggles to understand his family, his connection to the land and his feelings for Osalic, a young woman destined for tragedy. Yves Sioui Durand’s feature film is an adaptation of Shakespeare’s Hamlet set on a remote Innu community in Quebec, and a courageous portrayal of one man’s journey to understanding.
Day In Our Bay
Directed by The Bristol Bay Community, Documentary, 16min, USA
Day in or Bay is a digital storytelling project that gives voice to Bristol Bay Alaskan Natives through a storytelling contest, culminating in a collaborative documentary film.
Director: Alexandra Lazarowich, Drama/ Animation, 10min, CDN
13-year-old Joey Lighting is following in the dangerous footsteps of his older brother. His life changes when he is caught breaking and entering. Joey finds himself before a judge. Is this the moment when he gets a fighting chance?
NORTHERN HAZE: LIVING THE DREAM
Director: Derek Aqqiaruq, Documentary, 36min, CDN
In 2010, independent music producer Jason Flower travelled to the remote community of Igloolik (Nunavut) to interview the remaining band members of Northern Haze, the first known Inuit Rock Band to sing in their native tongue. A sensation in Northern Canada, the band remains largely unknown in the rest of the country. “Northern Haze: Living the Dream” tells the story of the close-knit band and their love of music.
Two Indians Talking
Director: Sara McIntyre, Drama, 96min, CDN
Two Indians Talking is a comedic drama about the conflicting opinions of two First Nations men as they prepare to set up a roadblock. Each man wants fiercely to do the right thing, but struggles with the question, “When you do something for the right reasons, does that make it the right thing to do?”
The Lawnmower Men of Kapu
Director: Katie Wolfe, Drama, 17min, NZ
Redemption is the dark and tender story of two Maori teenagers trying to find their way through personal hells. However, in this coming of age story, survival may not bring a happy ending.
The Winter Boy
Director: Rachel House, Drama, 8min, NZ
A mother tries to comfort her grieving son, but an outing to the local aquarium places further strain on their troubled relationship – until her son finds a reason to let his mother in again.
Director: Sam Peacocke, Drama, 18min, NZ
Sam Peacocke’s confronting dramatic debut re-imagines the events that took place around the robbery of a Manurewa liquor store in 2008, in which owner Navtej Singh was tragically murdered. The film takes a kaleidoscopic perspective on colliding South Auckland lives, notably in an — almost unbearably — tense hold-up scene.
More Than Frybread
Director: Travis Holt Hamilton, Comedy, 96min, USA
22 Arizona tribal representatives convene in Flagstaff, Arizona to compete for the first ever-annual State of Arizona frybread championship. The film takes a larger than life turn as four contestants battle their way to compete for the title in the championship round. This is the frybread competition unlike any you have ever seen and the movie you can almost taste!
Director: Ervin Chartrand, Documentary, 44min, CDN
A Winnipeg high school teacher and former boxer, Randy Baleski has a unique approach to helping students at risk of not graduating: get them in the ring.
Fight profiles two of these young men: Rene Catcheway and Melvin Delorme. Both are Aboriginal teens with troubled backgrounds. But boxing alone may not be enough to overcome a lifetime of figurative hard knocks. Melvin is committed to graduating and completing post-secondary studies. Rene is feeling more and more disillusioned with school. With Baleski in their corner, can they make it?
Life on Victor Street
Director: Kirby Hammond, Documentary, 29min, CDN
Brent Thomas sits on the steps of his family’s West End Winnipeg home, offering a lesson in local gang geography: “There’s Crips over there, Indian Posse over there, MAC [meth and crack] houses all around, and Outlaws over there.”
Fred, Brent’s father, moved here from the Lac Seul Reserve to provide opportunities for his kids. He kicked his addictions and has gone back to school, making a heroic effort to set a good example for his children.
Life on Victor Street follows Brent and his father over a critical two-year period When we first meet Brent at the age of 16, he’s laughing and waving around a water pistol. But with each passing year, the challenges mount. Over time, the family home increasingly comes under siege, as gang members burn down the garage and repeatedly smash windows.
Life on Victor Street is a moving portrait of one family trying to break the cycle of addiction, violence and poverty in an environment filled with anger and despair.
This Time Last Winter
Director: Ann Verall, Drama, 25min, CDN
A young woman, Iona, cannot remember how the gash on her head got there. When her mother tells her it was inflicted by Iona’s indie rock musician boyfriend, Wes, Iona refuses to believe it To find out for herself, she returns to his warehouse apartment, the location of her last memory. The film explores violence in young relationships and the moment of choice we face when the urge to be violent surfaces.
Cura Cura Con Jasra De Mamapacha (Healing with Herbs of Mother Earth)
Director: Irma Poma, Documentary, 24min, Spanish with subtitles, Peru
The women of the Canchunani family have inherited the gift that allows them to communicate with medicinal plants. In the short documentary these women want to share with the world their wisdom and knowledge.
La Voz de la Semillas (Voice of the Seeds)
Directors Rodrigo Otero, Maja Tillmann, Rosio Achahui, 30min, Spanish with subtitles, Peru
Documentary on the fight by Peru’s farmers and scientists to establish a ten-year moratorium on the importation of genetically modified foods into the country.
Ba”a ba”ata Wike (Water Calls Water)
Director: Romantic Yaqui Team, 13min, Mexico
During a participatory video project, a group of Yaqui consulted their community elders to document how their local climate has changed and discovered that “water calls water”: after a dam was built in the mountains, the Yaqui river dried up and rains stopped coming. As a result, the Yaqui are suffering from very long and severe droughts making it impossible for them to cultivate their fields with their native crops.
Los Derechos de la Pachamama (Rights of Mother Earth)
Pnaacoj Ancoj (Walking Between The Estuaries)
Director: Indigenous Representatives of the Comcaac Community of Punta Chueca, 20min, Comcacc with subtitles, Mexico
Children of the Comcaac community of Punta Chueca plant mangroves to fight the erosion of the beaches near their community. As a result of climate change mangrove swamps have dried up and the Infiernillo channel is becoming wider. The children explain that from now on they will do their best to take good care of the mangroves to protect their land.
Director: Sergio Ramirez, 76min, Spanish with subtitles, Guatemala
Tomás Choc travels 150 kilometers to be reunited with his only daughter, kidnapped 20 years ago during the Guatemalan civil war. In order to keep his memories of her alive, Tomas has kept a journal of his daily struggles, which he plans to give her when they meet in Ramirez’s heart wrenching drama.
Flores en el Desert (Flowers in the Desert)
Director: Jose Alvarez, Documentary, 72min, Spanish with subtitles, Mexico
The Wixarika culture (or Huichol) originates from the Mexican states of Jalisco, Nayarit, and Durango where more than 50,000 Huicholes currently live and practice their indigenous traditions. A group of huicholes wants a film made that portrays their religious and social customs, as they feel it is vital to preserve their culture for new generations. The huicholes are pilgrims, deer hunters, and they eat peyote. Every year, the Huicholes embark on pilgrimages from the mountain ranges in Jalisco to places like the Wirikuta Desert in San Luis Potosí and to the Aramara Sea along the coast of San Blas, Nayarit. The filmmakers were extended the rare opportunity to follow the Huicholes from San Jose and Tesorero on their travels and document their daily lives over a two-year period.