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Aabiziingwashi (#WideAwake): NFB Indigenous Cinema on Tour launches today


Atanarjuat The Fast Runner – Atuat (Sylvia Ivalu) and her baby (Béatrice Ivalu). Photo credit: Marie-Hélène Cousineau © Igloolik Isuma Productions

May 5, 2017 – Montreal – National Film Board of Canada (NFB)

Throughout 2017, the National Film Board of Canada is offering titles from its unparalleled collection of 250 Indigenous-made films for free public screenings and special events across the country, in a tour entitled Aabiziingwashi (#WideAwake): NFB Indigenous Cinema on Tour.

Featuring stories of our land as told by First Nations, Métis, and Inuit filmmakers, Aabiziingwashi (#WideAwake) officially kicked off in Vancouver at the DOXA Documentary Film Festival, where Métis/Dene filmmaker Marie Clements’ electrifying musical documentary The Road Forward was featured as the opening night film.

“Meaning ‘wide awake’ or ‘unable to sleep’ in Anishinaabe, Aabiziingwashi uses the power of cinema as a universal language, to build new understandings and connections between Indigenous and non-Indigenous Canadians. In these films, there’s much truth to be heard, if we are ready to listen,” said Claude Joli-Coeur, NFB Chairperson.

The tour includes new titles such as the feature docs The Road Forward, Birth of a Family by Tasha Hubbard, We Can’t Make the Same Mistake Twice by Alanis Obomsawin, and Angry Inuk by Alethea Arnaquq-Baril―as well as essential NFB films like Finding Dawn by Christine Welsh, Foster Child by Gil Cardinal, and Zacharias Kunuk’s Atanarjuat the Fast Runner. Upcoming highlights include:


  • Starting May 13: TIFF Bell Lightbox will host a series of screenings this spring and summer, including Reel Injun (May 13), Foster Child (May 21 & 22), Angry Inuk (May 24), Totem: The Return of the G’psgolox Pole (July 4), Two Worlds Colliding (August 26) and Kanehsatake: 270 Years of Resistance (August 27).
  • May 23: Foster Child, Hot Docs Ted Rogers Cinema.
  • June 21: We Can’t Make the Same Mistake Twice, Toronto Centre for the Arts.
  • June 22: The Road Forward will be featured at an outdoor screening at Fort York as part of 2017 National Aboriginal Day programming.


  • May 10: a program of short animated and documentary Indigenous works at Dalhousie University.


  • May 11: We Can’t Make the Same Mistake Twice, with Alanis Obomsawin in attendance.


  • May 18: Ms. Obomsawin will also be at the Pacific Cinematheque for a screening of her landmark documentary Kanehsatake: 270 Years of Resistance.
  • June 8: The Road Forward, Djavad Mowafaghian Cinema, SFU Goldcorp Centre for the Arts.


  • June 19: Saw Gallery will present Katherena Vermette and Erika MacPherson’s Canadian Screen Award-winning short doc this river along with Caroline Monnet’s three-minute film Mobilize.

Groups interested in organizing a screening in their community can contact wideawake@nfb.ca. For a complete and up-to-date list of screenings, visit nfb.ca/wideawake.

Aabiziingwashi (#WideAwake) is being presented in collaboration with APTN, TIFF Bell Lightbox, the imagineNATIVE Film + Media Arts Festival and other partners across the country.

Advisory Committee

The NFB worked in partnership with an Indigenous advisory group to plan the Aabiziingwashi tour. This group is composed of some of the country’s leaders in Indigenous cinema: Alanis Obomsawin (Cultural Attaché, First Nations, and Producer-Director, NFB), Jesse Wente (Director of Film Programmes, TIFF Bell Lightbox), Monika Ille (Executive Director of Programming and Scheduling, APTN); Denise Bolduc (Creative Director, Producer, Programmer), Jason Ryle (Artistic Director, imagineNATIVE Film + Media Arts Festival), and Nadine St-Louis (Executive Director, Sacred Fire Productions).


Associated Links

DOXA Documentary Film Festival
TIFF Bell Lightbox
imagineNATIVE Film + Media Arts Festival

Media Relations

  • About the NFB

    Founded in 1939, the National Film Board of Canada (NFB) is a one-of-a-kind producer, co-producer and distributor of distinctive, engaging, relevant and innovative documentary and animated films. As a talent incubator, it is one of the world’s leading creative centres. The NFB has enabled Canadians to tell and hear each other’s stories for over eight decades, and its films are a reliable and accessible educational resource. The NFB is also recognized around the world for its expertise in preservation and conservation, and for its rich and vibrant collection of works, which form a pillar of Canada’s cultural heritage. To date, the NFB has produced more than 14,000 works, 6,500 of which can be streamed free of charge at nfb.ca. The NFB and its productions and co-productions have earned over 7,000 awards, including 11 Oscars and an Honorary Academy Award for overall excellence in cinema.