Sgaawaay K'uuna (Edge of the Knife), video still, 2018.

Screening and Discussion: Sgaawaay K'uuna (Edge of the Knife)

Sunday, January 26, 6pm
Djavad Mowafaghian Cinema
149 West Hastings Street, Vancouver

This screening of Sgaawaay K'uuna (Edge of the Knife) (2018) will be followed by a conversation with Gwaai Edenshaw (co-director and writer) and Jaalen Edenshaw (writer), moderated by SFU professor Judy Radul.

Sgaawaay K'uuna (Edge of the Knife) is a feature-length Haida-language film about pride, tragedy and penance, co-directed by Gwaai Edenshaw and Helen Haig-Brown. Adiits'ii, the lead character in the film, is mentally and physically pushed to the brink of survival and becomes Gaagiixiid / Gaagiid — the Haida Wildman. The Gaagiixiid is one of Haida's most popular stories, sustained over the years through song and performance. 

With less than 1% of Haida people being fluent in their ancestral language, Sgaawaay K'uuna (Edge of the Knife) was envisioned to support the Haida language, create local employment and promote Haida culture by bringing an ancient Haida story into a new space using the medium of film.

The creation of Sgaawaay K'uuna (Edge of the Knife) required a community-led collaborative effort. It was inspired by Isuma's community-based filmmaking model for Indigenous-language media production. In consultation with local elders, language and script workshops for participants of all ages were essential to the process, with a predominantly Haida cast and crew working on the production.

By promoting Indigenous-language filmmaking and retaining community control over production, ownership and distribution, Sgaawaay K'uuna (Edge of the Knife) offers a unique example of the power of using contemporary media to strengthen and protect Indigenous language, culture and community connections. The film is the result of a unique 4-year collaboration between the Council of The Haida Nation, Skidegate Band Council, Old Massett Village Council, the University of British Columbia, and Isuma Distribution International with Zacharias Kunuk as executive producer and mentor. 

This event is co-presented by SFU Galleries, SFU’s Vancity Office of Community Engagement, SFU's School for Contemporary Arts and The Audain Visual Artist in Residence Program.