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Elle-Máijá Tailfeathers’ acclaimed Kímmapiiyipitssini: The Meaning of Empathy opens in Canadian theatres starting November 5. National Film Board of Canada brings this compassionate community-based feature doc to cities across Canada.


October 25, 2021 – Vancouver – National Film Board of Canada (NFB)

Elle-Máijá Tailfeathersaward-winning feature-length documentary Kímmapiiyipitssini: The Meaning of Empathy (Seen Through Woman Productions/NFB) is screening in Canadian cinemas beginning November 5, distributed by the National Film Board of Canada.

Confirmed dates so far include Vancouver, Lethbridge, Winnipeg, Regina, Saskatoon, Edmonton, Toronto and Victoria—with more cities to be announced—as this story of radical and profound change in the Kanai First Nation comes to communities across Canada.

About the film

  • Kímmapiiyipitssini: The Meaning of Empathy is an intimate portrait of survival, love and the collective work of healing in the Kainai First Nation in Southern Alberta, a Blackfoot community facing the impacts of substance use and a drug-poisoning epidemic, where community members active in addiction and recovery, first responders and medical professionals implement harm reduction to save lives.
  • Contextualized in the historical and lived trauma of settler colonialism, Kímmapiiyipitssini draws a connecting line between the impacts of colonialism on Blackfoot land and people and the ongoing substance-use crisis. Held in love and hope for the future, Kímmapiiyipitssini asks the audience to be a part of this remarkable change with the community.
  • The film was shot over four years with a largely Indigenous crew working in close collaboration with members of the Kainai First Nation.
  • Kímmapiiyipitssini (GEE-maa-bee-bit-sin) is a Blackfoot word meaning “giving kindness to each other.”

National screening schedule


  • Emerging Canadian Filmmaker Award and Rogers Audience Award for Canadian Feature Documentary, Hot Docs 2021
  • Colin Low Award for Best Canadian Director, DOXA 2021
  • Audience Choice Award, Canadian Documentary, 2021 Calgary International Film Festival
  • Co-winner, Inspiring Voices & Perspectives Feature Film Award, Cinéfest Sudbury 2021


  • Kímmapiiyipitssini is heartbreaking but should be mandatory viewing for policy makers to understand what opioids are doing to families. I raise my hands to Elle-Máijá Tailfeathers, for being an unflinching witness to the dreams and struggles of her relatives.” – Duncan McCue, CBC Radio Host
  • “…a soaring portrait of tragedy and resilience, yes, but also a handbook for healing that those of us in the privileged classes could learn a lesson or two from.” – Lauren Wissot, Filmmaker Magazine
  • “It’s beautifully crafted, collaborative… [Tailfeathers] has become a real voice for Indigenous filmmaking.” – Hot Docs Programming Head Shane Smith, quoted by Christopher Vourlias, Variety


Kímmapiiyipitssini: The Meaning of Empathy is produced by Elle-Máijá Tailfeathers and Lori Lozinski (Seen Through Woman Productions) and NFB producer and executive producer David Christensen (North West Studio), with the participation of Telefilm Canada and the assistance of the Hot Docs CrossCurrents Canada Doc Fund.

Elle-Máijá Tailfeathers co-directed, produced and starred in The Body Remembers When the World Broke Open. Her lead roles also include Jeff Barnaby’s Blood Quantum and Danis Goulet’s Night Raiders, currently in theatres.

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Related Products

Electronic Press Kit | Images, trailer, synopses: Kímmapiiyipitssini: The Meaning of Empathy

Associated Links

Telefilm Canada
Hot Docs CrossCurrents Canada Doc Fund

French version here | Version française ici.

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.