National Indigenous Peoples Day – Who We Are Film Series

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To commemorate Indigenous History Month, the Vancouver International Film Festival (“VIFF”) and Museum of Vancouver (“MOV”) present the Who We Are film series in conjunction with MOV’s latest exhibition, That Which Sustains Us. Launching on VIFF Connect on National Indigenous Peoples Day (June 21), the series programmed by Indigenous curators Rylan Friday, Jasmine Wilson and Sharon Fortney includes five feature films showcasing a diversity of Indigenous experiences.

National Indigenous Peoples Day – Who We Are Film Series

National Indigenous Peoples Day – Who We Are Film Series

  • When: June 21 to July 4, 2021
  • Where: Online here through VIFF Connect
  • Tickets: 5-Ticket Pass $25; Single Tickets $10.
    • The Who We Are series pass and tickets are free to Indigenous Peoples.
    • VIFF+ Silver, Gold and Monthly Connect members get free access to Fire Song and can purchase a pass for $16.

Indigenous History month is a time to acknowledge those who came before us throughout turtle island, to validate lived experiences & the trauma left behind from the legacy of residential schools and the ripple effects of colonization that are prevalent in modern society. As Indigenous people, we must honour the past but most importantly walk forward and hold each other up as a community to a path of healing as these experiences shaped Who We Are.

These five films share universal hard truths that deviate from trauma based narratives, but explore the themes of: healing, resiliency, joy, laughter, pain and community all woven throughout as a singular curation.


Fire Song (dir. Adam Garnet Jones, Canada)
Adam Garnet Jones’ poetic drama about a gay Anishnabe teenager explores themes of love, loss, belonging, isolation and ultimately self-acceptance while stamping out colonial ideologies on sexuality.

Atanarjuat: The Fast Runner (dir. Zacharias Kunuk, Canada)
When Atanarjuat displaces the Chief’s son by winning the hand of the beautiful Atuat, his brother pays the ultimate price. This cautionary tale, based on an Inuit oral tradition, shows the consequences of putting personal desires ahead of community needs. Camera d’or for Best First Feature Film, Cannes 2001; Best Canadian Feature Film, TIFF 2001.

Boy (dir. Taika Waititi, New Zealand)
When his father comes home unexpectedly, 11-year-old Boy must come to terms with the realization he is not the man he wishes him to be. A humorous and heart-warming coming-of-age story about Maori masculinities from Taika Waititi.

The Body Remembers When the World Broke Open (dir. Elle-Máijá Tailfeathers, Kathleen Hepburn, Canada/Norway)
Discovering a pregnant Indigenous teen (Violet Nelson) sobbing on a rainy East Vancouver street, Aila (Elle-Máijá Tailfeathers) works feverishly to get her access to proper support networks. Riveting and intimate; a revelatory odyssey. VIFF 2019 Best BC Film Winner.

Rhymes for Young Ghouls (dir. Jeff Barnaby, Canada)
Blood Quantum director Jeff Barnaby’s audacious, genre-bending debut takes the nightmare of Residential Schools as a jumping off point for a supernatural revenge thriller, one of the most notable homegrown movies of the past decade.

Follow VIFF and the MOV on Facebook for more info.

Related: National Indigenous Peoples Day Events

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