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Four world premieres, special feature presentations and more at the 20th imagineNATIVE Film + Media Arts Festival. New Indigenous animation and documentary join a rediscovered classic from the past.


October 2, 2019 – Toronto – National Film Board of Canada

World premieres and special presentations are part of a powerful selection of nine Indigenous documentary and animated works at the 20th imagineNATIVE Film + Media Arts Festival, taking place October 22–29, 2019, in Toronto.

Three Hothouse animation premieres

Synopsis, biographies, images: mediaspace.nfb.ca/hothouse12

The National Film Board of Canada’s Hothouse program for emerging animators has helped kick-start the careers of a new generation of acclaimed Canadian animators. For its 12th edition, the NFB has teamed up with imagineNATIVE and associate producers Amanda Strong and Amanda Roy to help address underrepresentation of Indigenous creators in film animation.

XO Rad Magical (2 min.), directed by Christopher Gilbert Grant
October 24 at 10 a.m. | Tribulations | TIFF Bell Lightbox 2

XO Rad Magical is a personal lyrical poem about the daily struggle of living with schizophrenia. This psychedelic and hypnotic film shows that there is beauty in the brains of those who are at war with themselves.

The Fake Calendar (2 min.), directed by Meky Ottawa
October 24 at 3:45 p.m. | Indig Love Stories | TIFF Bell Lightbox 1

A neon glimpse into a personal world within an urban landscape. From FOMO to JOMO, The Fake Calendar is an artist’s expression of how people come up with interesting and creative ways to avoid social functions in favour of their own private space.

Collector (2 min.), directed by Kassia Ward
October 26 at 1:15 p.m. | Precipice | TIFF Bell Lightbox 3

A pair of unlikely travellers encounter a young man on the highway who seems to have forgotten that he can be seen. Collector explores the concept of semi-private spaces and how we act when we forget that we might be being watched.

Hothouse is produced by Maral Mohammadian and Jelena Popović, and executive-produced by Michael Fukushima.

World premiere of Freedom Road: Youth/Oshkaadiziig
October 26 at 1:15 p.m. | Precipice | TIFF Bell Lightbox 3
Synopsis, biographies, images: mediaspace.nfb.ca/freedom-road

Shoal Lake 40 youth share what it’s like to be forced to live away from their close-knit families and community to attend high school in Kenora, Ontario, while some of the young men are able to work on the construction of the road—a rare opportunity to have a good job in the community. Freedom Road is a five-part documentary series that tells the story of Shoal Lake 40 Anishinaabe First Nation’s battle to build a road, after their community was forcibly relocated over 100 years ago.

Two feature-length special presentations

nîpawistamâsowin: We Will Stand Up (Downstream Documentary Productions/NFB in association with CBC DOCS and APTN) (98 min.), directed by Tasha Hubbard
October 25 at 1 p.m. | TIFF Bell Lightbox 2 | Followed by a moderated conversation featuring Tasha Hubbard and members of Colten Boushie’s family.

Synopsis, biographies, images: mediaspace.nfb.ca/we-will-stand-up

On August 9, 2016, a young Cree man named Colten Boushie died from a gunshot to the back of his head after entering Gerald Stanley’s rural property with his friends. The jury’s subsequent acquittal of Stanley captured international attention, raising questions about racism embedded within Canada’s legal system and propelling Colten’s family to national and international stages in their pursuit of justice.

Jordan River Anderson, The Messenger (66 min.), directed by Alanis Obomsawin
October 26 at 4 p.m. | TIFF Bell Lightbox 1
Synopsis, biographies, images: mediaspace.nfb.ca/jordan

Inspired by the short life of Jordan River Anderson, this 53rd film by legendary filmmaker Alanis Obomsawin recounts Indigenous communities’ struggle for the right of their children to receive the same standard of social, health and educational services as other Canadians.

Short NFB documentaries in Imprint

October 24 at 5:30 p.m. | Imprint | TIFF Bell Lightbox 3
(5 min.), directed by Alexandra Lazarowich

Synopsis, biographies, images: mediaspace.nfb.ca/five-feminist-minutes

Filmed on location in Joussard, Alberta, Alexandra Lazarowich’s Lake riffs off classic vérité cinema to craft a contemporary portrait of Métis women net-fishing. The film is inspired by the 1990 NFB short Minqon Minqon: Wosqotomn Elsonwagon (Shirley Bear: Reclaiming the Balance of Power), Catherine Martin’s look at Wolastoqiyik/Malecite artist Shirley Bear.

Now Is the Time (16 min.), directed by Christopher Auchter
Synopsis, biographies, images: mediaspace.nfb.ca/now-is-the-time

When internationally renowned Haida carver Robert Davidson was only 22 years old, he carved the first new totem pole on British Columbia’s Haida Gwaii in almost a century. On the 50th anniversary of the pole’s raising, Haida filmmaker Christopher Auchter steps through history to revisit the day that would signal the rebirth of the Haida spirit.

A rediscovered Indigenous classic

October 25 at 4:30 p.m. | Talkback | Bachir/Yerex Presentation Space
Loon Lake (23 min.), directed by the Indian Film Crew

A short film about the Nehiyaw people of the Loon River Cree Nation, Loon Lake was first released in 1969, a time when their status on their ancestral lands in northern Alberta was being called into question. It is the work of the Indian Film Crew, Canada’s first all-Indigenous production unit, formed within the framework of the NFB’s historic community film initiative, Challenge for Change.


Related Products

Electronic Press Kit | Images, trailers, synopses:  Five Feminist Minutes – Lake | Freedom Road | Hothouse – XO Rad Magical | Hothouse – The Fake Calendar | Hothouse – Collector | nîpawistamâsowin: We Will Stand Up | Jordan River Anderson, The Messenger | Now Is the Time

Associated Links

imagineNATIVE Film + Media Arts Festival
Downstream Documentary Productions

Media Relations

  • About the NFB

    The NFB is Canada’s public producer and distributor of award-winning documentaries, auteur animation, interactive stories and participatory experiences, working with talented creators across the country. The NFB is taking action to combat systemic racism and become a more open and diverse organization, while working to strengthen Indigenous-led production and gender equity in film and digital media. NFB productions have won more than 7,000 awards, including 12 Oscars. To access this unique content, visit NFB.ca.