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Four Indigenous works from the NFB featured at the imagineNATIVE Film + Media Arts Festival. This year’s festival offers a diverse selection of NFB documentary, animation and VR creation.


September 20, 2022 – Toronto – National Film Board of Canada (NFB)

Audiences at the 2022 imagineNATIVE Film + Media Arts Festival will experience powerful and timely Indigenous storytelling across all genres, with four National Film Board of Canada (NFB) produced or co-produced works selected.

This year’s festival takes place in person in Toronto from October 18 to 23, followed by six days of online programming from October 24 to 30, geo-restricted to Canada.

imagineNATIVE will present two short documentaries: Bill Reid Remembers by legendary Abenaki filmmaker Alanis Obomsawin and Heartbeat of a Nation by Chipewyan Prairie Dene First Nation director and artist Eric Janvier, a past award winner at imagineNATIVE.

Inuit animation excellence is also being featured, with the award-winning Taqqut Productions /  NFB co-produced animated short Arctic Song by Germaine Arnattaujuq (Arnaktauyok).

Niitsitapi (Blackfoot) and Dutch creator Ahnahktsipiitaa (Colin Van Loon) will take First Nations storytelling into the virtual realm with the stunning cinematic VR work This Is Not a Ceremony, which was the winning submission of the 2017 NFB/imagineNATIVE Digital Project Prize. He will also be in attendance to present a keynote session, delivered live in the iNDigital Space at the TIFF Bell Lightbox Gallery on Wednesday, October 19, at 11:40 a.m.

NFB selection at imagineNATIVE

Bill Reid Remembers by Alanis Obomsawin (24 min)
Produced by Alanis Obomsawin for the Quebec and Atlantic Studio in Montreal
Press kit: mediaspace.nfb.ca/epk/bill-reid-remembers

  • Despite spending his early life away from his nation’s culture, renowned Haida artist and long-time Vancouver resident Bill Reid always kept Haida Gwaii close to his heart. While working for CBC Radio, he started learning how to make jewelry, then later sculpture, using Haida techniques and images, a move that would forever change his life and the Canadian artistic landscape.
  • Reid’s powerful narration in the film—recorded by Obomsawin in 1987 and never released until now—is interspersed with her own reflections as Reid recounts his complex childhood, his emergence as an accomplished artist, and his profound connection to his homeland. Decades after his passing, Reid remains an enduring force and one of Canada’s greatest artists, in this beautiful tribute from Obomsawin to her friend’s remarkable life and rich legacy.
  • A member of the Abenaki Nation and one of Canada’s most distinguished filmmakers, Alanis Obomsawin is a director and producer at the NFB, where she has worked since 1967. Bill Reid Remembers is her 54th film in a legendary career spanning 55 years.

Ontario premiere

Heartbeat of a Nation by Eric Janvier (20 min)
Produced by Coty Savard for the North West Studio in Edmonton
Press kit: mediaspace.nfb.ca/epk/heartbeat-of-a-nation

  • Heartbeat of a Nationcelebrates the healing of a community and a nation through the reclamation and passing down of traditional teachings within a Dene family.
  • In director Eric Janvier’s Northern Alberta community, a father teaches his child how to create a caribou drum. In Heartbeat of a Nation, cultural reclamation and traditional knowledge are celebrated and passed down from one generation to the next, inspiring renewed hope for the future.
  • Eric Janvier is a multi-hyphenate Chipewyan Prairie Dene First Nation filmmaker who has found space in both the narrative and documentary fields. Eric produced the short film God’s Acre, which won best Canadian short at imagineNATIVE 2016, and recently produced the upcoming indie feature film Hey Viktor!

Toronto premiere

Arctic Song by Germaine Arnattaujuq (Arnaktauyok), Neil Christopher and Louise Flaherty (Taqqut Productions/NFB; 6 min 25 s)
Produced by Neil Christopher and Nadia Mike (Taqqut Productions) / David Christensen and Alicia Smith (NFB)
Press kit: mediaspace.nfb.ca/epk/arctic-song

  • Inuit artist, storyteller and co-director Germaine Arnattaujuq (Arnaktauyok) depicts Inuit creation stories in all their glory. Arctic Song tells stories of how the land, sea and sky came to be in beautifully rendered animation. Telling traditional Inuit tales from the Iglulik region of Nunavut through song, the film revitalizes ancient knowledge and shares it with future generations.
  • Arctic Song was named Best Animated Film at the 2022 Nunavut International Film Festival and Best Canadian Short Film at the 2022 International First Peoples Festival in Montreal.
  • Arnaktauyok is an Inuit artist, writer and illustrator from Iglulik, Nunavut, best known for her prints and etchings depicting Inuit myths, traditional ways of life and feminist narratives.
  • In 2012, Neil Christopher and Louise Flaherty worked with local Elders to develop the animated film Amaqqut Nunaat: The Country of Wolves, based on a traditional story. The success of that film prompted Neil and Louise to start the film company Taqqut Productions with their publishing colleague, Danny Christopher.

Ontario premiere

This Is Not a Ceremony by Ahnahktsipiitaa (Colin Van Loon) (21 min)
English, Blackfoot with English subtitles
Produced by Dana Dansereau for the Animation and Interactive Studio in Vancouver in partnership with the imagineNATIVE Film + Media Arts Festival
Press kit: mediaspace.nfb.ca/epk/this-is-not-a-ceremony

  • You’re invited to witness an unforgettable cinematic VR experience, guided with care and kindness by tricksters, matriarchs and buffalo as you confront some of the darker sides of living life in Canada while Indigenous.
  • This VR work had its US premieres in 2022 at the Sundance Film Festival’s New Frontier program and the Tribeca Festival’s Immersive program.
  • This Is Not a Ceremony features art direction by Toronto-based Cree visual artist and art director James Monkman, as well as music and sound design by Nagamo Publishing, an Indigenous music publisher in Toronto.
  • Ahnahktsipiitaa (Colin Van Loon) is Niitsitapi (Blackfoot) and Dutch, originally from the Piikani Nation in Southern Alberta. He currently lives on Westbank First Nation lands in West Kelowna, British Columbia.

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Associated Links

imagineNATIVE Film + Media Arts Festival
Taqqut Productions

French version here | Version française ici.

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. Since 1968, the NFB has produced over 300 works by First Nations, Métis and Inuit filmmakers—an unparalleled collection that pushes past dominant narratives and provides Indigenous perspectives to Canadian and global audiences. The NFB is implementing an action plan with commitments that include devoting a minimum of 15 percent of overall production spending to Indigenous-led productions and making these works more accessible via Indigenous Cinema, a destination on NFB.ca.