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Four National Film Board of Canada works featured at the 2021 Calgary International Film Festival. Elle-Máijá Tailfeathers’ acclaimed feature doc Kímmapiiyipitssini: The Meaning of Empathy from the Kainai First Nation in southern Alberta, as well as three new NFB shorts.


September 8, 2021 – Montreal – National Film Board of Canada (NFB)

The 2021 Calgary International Film Festival (September 23–October 3) will present a powerful story of hope and change from the Kainai First Nation in southern Alberta, as Elle-Máijá Tailfeathers’ award-winning feature documentary Kímmapiiyipitssini: The Meaning of Empathy (Seen Through Woman Productions/National Film Board of Canada) has its Alberta premiere as part of the DGC Canadian Doc Competition.

The festival is also presenting local premieres of three NFB shorts:

  • Into Light, a short doc shot in Yellowknife by West Vancouver’s Sheona McDonald, a Canadian Screen Award-winning director, writer and producer;
  • Multi-award-winning Montreal animator and illustrator Claude Cloutier’s latest short, Bad Seeds (Mauvaises herbes);
  • Evan’s Drum by Montreal-based Inuk freelance journalist Ossie Michelin, from North West River, Labrador, produced through the NFB’s Labrador Documentary Project for Inuit creators from Nunatsiavut and Labrador.

DGC Canadian Doc Competition

Kímmapiiyipitssini: The Meaning of Empathy by Elle-Máijá Tailfeathers (125 min)
Co-produced by Seen Through Woman Productions and the NFB
Press kit: mediaspace.nfb.ca/epk/kimmapiiyipitssini-the-meaning-of-empathy

A member of the Kainai First Nation and the Sámi in Norway, Tailfeathers creates an intimate portrait of her community and the impacts of the substance-use and overdose epidemic. Witness the change brought by community members with substance-use disorder, first responders and medical professionals as they strive for harm reduction in the Kainai First Nation.

Awards: Emerging Canadian Filmmaker Award and Rogers Audience Award for Canadian Feature Documentary, Hot Docs 2021; Colin Low Award for Best Canadian Director, DOXA 2021

Shorts Competition:

Into Light by Sheona McDonald (19 min)
Press kit: mediaspace.nfb.ca/epk/into-light-short-film

When a child reveals who they truly are on the inside, how does a parent set aside their own expectations to help them become their most authentic self? Set against the northern landscape of Yellowknife, Sheona McDonald’s new documentary captures a season of change as a mother and child navigate the complexities of gender identity together.

Bad Seeds (Mauvaises herbes) by Claude Cloutier (6 min 22 s)
Co-produced by L’Unité centrale and the NFB
Press kit: mediaspace.nfb.ca/epk/bad-seeds

In Bad Seeds, the veteran director of Carface deftly connects growth with rivalry and evolution with competition, crafting an increasingly shocking duel that’s peppered with allusions to the western, the Cold War, board games and much more.

Award: Prix du public de la Compétition internationale, 2021 Sommets du cinéma d’animation, Montreal

Evan’s Drum by Ossie Michelin (14 min)
Press kit: mediaspace.nfb.ca/epk/evans-drum

Ossie Michelin follows a young boy and his mother, who share a passion for Inuit drum dancing in Happy Valley–Goose Bay. After generations of silence, the rhythm of the traditional Inuit drum has returned to Labrador, and seven-year-old Evan is part of the new generation that will keep its heartbeat strong.

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Associated Links

Calgary International Film Festival
L’Unité centrale

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.