Indigenous and Northern stories featured in-person and online. 2023 Available Light Film Festival presenting 16 NFB works.
January 17, 2023 – Vancouver – National Film Board of Canada (NFB)
The 2023 Available Light Film Festival (ALFF) in Whitehorse is featuring 16 films by National Film Board of Canada (NFB) creators from February 9 through 19—including a powerful selection of new and classic Indigenous and Northern works.
- Ever Deadlyby Tanya Tagaq and Chelsea McMullan
90 min | 2022 | online and in-person
Ever Deadly weaves concert footage with stunning sequences filmed on location in Nunavut, seamlessly bridging landscapes, stories and songs with pain, anger and triumph—all through the expressions of avant-garde Inuit throat singer Tanya Tagaq, one of the most innovative musical performers of our time. Winner of the Audience Choice for Best Canadian Documentary Feature at the Yellowknife International Film Festival.
- Unarchivedby Hayley Gray and Elad Tzadok
84 min | 2022 | online and in-person
Gray and Tzadok explore community archives across British Columbia, where local Knowledge Keepers are hand-fashioning a more inclusive history through family photos, newspaper articles and scratchy old VHS tapes—people building connection through work, play, protest, family and tradition.
Northern feature documentary
- Voices Across the Water by Fritz Mueller
84 min | 2022 | Sagafish Media/NFB | online and in-person
This film follows two master boat builders as they practise their art and find a way back to balance and healing. For Alaskan Tlingit carver Wayne Price, fashioning a dugout canoe from a single massive red cedar tree is a way to reconnect to the Ancestral Knowledge of Indigenous craftspeople. Francophone artist Halin de Repentigny hand-makes birchbark canoes, harvesting raw materials from the Yukon forest.
Virtual reality works
- This Is Not A Ceremony by Ahnahktsipiitaa (Colin Van Loon)
21 min | 2022 | English, Blackfoot with English subtitles
Niitsitapi writer and director Ahnahktsipiitaa (Colin Van Loon) takes us beyond the veil of traditional media and transports us directly into another realm, where past, present and future are one; where colonial rules and assumptions are forgotten; and where we can finally get to the truth of the matter.
ALFF Redux—25th Anniversary presentation
- Picturing a People: George Johnston, Tlingit Photographer by Carol Geddes
1997 | 50 min | in-person only
A unique portrait of George Johnston, a photographer who was himself a creator of portraits and a keeper of his culture. Johnston cared deeply about the traditions of the Tlingit People, and he recorded a critical period in the history of the Tlingit Nation.
Short films (all presented online and in-person)
Northern and Indigenous stories
- Dancers of the Grass by Melanie Jackson
2009 | 2 min
This short film offers a stunning display of stop-motion animation, as it vividly depicts the majesty of the hoop dance. Produced through Vistas, a series of 13 short films by Indigenous filmmakers, created in collaboration with APTN. Jackson is a Métis/Saulteaux producer and director with ties to the Sakimay First Nation in Saskatchewan.
- Ignition by Doug Smarch Jr.
2009 | 3 min
This animated short evokes the experience of driving alone on an unlit rural road at night. Produced through Vistas, a series of 13 short films by Indigenous filmmakers, created in collaboration with APTN. Doug Smarch Jr. is a conceptual artist from the Teslin Inland Tlingit First Nation.
- Nowhere Land by Bonnie Ammaaq
2015 | 15 min
Named Best Short Documentary at the 2015 imagineNATIVE Film + Media Arts Festival, Nowhere Land is an elegy to Ammaaq’s past in the vast interior of Baffin Island, after her parents left the government-manufactured community of Igloolik to live off the land, as had generations of Inuit before them.
- Very Presentby Conor McNally
2020 | 6 min
How does prolonged confinement shape our experience of time? Very Present was produced as part of The Curve, featuring stories from the COVID-19 pandemic. McNally is a member of the Métis Nation of Alberta, based in Amiskwaciy (Edmonton, Alberta, Treaty 6).
- Walking Is Medicine by Alanis Obomsawin
2017 | 5 min
This short film by legendary Abenaki filmmaker Alanis Obomsawin portrays the Nishiyuu walkers: six young Cree men who decided to trek 1,600 km from Whapmagoostui, Quebec, to Ottawa, in the spirit of their ancestors.
More new and classic shorts
- 55 Socks by Co Hoedeman
2011 | 8 min
Based on a poem by Marie Jacobs, this animated short by Oscar winner Co Hoedeman pays tribute to the ingenuity of the Dutch people during the winter of hunger of 1944–45.
- By Winds and Tides by Bogdan Anifrani-Fedach
2022 | 2 min 24 s
Exploring the conscious, the unconscious and the self, this short takes a deep experimental dive into the birth of an idea—how it takes shape, how it is released. A film from the Alambic collection, a creative lab by the NFB’s French Program Animation Studio for emerging filmmakers.
- Here and the Great Elsewhere by Michèle Lemieux
2012 | 14 min
This abstract yet compelling philosophical tale uses the Alexeïeff-Parker pinscreen as a metaphor for the particles that make up the universe.
- Saturday Night by Rosana Matecki
2021 | 15 min | Spanish with English subtitles
A short documentary essay on solitude, filmed in Spanish and narrated by Matecki, Saturday Night offers a poetic and bittersweet snapshot of aging in an urban setting, viewed through the lens of dance.
- Solid Ground by Beatriz Carvalho
2022 | 2 min 50 s
Solid Ground reflects the personal experience of discovering different lands, and feeling as though one were simultaneously at home and elsewhere. A film from the Alambic collection, a creative lab by the NFB’s French Program Animation Studio for emerging filmmakers.
- Thanadoula by Robin McKenna
2020 | 6 min 38 s
Layering real-life details with an otherworldly magic, Thanadoula recounts the story of an end-of-life doula brought to her calling through the loss of her beloved sister.
– 30 –
Electronic Press Kits: By Winds and Tides | Ever Deadly | Saturday Night | Solid Ground | Thanadoula | This Is Not A Ceremony | Unarchived | Voices Across the Water
French version here | Version française ici.
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.