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The NFB VR experience This Is Not a Ceremony by Ahnahktsipiitaa (Colin Van Loon) now touring Canadian cities


September 27, 2022 – Toronto – National Film Board of Canada (NFB)

The virtual reality experience This Is Not a Ceremony, created by Niitsitapi writer and director Ahnahktsipiitaa (Colin Van Loon), is now touring communities and festivals across Canada, giving more people the opportunity to experience this powerful and cinematic Indigenous VR work.

A 21-minute journey available in English and French as well as Blackfoot with English subtitles, This Is Not a Ceremony allows audiences to confront some of the darker sides of living life in Canada while Indigenous, guided with care and kindness by tricksters, matriarchs and buffalo.

It’s already had its US premieres at the Sundance and Tribeca festivals and was recently presented in the Piikani First Nation in Alberta, where it was partly shot.

Now audiences in these cities can take part in This Is Not a Ceremony:


Calgary International Film Festival
September 30 through October 1
Interactive Digital Media Hub – Eau Claire Centre Court, 200 Barclay Parade SW
Free and open to the public


Signals: Presented by the Vancouver International Film Festival + DigiBC
October 1 and 2
Centre for Digital Media, 577 Great Northern Way
Free and open to the public


Panorama 360 program, FNC Explore, Festival du nouveau cinéma
October 5 through 16
PHI Centre, 315 Saint-Paul Street West
Tickets available


iNdigital Space, imagineNATIVE Film + Media Arts Festival
October 18 through 23
TIFF Bell Lightbox Gallery, 350 King Street West
Free and open to the public

Ahnahktsipiitaa will be in attendance to present a keynote session, delivered live on Wednesday, October 19, at 11:40 a.m.

About This Is Not a Ceremony 

For info on events, visit: events.nfb.ca/events/tags/this-is-not-a-ceremony
Press kit: mediaspace.nfb.ca/epk/this-is-not-a-ceremony

  • 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.
  • This Is Not a Ceremony calls on all who’ve watched to take action, to share what they have seen and heard, to learn from these tragedies and never forget—so that they will never happen again.
  • Produced by Dana Dansereau for the Animation and Interactive Studio in Vancouver in partnership with the imagineNATIVE Film + Media Arts Festival, where it was the winning submission for the 2017 NFB/imagineNATIVE Digital Project Prize.
  • Worldwide consumer release on VR stores coming December 2022.

More about the creators and participants

  • This Is Not a Ceremony features Piikani First Nation member Adam North Peigan, who was Director of the Board and Treaty 7 Rep at the Sixties Scoop Indigenous Society of Alberta; Winnipeg-based Robert Sinclair, medical system reform advocate; Vancouver-based spoken word artist Tawahum Bige; the late actor Taran (Standing Sunrise) Kootenhayoo; and late Indigenous leader Lilian Rose Howard.
  • 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

French version here | Version française ici.

Media Relations

  • About the NFB

    The National Film Board of Canada (NFB) is one of the world’s leading digital content hubs, creating groundbreaking interactive documentaries and animation, mobile content, installations and participatory experiences. NFB interactive productions and digital platforms have won over 100 awards, including 21 Webbys. To access this unique content, visit NFB.ca.