Victoria Film Festival Spotlights Female Filmmakers

Victoria Film Festival spotlights female filmmakers with Indigenous Perspective program

Films include Edge of the Knife, first feature made entirely in the Haida language

Female filmmakers are in the spotlight on the Indigenous Perspective program at the 25th Victoria Film Festival, including award-winning, Haida-language drama, Edge of the Knife (SG̲aawaay Ḵ’uuna).

Directed by Gwaai Edenshaw and Helen Haig-Brown, the 19th-century-set mystery-thriller is the first feature made entirely in the endangered Haida language — which has only 20-odd fluent speakers remaining.

Also on the bill are two films with prolific Aboriginal actor Tantoo Cardinal, including historical drama Angelique’s Isle and Cardinal’s first leading role in a feature film, Falls Around Her.

Cardinal will also appear on a panel for ground-breaking 1998 film Smoke Signals, along with director Chris Eyre and fellow actor Evan Adams. Smoke Signals had its Canadian premiere at VFF.

“We are thrilled that the four feature films in this year’s Indigenous Perspective program are directed by women directors. Each film is unique, yet they all share the same passion and commitment to authentic storytelling that has been part of Indigenous cultures for thousands of years.” said series programmer Barbara Todd Hager.

Hager says although the four films on the Indigenous Perspective bill vary in place and time, their creators share inspiration drawn from their female ancestors or women making their mark today.

The four films screening in the Indigenous Perspective slate include:

Angelique’s Isle: (D: Michelle Derosier and Marie-Helene Cousineau) Based on the true story of 17-year-old Angelique Mott, an Anishinaabe woman abandoned along with her voyageur husband on Lake Superior’s Isle Royale during the copper rush of 1845. A harrowing tale of perseverance and the resilience. Julia Jones and Charlie Carrick star.

Edge of the Knife (SG̲aawaay Ḵ’uuna): (D: Gwaai Edenshaw and Helen Haig-Brown) A tragic accident triggers a series of events that leads to remorse and torment among members of two families. Based on a traditional Haida story of a man who is transformed to Gaagiixiid (the Wildman). Made entirely in the Haida language. Tyler York, William Russ and Adeana Young star

Falls Around Her: (D: Darlene Naponse): Tantoo Cardinal plays a famous Anishinaabe musician who returns to the Northern Ontario reserve where she grew up after years on the road with her band.

Warrior Women: (D: Christina King and Elizabeth Castle): A documentary about Lakota activist and community organizer Madonna Thunder Hawk, whose career fighting for Indigenous and women’s rights has spanned more than 50 years.

In Conversation with Smoke Signals: Director Chris Eyre and stars Evan Adams and Tantoo Cardinal discuss the award-winning 1998 film’s Indigenous filmmaking legacy. And we’re always proud to say, it had its Canadian premiere at VIFF!

VFF runs Feb. 1-10, with an expanded film slate spotlighting record number of 156 films from Canada and around the world, selected by international programmers.

Indigenous Perspective guests expected to attend the Festival:

– Gwaai Edenshaw (Edge of the knife)

– Tantoo Cardinal (Angelique’s Isle, Falls Around Her, Smoke Signals)

– Chris Eyre (Smoke Signals)

– Evan Adams (Smoke Signals)

– Michelle Derosier (Angelique’s Isle)

– Darlene Naponse (Falls Around Her)

About the Victoria Film Festival

The Victoria Film Festival is Vancouver Island’s largest and longest-running film festival, currently celebrating 25 years. The Victoria Film Festival screens more than 156 films over 10 days. Creating unique events year-round, the Festival is responsible for Feast: Food + Film, Free-B Film Festival, Art of the Cocktail, Movies Under the Maltworks and The Vic Theatre.

For more information visit: