September Film List

National Day for Truth and Reconciliation

On September 30, honour survivors of Canada’s Residential School System, as well as those children who did not survive, and the ongoing inter-generational impact on Indigenous communities.

Indian Horse

(100 Min)

Adapted from the much-celebrated novel by the late Ojibway writer Richard Wagamese, Indian Horse is a powerful drama that delves deep into the shameful history of Canada’s Residential Schools.

The young protagonist of Wagamese’s saga – brought to the screen by a team that includes director Stephen Campanelli, screenwriter Dennis Foon and executive producer Clint Eastwood — Saul comes to know the worst of the system’s abuses after a series of family tragedies leave him in the care of authorities in Manitoba of the late 1950s.

When one of the priests – played by Michiel Huisman of Game of Thrones – recognizes Saul’s hockey talents, a potential pathway opens up before the youngster but like so many survivors of the schools, he remains haunted by the traumas of the past.

nîpawistamâsowin: We Will Stand Up

(98 Min)

On August 9, 2016, a 22-year-old Cree man named Colten Boushie was killed by a gunshot to the back of his head after entering a rural farm property in Saskatchewan with his friends. When an all-white jury acquitted the white farmer of all charges, the case received international attention and sent Colten’s family and community on a quest to fix the Canadian justice system.

Sensitively directed by Tasha Hubbard, this profoundly affecting documentary weaves a narrative encompassing the filmmaker’s own family story, the history of colonialism on the Prairies, and a vision of a future where Indigenous children can live safely on their homelands.

Nîpawistamâsowin was the opening night film at Hot Docs 2019, where it won the prize for Best Canadian Documentary.

Night Raiders

(101 Min)

A compelling and propulsive dystopian thriller grounded in an allegory for the residential school system, Night Raiders is the story of Niska (Tailfeathers), a Cree mother in an impossible situation. As she travels across a war-torn Turtle Island (North America), she is caught in a desperate attempt to save her daughter from a state-run forced re-education camp. With the world against her, Niska joins forces with a group of underground resistance fighters seeking to free their children and save their future.

Anchored by an incredible lead performance from Tailfeathers along with a stellar supporting cast, this powerful and heartfelt debut feature from Danis Goulet premiered at TIFF in 2021 and was nominated for eleven Canadian Screen Awards, winning six, including Best Original Screenplay.

Night Raiders should become the most talked-about Canadian film of the year. And for good reason.” – Barry Hertz, The Globe and Mail

Our People Will Be Healed

(97 Min)

Master documentarian Alanis Obomsawin’s 50th film reveals how a Cree community in Manitoba has been enriched through the power of education. The students at a local school for the Norway House Cree Nation discuss their aspirations for the future and reflect on the fact that they are feeling more hopeful and optimistic than previous generations.

By discussing the effects of intergenerational trauma, substance abuse and many other issues facing Indigenous communities, and by learning about their own history and culture, the students are able to undergo a process of collective healing and ensure that growing up doesn’t mean leaving one’s roots behind.

This inspiring doc shows that the strength of the community comes from the people within it, and provides a strong model for prosperity and renewal.

Our People Will Be Healed breathes with hope for the future.” – Pat Mullen, POV Magazine

Rise: The Urban Rez

(44 Min)

Winnipeg is home to the largest urban Indigenous population in the country, with a high percentage living in a low-income neighbourhood with the highest crime rate in the city. In the face of a staggering number of cases of missing Indigenous women and girls, the community has decided to take a stand, working on an individual level to support, protect and improve the lives of its residents.

Hosted by Gitz Crazyboy (Blackfoot, Dene) this documentary shows the brave fighters who have dedicated themselves to the cause and delves into the underlying factors and intergenerational trauma that has allowed this environment to develop in the first place.

The Secret Path

(60 Min)

Gord Downie began Secret Path as ten poems incited by the story of Chanie Wenjack, a twelve year-old boy who died fifty years ago on October 22, 1966, while fleeing from the Cecilia Jeffrey Indian Residential School near Kenora, Ontario, and attempting to walk home to the family he was taken from over 400 miles away. Gord discovered the story of Chanie Wenjack (miscalled “Charlie” by his teachers) by his brother Mike, who introduced him to Ian Adams’ Maclean’s story from February 6, 1967, “The Lonely Death of Charlie Wenjack.” This project is an album, an accompanying graphic novel, and also an animated film.