Logo image by Samaqani Cocahq / Natalie Sappier

The 2021 Skoden Indigenous Film Festival

March 26 & 27 – April 5 | Online


Get ready for 2 days packed with mesmerizing films. Skoden is a film festival which features exclusively Indigenous filmmakers and creatives coast to coast. Founded on the principles of truth and reconciliation by two SFU Film students at the School for Contemporary Arts, Carr Sappier (Wolastoqiyik) and Grace Mathisen, who created the festival in 2019.

In 2021, Skoden Indigenous Film Festival is organized as a student-led initiative and part of a class taught by Carr Sappier and Kathleen Mullen (who was involved as a Film Festival consultant and mentor since the first year).

Skoden is an Indigenous slang term that stands for ‘Let’s go then!’. And according to Carr Sappier, Skoden is emblematic of more. “Skoden represents a sense of happiness, inclusion and a space where all filmmakers can feel like they are part of something that holds them up in respect,” they say.

Beginning with a Welcome ceremony by Elder Syexwaliya, Skoden will also include Q&A sessions for all five programs.

Our team would like to acknowledge the ongoing governance of the xʷməθkʷəy̓əm (Musqueam), Skwxwú7mesh (Squamish), Səl̓ílwətaʔ/Selilwitulh (Tsleil-Waututh), and kʷikʷəƛ̓əm (Kwikwetlem), Kwantlen, q̓íc̓əy̓ (Katzie), Qayqayt, Semiahmoo and Tsawwassen Nations, on whose traditional ancestral territory since time immemorial we are privileged for housing our SFU campuses continue our education upon. Currently, there are over 200 nations in BC, and of the four nations our university is situated upon, none have signed or agreed with the BC or Canadian government about land rights.

All Films will start at a set time and be available to watch until April 5th (tickets available till April 5).

Festival tickets are on a sliding scale donation: $0, $10, $20, $30, $40, or $50. Suggested donation is $10 per program you plan to watch, but we encourage everyone to register for a free ticket if you are unable to make a financial contribution. Please note: you still need to register in order to receive a free ticket.

You will receive your link and password to the program the day of the screening.


DAY 1 – March 26th


Starts at 5:00pm – 6:30pm PST 90 minute program Q&A #1: Pre-recorded


Starts at 7:30pm – 9:00pm PST (1 hour 24 minutes) Q&A #2: Pre-recorded

Day 2 – March 27th


Starts 11:00am – 12:30pm PST (1 hour 30 minutes) Q&A #3: Starts 1:00pm PST ~ 30 minutes (LIVE)


Starts 2:00pm – 3:15pm PST (1 hour and 12 minutes) Q&A #4: Starts 3:30pm PST ~ 30 minutes (LIVE)

PROGRAM 5 (bonus program): Feature Film Shadow of Dumont

Starts 6:00pm – 7:45pm PST (1 hour 36 minutes ) Q&A #5: Pre-recorded ~ 30 minutes

SIFF 2021 Award Winners

The jury for the 2021 Skoden Indigenous Film Festival included Jesse Anthony, Dr. Eldon Yellowhorn, and Melissa Calliou.

We are excited and honoured to officially announce the 2021 Skoden Indigenous Film Festival Award Winners selected by our incredible jury! The selection process was difficult given the amount of sheer talent, and wide variety in this year’s official selections. We want to extend a heartfelt thank you to all of the talented artists and filmmakers who contributed to our festival. Your works are the essence of what the Skoden Indigenous Film Festival is, and we are grateful to be able to engage with your work.

Best Film

Daniel Janke – Homecoming Song (2020)

Honorable Mention: Jos-Onimskiw Ottawa-Dubé and Gerry Ottawa – Pitoc e icinakosian (2020)

Trickster Award

Janet Rogers – Spirit of Rage (2020)

Honorable Mention: Lindsay McIntyre – all-around junior male (2012)

Audience Award

Victoria Anderson-Gardner – Becoming Nakuset (2020)



This year's 3rd annual Skoden Festival opens with an exploration of the importance of community and healing. This program includes two short documentaries and one feature length documentary. We take you through the rematriation of a collection of heirloom seeds from the Sisters of Providence to a group of seed savers and knowledge holders from Tyendinaga Mohawk Territory, the celebration of Christmas at the very first Aboriginal Friendship Center in Canada, and the healing journeys of the community members at the Toronto-based Aboriginal Healing Program.


Rematriate: Passing the seeds

Shelby Lisk, 2019; 6 min

This short film follows the creation of the "Rematriate: Passing the seeds'' wampum belt. The Passing the Seeds wampum belt is a record of the agreement, relationship and story of the rematriation of a collection of heirloom seeds from the Sisters of Providence in Kingston to Ratinenhayén:thos, a group of seed savers and knowledge holders, from Tyendinaga Mohawk Territory.The communities are working together to respect two overlapping histories for the common goal of the continuation of our seeds, food and traditions for the next generations.

A place to belong

Lyana Patrick and Rosemary Georgeson, 2020; 4 min

A Place to Belong celebrates Christmas at the very first Friendship Center, located in East Vancouver. This short film reveals the history behind the Friendship Center movement that led to over 100 Aboriginal Friendship Centers across Canada.

Healing the Nation

Jack Major and Ernest W. Matton (Elder Little Brown Bear, Athehsa Niohkwá:rita:a), 2020; 44 min

Healing the Nation follows community members of the Toronto-based Aboriginal Healing Program as they rediscover their culture to heal from unresolved trauma. This empowering documentary dares us to think beyond mainstream medicine and embrace traditional ways for overcoming mental health and addiction issues.



In this program we explore identity with Indigenous artists as they create and reconnect with their culture through mediums such as hip- hop, tattooing, comedy, carving and experimental storytelling.


The Foundation: Indigenous Hip Hop in Canada

Diana Hellson, 2019; 10 min

Hip Hop Artists such as Drezus, Ostwelve, Hellnback, Kinnie Starr and Snotty Nose Rez Kids join Rudegang Entertainment to explore the meaning of Indigenous Hip Hop & the connections between Hip Hop and Indigenous Cultures.

Is That One Of Your Jokes

Jay Cardinal Villeneuve, 2017; 11 min

As we follow Mark Buffalo, an obscure First Nations comic trying to line up gigs in bars and cafes, we see that life for a comedian is not always funny — at least not to him.

Manasie Akpaliapik

Shelby Lisk, 2019; 2 min

Renowned Inuk artist, Manasie Akpaliapik, comes from a family of carvers in Arctic Bay, Nunavut. When he was 9-years-old, he sold his first carving to the Hudson’s Bay Company for a box of carnation milk and a toy gun. Manasie’s artwork now lives in collections like the Winnipeg Art Gallery, Ontario Art Gallery and National Art Gallery. This short film explores how Manasie shares his culture and relationship to land through his carvings.

A Golden Voice

Patrick Shannon and Jenn Strom, 2020; 6 min

An imaginative take on the origin story of one of Canada’s most iconic Haida artists, Bill Reid.

Becoming Nakuset

Victoria Anderson-Gardner, 2020; 13 min

A survivor of the Sixties Scoop, Nakuset relates the story of her perseverance through childhood abuse and struggles with identity. Her bubbi (Jewish grandmother) was a source of unconditional love, guiding her to transform her life and advocate for herself.

This Ink Runs Deep

Asia Youngman, 2019; 17 min

All across Canada, Indigenous artists are reawakening both traditional and contemporary tattoo practices as a way to reclaim their cultures and identities.

all-around junior male

Lindsay McIntyre, 2012; 8 min

A single-subject portrait of a young Nunamiut athlete practicing his sport, the most challenging of Arctic games, the one-foot high-kick.

Homecoming Song

Daniel Janke, 2020; 21 min

Homecoming Song is a poetic documentary that tells the parallel stories of two men who came home. Many years ago Kaax'achgook of the Kiks.adi clan of Southeast Alaska disappeared at sea, and was thought lost by his family and people. Three years later he returned with a song telling of his experiences. When Pete Sidney came back after being away for six years fighting in the 2nd World War, his mother Angela Sidney sang this ancient song for him.



This year’s Future Generation program showcases films by youth, films with youth, and films for youth. Our 90 minute program - featuring a collection of 8 shorts - touches on themes of family, mental health, growing up, and preserving Indigenous tradition. The program is split in two, with the first half of the program being for all ages and the second half featuring films with mature themes. A content warning will be displayed before each film in the second half.


HELI, SET ŦTE SḰÁL ȽTE (Bringing our language back to life)

Renée Sampson, 2020, 5 min

HELI, SET ŦTE SḰÁL ȽTE, which means “bringing our Language back to life”, highlights the language revitalization efforts happening in the WSANEC territory. Through prayer and song, the youth demonstrates the importance of carrying on their language and culture in their community,

Woman Dress

Thirza Cuthand, 2019, 6min

Pre-contact, a Two Spirit person named Woman Dress travels the Plains, gathering and sharing stories. Featuring archival images and dramatized re-enactments, this film shares a Cuthand family oral story, honouring and respecting Woman Dress without imposing colonial binaries on them.

Delia 9 to 5

Délia Gunn, 2018, 3min

A direct and unvarnished – yet tender and humorous – portrait of a typical day in the life of director Délia Gunn at Réservoir-Dozois while she is eight months pregnant.

Pitoc e icinakosian

Jos-Onimskiw Ottawa-Dubé and Gerry Ottawa, 2020, 6min 1sec

Gerry and their big brother Jos show us that there is more to being different than bullying, discrimination and harassment.

K’i Tah amongst the Birch

Melaw Nakehk’o, 2020, 10min

Filmmaker/activist Melaw Nakehk’o has spent the pandemic with her family at a remote land camp in the Northwest Territories, “getting wood, listening to the wind, staying warm and dry, and watching the sun move across the sky.” In documenting camp life—activities like making fish leather and scraping moose hide—she anchors the COVID experience in a specific time and place.

Part of THE CURVE, a collection of social distancing stories that bring us together.

The Lord’s Day

Simon Weizineau, Canouk Newashish, Étienne Lacelle, 2019, 6min 51sec

To get over his Sunday boredom, a young Atikamekw spends time with friends, reminiscing about his dogs.

I’m Fine

Alexander Lameboy, 2019, 5min 25sec

A day in the life of a high school student struggling with anxiety.

ʔiiḥtuup (Whale)

Tanner Zurkoski, 2020, 18min 50sec

Whale is a short film that takes place on a small rocky island reservation on the coast of western BC. The story begins when Brady, a young boy, reluctantly moves in with his grandparents after losing his father who he lives within the city. Brady struggles to find his place in this new life. His traditional Grandfather often finds himself with Brady next to him. The two butt heads as Grandfather carries out the day to day in his own way. Rooted in centuries of tradition and knowledge passed down to him, knowledge that he himself was not able to pass on to his own son before he left but is now finding its way into Brady. Brady grows an individual in this new life, accepting that he loves himself more as he becomes who he was meant to be... paralleling a traditional Nuu-Chah_nulth story of finding one's way home, Brady comes to find his in this tale.



Potpourri is a mixture of dried aromatic plants for fragrance and our fourth program is exactly this. This program features a mix of amazing works by various Indigenous filmmakers and is bound to present you with something new or to connect you to the familiar.


Red man

Diana Hellson, 2019, 5min

Sto:lo/Tahltan hip hop artist Hope explores his heritage & the stories held within his ancestral territories.

Tomorrow’s hope

Christian Ryan, 2019, 16min 37sec

A young woman haunted by self-doubt finds refuge and support through her friends, family, and culture.

Spirit of Rage

Janet Rogers, 2020, 7min 18sec

A production of video poem by 2Ro Media Jackson 2Bears and Janet Rogers, by Wes Day of Fresh Shift Productions. FIlmed on the Six Nations Reserve, July 2020, Spirit of Rage is a response to the invitation from Sâkêwêwak Artists’ Collective for the group exhibit Thinking Through Blood.

ᑭᐢᑌᓂᑕᐧᑲᓂᓂᐤ ᒪᑲᑌᐧᐃᔭᐢ ᐅᐱᒪᑎᓯᐧᐃᐣ

Bawaadan Collective / Brent Wesley, 2020, 3min 30sec

As the Cleveland Indians finally began the process of changing their name after 105 years, ᑭᐢᑌᓂᑕᐧᑲᓂᓂᐤ ᒪᑲᑌᐧᐃᔭᐢ ᐅᐱᒪᑎᓯᐧᐃᐣ explores the importance of traditions and the affects cultural confusion imposes on one’s own value and self worth, following the portrayal of BIPOC in everyday interactions and (mis)representations. This piece is about the interconnectedness of the process of dehumanizing BIPOC bodies, the systems that maintain the status quo, and the visual cues that continuously remind one that lives are not values equally.

This Bright Flash

Rylan Friday, 2019, 8min 17sec

As WWIII begins, Adam, a gay man on the verge of divorce, must make it back to his estranged lover, Craig, to reconcile and evacuate before the hydrogen bomb reaches Seattle.

The Beggar

Cameron Watts, 2020, 5min

A creative and comedic take on the concept of afterlife.


Jerry Wolf, 2020, 9min

A noonwraith haunts the nearby woods, and a 5-year-old girl takes it upon herself to perform a magic ritual to convince the spirit to move on.

Pandemic – At the End of the World

Allan Code, 2020, 13min

COVID strikes a tragically familiar chord for the Inuvialuit of the Mackenzie River Delta. In the early 19th century John Franklin and his crew infected their ancestors with deadly smallpox. Other devastating epidemics would follow. Historian Randal Pokiak returns to the ancient site of Kitigaaruk to deliver a vivid cautionary tale.

Part of THE CURVE, a collection of social distancing stories that bring us together.


Cole Forrest, 2020, 5min

Afraid he would not see his community again, Cole Forrest returns to North Bay from his current residence in Toronto. DUring his stay he confronts his fears and reconnects with his ancestors. Nbi means water and in the time of this pandemic, it is the lake, medicine, berries and the land that he looks to for guidance.

Part of THE CURVE, a collection of social distancing stories that bring us together.


PROGRAM 5 (bonus program): Feature Film Shadow of Dumont

This program, Shadow of Dumont, showcases a feature length documentary all about Métis Gabriel Dumont along with a quirky short about The Tomahawk restaurant located in North Vancouver.


The Tomahawk

Lyana Patrick, 2020, 3min 8sec

The fine line between kitsch and racism is examined in this quirky short about the Tomahawk Restaurant - the oldest family run restaurant in British Columbia.

Shadow of Dumont

Trevor Cameron, 2020, 1hour 33min

Trevor, detached from his Métis roots, and living in Toronto, pilots a campervan across North America to track the life and legacy of his childhood hero, Métis leader and his great-great-uncle, Gabriel Dumont.

Organizers, from left, Nicole Manson, Grace Mathisen, Kathleen Mullen, Noe Rodriguez, Kim Hockey, and Carr Sappier (front) during the inaugural Skoden Indigenous Film Festival. Image: SCA News.

About Skoden

Used by Indigenous communities from coast to coast to coast, Skoden is a unifying word that transcends a single language. Skoden is slang for “let's go then”. It’s an attitude and a battle cry and we’ve decided to take it to heart.

Held within the heart of xʷməθkʷəy̓əm (Musqueam), Skwxwú7mesh (Squamish), Səl̓ílwətaʔ/Selilwitulh (Tsleil-Waututh), and kʷikʷəƛ̓əm (Kwikwetlem), Kwantlen, q̓íc̓əy̓ (Katzie), Qayqayt, Semiahmoo and Tsawwassen Nations territories, Skoden Indigenous Film Festival in its third year features the works of Canadian based Indigenous filmmakers and talent. Started in 2019 by two SFU Film students at The School for Contemporary Arts, Carr Sappier (Wolastoqiyik) and Grace Mathisen, the festival was created to showcase Indigenous filmmakers and to Indigenize the SFU community. Festival-goers in 2021 will be able to attend online film programs and Q&As, celebrating Indigenous voices and cultivating more active discussions about reconciliation.

Find out more about Skoden on the festival's main page.

Presented by the SCA with the support of the Faculty of Communication, Art and Technology.


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April 05, 2021