Skoden Indigenous Film Festival | 2024

April 6 – 7, 2024
Djavad Mowafaghian Cinema – SFU School for the Contemporary Arts, 149 W. Hastings St. Vancouver

TICKETS: Program 1, Program 2, Program 3, Program 4, Program 5

Organized and facilitated by co-instructors Kathleen Mullen and Carr Sappier and the students of CA 389: Selected Topics in the Fine and Performing Arts, the 2024 edition of the Skoden Indigenous Film Festival (SIFF) is a two-day student-led film festival that features exclusively Indigenous filmmakers and creatives from across Canada, presented in 5 thematically different Programs, each ending with a Q&A session:

About SIFF

Founded on the principles of truth and reconciliation, Carr Sappier (Wolastoqew) and Grace Mathisen created the festival in 2019, and now we are headed towards the fifth annual Skoden Indigenous Film Festival. It’s organized and led by a class of students from all over SFU’s School for the Contemporary Arts and the Faculty of Communication, Art and Technology, and co-taught for the last three years by Carr Sappier and Kathleen Mullen.

Skoden is an Indigenous slang term that stands for ‘Let’s go then!’. 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. And for instructor Kathleen Mullen, “we are sharing experiences and knowledge through this course with humour, dialogue, and respect!”

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Presented by the SFU School for the Contemporary Arts and the Faculty of Communication, Art and Technology, with support from Stir Vancouver.

Program 1: Retracing Our Roots + Opening Ceremony
Saturday April 6, 2024 | 12:00 PM - 2:30 PM

TICKETS: Program 1

Tracing the roots of a tree is nearly impossible — as soon as they extend into the ground, they become entangled with all of those around them, thus, entering an extensive and complicated network of interconnectedness. This is the journey the films of this program embark upon: tracing both the metaphoric and literal roots to rekindle a connection to one’s culture, family members, land, and more.

Ka ici nakatamakoian (The legacy)
Cécile Niquay Ottawa, 2023; 6 minutes

In Ka ici nakatamakoian (The legacy), Cécile Niquay Ottawa, an elder from the community of Manawan, tells young Francis the history of this natural place as well as how it has been shaped by traditions. This film stresses the importance of the land as well as that of oral tradition.

Our Maternal Home
Janine Windolph, 2023; 27 minutes

Filmmaker and educator Janine Windolph ventures from Saskatchewan to Quebec with her two teens and younger sister, tracing their familial origins to the Cree First Nation of Waswanipi. Against the scenic backdrop of these Traditional Lands, Elders offer newfound interdependence and hands-on learning, transforming this humble visit into a sensory-filled expression of reclamation and resilience. Our Maternal Home lovingly establishes a heart-centred form of resistance, one necessary to confront and heal from the generational impacts of cultural disconnection.

Michif French: A Language of Our Own
Matthew Shoup, 2022; 6 minutes

Métis youth filmmaker Matthew Shoup explores Métis identity and history through interviews with elders and teachers with a focus on the endangered language of Michif French. By examining the childhoods, histories, and spoken languages of these elders, Michif French: A Language of Our Own familiarises its audience with Michif French and its history.

Ajjigiingiluktaaqtugut (We Are All Different)
Lindsay McIntyre, 2021; 17 minutes

Ajjigiingiluktaaqtugut confronts us with the reality that no single or compounded national, ethnic, or cultural label is ever intricate enough to fully describe the individual and communal experience within it. Filmmaker Lindsay McIntyre, through the use of analog footage, stop-motion animation and voice-over narration, crafts a quietly unsettling experience.

Hebron Relocation
Holly Andersen, 2023; 13 minutes

Filmmaker Holly Andersen of Makkovik, Nunatsiavut, has always known that the house she lives in contains echoes of the forced displacement of the northern Labrador Inuit. In Hebron Relocation, Andersen explores what makes a place home as she speaks with friends and family about the impact of this relocation.

pî-kiwîk (come home)
Keisha Erwin, 2023; 10 minutes

In pî-kiwîk (come home), filmmaker Keisha Erwin, a mixed urban Indigenous person, delves into the complexities of reconnecting with their Cree heritage after generations of disconnection. This poetic short film captures the resilience of Indigenous communities and the possibility of reconnection amidst intergenerational trauma, offering a heartfelt invitation to return home.

Our Grandmother: The Inlet
Jaime Leigh (Demetra) Gianopoulos & Kayah George, 2023; 9 minutes

A short poetic documentary featuring Kayah George and her grandmother Ta7a, which illustrates the hardship of industry dominance on the mental health of Indigenous youth. It also captures the spirit of gentle reclamation and love between them as well as their connection to culture, water, and land as kin and relatives.

*Content Warning: Profanity

Program 2: Sea to Sky
Saturday April 6, 2024 | 3:30 PM - 5:20 PM

TICKETS: Program 2

From political trances to the political trenches, the films of the Sea to Sky program create an intricate portrait of nature from diverse Indigenous perspectives.These films serve as reminders that our environment, with all its life and resources, is something to admire contemplatively, to defend actively, and to respect with reverence.

Aski, the mother of all
Amélie Courtois, 2023; 4 minutes

Trunks, streams, fruits, flowers, moss, and leaves are all brimming with primitive vitality, are all parts of Earth, the mother to us all. This film captures these small details which, combined with poetic narration, form a tribute to the colourful and soft essence of nature.

Keepers of the Land
Deirdre Leowinata & Douglas Neasloss, 2023; 28 minutes

Keepers of the Land weaves together the stories of activists young and old, all from the Kitasoo Xai’xais Nation, all dedicated to reclaiming their land after hundreds of years of colonial exploitation. The film combines traditional stories and songs, interviews, and breathtaking natural history from the Kitasoo Xai’xais territory, crafting a holistic picture of what is possible under continuous indigenous stewardship of their territorial lands and waters.

Nipi utaiamun (The voice of water)
Uapukun Mestokosho McKenzie, 2023; 5 minutes

Nipi utaiamun (The voice of water) is an intimate poem dedicated to water, the body that runs until it embraces another, that lets us float and swim, that washes us, and that reflects our image back onto ourselves. Our relationship with water runs deep, flowing between generations as it holds us tenderly and tells us its story.

Métis Knowledge and Climate Change
Chris Gaudry, 2023; 12 minutes

This film portrays the deep connection which Métis people have to their land, as well as the damage which has been done to that land through climate change. It goes on to document the strategies, including renewable projects and land-based education to Indigenous Protected and Conserved Areas (IPCAs), through which Métis people are leading the way on climate action.

On The Land - Ice Fishing
Alysha Johnny Hawkins, 2023; 4 minutes

This film is presented with a brisk pace and photos of daily life. Focused on family, the narrator documents ice fishing as a traditional activity that teaches patience and being in tune with the land year-round, ultimately bringing Indigenous families closely together.

Ozigwan (Tail of Serpent)
Cole Forrest, 2023; 8 minutes

Sometimes, old legends aren’t as fictional as they seem to be. Grandmother and grandson as representatives of two generations must learn this the hard way when their seemingly harmless fishing trip opens the gate for a world of monsters.

W8linaktegw ta niona (The River and Us)
Myriam Landry, 2022; 7 minutes

In W8linaktegw ta niona (The River and Us), filmmaker Miriam Landry explores the importance of the W8linaktegw River (Bécancour River) to her family and her nation through her memories and the stories of her father. The film also bears witness to this river and the way it has been transformed over the generations.

Ni Wapiten (I see)
Noémie Echaquan & Julie Ottawa, 2023; 3 minutes

The youth narrator of Ni Wapiten (I see) brings audiences on a journey from the woods to a local dump, where discarded materials are playfully transformed into a symbol of nature's resilience: a bear. This poetic film urges for a deeper reverence for Mother Earth, showcasing the beauty of reusing waste and reconnecting with the natural world.

lii bufloo aen loo kishkishiw
Dianne Ouellette, 2022; 5 minutes

Faded layers of past and present are compiled atop one another in lii bufloo aen loo kishkishiw, connecting images of wolves and buffalo in memory of their interconnected relationship disrupted by the exhaustive hunting conducted by Wolfers. This experimental film navigates the “foreignness” of memories held in Indigenous bodies disconnected from their land, culture, and language, inviting audiences into the dream-like state of memory itself.

Program 3: Stronger Together
Saturday April 6, 2024 | 6:00 PM - 8:15 PM

TICKETS: Program 3

The colonization of Turtle Island was accompanied by violent acts of assimilation and genocide that sought to separate Indigenous peoples from their family, communities, and culture. The films of this program aim to shine a light on the impact giving people a platform to tell their personal experiences with the Residential School system, hoping to heal the deep wounds they inflicted. Stronger Together tackles the crucial conversation of what reconciliation entails, and how we might restore the balance of having profound empathy, consideration, and respect for all. This program ends with a Q&A with filmmaker Jules Arita Koostachin (WaaPake (Tomorrow)), hosted by CA 389 student Felix.


March with Arch
Toby Mak, 2023; 5 minutes

This film tells the story of Archie Chantyman of Lhloos'kuz Dene Nation, who takes on a 17-day, 320-kilometre voyage on foot back to the Residential School that shaped and scared the lives of so many. Arch hopes to commemorate the spirit of his uncle on this journey of healing and hope, aiming to foster a spirit of solidarity among all victims of Residential Schools and Indigenous peoples.

*Content Warning: Discussion of Residential Schools

WaaPake (Tomorrow)
Jules Arita Koostachin, 2023; 1 hour 20 minutes

Filmmaker Jules Arita Koostachin follows the marks that the brutal regime left in her family by letting them speak their truth and eventually overcome the spectres of the past. WaaPake (Tomorrow) is a powerful plea for facing one’s own traumas and finding reconciliation in unity and community.

*Content Warning: Discussion of Residential Schools

Program 4: Planting the Seed
Sunday April 7, 2024 | 1:00 PM - 2:45 PM

TICKETS: Program 4

When planting a seed, we often think of a new beginning. An opportunity to grow and develop new experiences both on our own and with loved ones that we find along the way. With the powerful storytelling and traditional practices found in these films, this program hopes to inspire youth to find meaning within themselves and value their unique experiences with bright colours, creativity, and Indigenous pride. This program ends with a Q&A with filmmaker Brent Beauchamp (Follow), hosted by CA 389 students Morgan and Leo.

Spirit Bear: Honouring Memories, Planting Dreams
Amanda Strong, 2022; 22 minutes

In this lighthearted animation, Spirit Bear ventures with his new friends as they educate him on the Calls to Action by the Truth and Reconciliation Commission (TRC). In commemoration of Residential School survivors, they plant paper hearts on wood stakes as the TRC works hard to ensure equality for our future generations of First Nations, Métis, and Inuit children.

*Content Warning: Discussion of Residential Schools

My Girl
Megan Shott, 2022; 6 minutes

My Girl follows a young woman as she explores a dreamlike woodsy landscape, eventually coming upon a letter that guides her to an ancestral message. This beautiful short reflects the importance of intergenerational storytelling and sharing.

Abaznoda (basket)
Charlotte Gauthier-Nolett, 2023; 10 minutes

The art of basketry connects Charlotte, a young Abenaki, with her ancestors and her family’s cultural heritage. With each step – from cutting down a tree to braiding its wooden strips – she unites with the legacy that was passed down to her.

Brent Owen Beauchamp, 2023; 3 minutes

Nimkii, a young child, follows a mysterious blue butterfly into the depths of the forest, where he finds himself transported to a realm beyond our own. Featuring stunning 2D animation and rich character design, Follow is a mesmerising adventure that celebrates Indigenous storytelling and the power of imagination.

To a proud generation
Cheyenne Flamand & Jimmy Clary, 2023; 6 minutes

This documentary follows a family from Manawan and Opitciwan working to break a cycle of violence and substance use. It is through their stories and performance of traditional song and dance with their children that they share their pride in being Indigenous with us.

*Content Warning: Discussion of Alcohol Use

Starlight Sojourn
Chantal Rousseau & Darcy Tara McDiarmid, 2023; 4 minutes

Starlight Sojourn takes us on a cosmic journey through a dreamlike landscape of Yukon wildlife. Combining watercolour, acrylic and digital animation with an immersive ambient soundtrack, this film embeds audiences in the sensorial qualities of the natural landscapes of Yukon territories.

La chasse aux grenouilles de la rue Wemotaci
Samélia Newashish Dubé, 2023; 4 minutes

This film is about appreciating the little things in the most literal sense. Following thirteen-year-old Sami, La chasse aux grenouilles de la rue Wemotaci invites us to both look thoughtfully at the frogs, garter snakes, and minnows that live on the boundaries between land and water and take up pastimes that help reconnect us with these neighbouring beings.

Ritchie Hemphill & Ryan Haché, 2023; 16 minutes

In this film, ‘Nakwaxda’xw Elder Colleen Hemphill, while sitting in her living room, reflects on a series of incidents from her childhood living in a float house in the Pacific Northwest. Told through wonderfully intimate cinematography and stop-motion animation, Tiny reflects the deep value of storytelling, the specific nature of its memories conversely evoking universal themes of nostalgia and family.

*Content Warning: Depictions of Injury

Program 5: All My Affections
Sunday April 7, 2024 | 3:30 PM – 6:05 PM

TICKETS: Program 5

Adapted from the phrase “All My Relations” used by many Indigenous peoples across Turtle Island, this program seeks to explore the interconnectedness of diverse emotions and experiences that affect all Indigenous lives. Digging deep into ongoing histories of violence and uplifting acts of resilience, these films showcase multifaceted representations of what it means to be Indigenous and refuse attempts at reduction. May we hold our traumas, our fears, our joys, our humour, our teachings, and more together within ourselves to heal our bodies, communities, and land. This program ends with a Q&A with filmmakers Tokala Tatum (They’re Not Here) and Jay Cardinal Villeneuve (Buffalo Testicles for the Soul), hosted by CA 389 students Tadeo and Natalie.

NIGIQTUQ ᓂᒋᖅᑐᖅ (The South Wind)
Lindsay McIntyre, 2023; 17 minutes

The tender and uncanny NIGIQTUQ ᓂᒋᖅᑐᖅ (The South Wind) encompasses the perplexingly opposite yet closely entwined emotions that are reflected in the All My Affections program. It provides a thematic, emotional, and temporal compass for the rest of the program, placing us in a time where relative peace and absolute love were brutally stolen.

*Content Warning: Discussion of Residential Schools

Bruce Thomas Miller, 2022; 13 minutes

After Joseph is released from jail, he faces inner demons that stand in the way of true freedom. Powerfully and dramatically told, Conviction explores issues including post-traumatic stress disorder and racial disparities in incarceration while still offering hope for the future.

*Content Warning: Profanity

Buffalo Testicles for the Soul
Jay Cardinal Villeneuve, 2023; 24 minutes

Disgraced comedian Mark Buffalo is tailed by a camera crew simultaneously held hostage and abandoned by his absurd antics as they try to paint a picture of the tortured artist emerging from hiding. Meandering throughout East Vancouver and down Hastings Street, the crew follows Buffalo through a series of hilarious side quests on the way to his first comeback show, truly adopting the “Skoden!” mindset.

*Content Warning: Profanity, Partial Nudity, Alcohol Use

Asha Bear, 2023; 10 minutes

After the community's oral story night, a young Indigenous boy, Johnny, encounters the mischievous Kiwolatomuhsis, or the Little People. When the Kiwolatomuhsis follow him home, he is forced to seek help from his brother and a local elder to learn how to put an end to their torment.

They're Not Here
Tokala Tatum, 2024; 8 minutes

During an unwanted sleepover on their reservation, two cousins must overcome their real-world problems to survive the night and the creature that hunts them.

*Content Warning: Profanity, Alcohol Use, Firearm Use

Silent Cries (Kiayunik Tuhanak)
Navalik Tologanak, 2023; 17 minutes

The papal recognition of and apology for the atrocities committed during the operation of Residential Schools was a terribly insufficient yet necessary gesture in laying a path toward reconciliation. In Silent Cries (Kiayunik Tuhanak), Navalik Tologanak takes us on her journey to follow the series of hearings as she interlaces her own experience to add to the documentary a powerful personal poignancy.

*Content Warning: Discussion of Residential Schools

Miss Campbell: Inuk Teacher
Heather Campbell, 2023; 15 minutes

By combining beautiful watercolour animations of animals with real-life footage, filmmaker Heather Campbell pays tribute to her grandmother Evelyn – known in her community as Miss Campbell. Miss Campbell promoted the unmeasurable value of education and was a force of nature in her goal of an Inuk-led educational system.

*Content Warning: Discussion of Residential Schools

Closing & Award Ceremonies
Sunday April 7, 2024 | 6:20 PM - 7:25 PM

Please join us for the Witnessing and Closing Ceremonies and the presentation of awards.  

Meet our Awards Jury


Akira Iahtail is a film programmer and filmmaker from amiskwaciwâskahikan, also known as Edmonton, Alberta. She is plains Cree on her mother’s side and Swampy Cree on her father’s side, registered with Attawapiskat First Nation located in Treaty 9 territory. She is currently a student at Simon Fraser University, majoring in Indigenous Studies and minoring in Cinema Studies. Previously, she has worked with the Skoden Indigenous Film Festival in guest services, programming, and as the student intern in 2022. She has worked as a programmer with the Vancouver Latin American Film Festival and she currently programs the Our Stories to Tell series at The Cinematheque.


Kimberley John is an Indigenous Student Coordinator at Simon Fraser University. She is a member of the shíshálh Nation and grew up on the traditional unceded territory of the Kwantlen and Stó:lō peoples. Kimberley graduated with a BA in Indigenous Studies and Health Sciences from SFU.

Noé Rodriguez

Using analog film, digital imaging, field recordings and prepared instruments, Noé Rodriguez’s work ponders upon the lyrical qualities of the real and responds to the material and temporal traces of collective life in the terraformed landscape.

Faculty in the SCA's Film Area, Noé Rodríguez is a filmmaker and educator living in the unceded traditional territories of the Coast Salish peoples of the xwməθkwəy̓əm (Musqueam), Skwxwú7mesh (Squamish), and Səl̓ílwətaɬ (Tsleil-Waututh) Nations.

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Our team would like to acknowledge the ongoing governance of the xʷməθkʷəy̓əm (Musqueam), Skwxwú7mesh (Squamish), Səl̓ílwətaʔ/Selilwitulh (Tsleil-Waututh), kʷikʷəƛ̓əm (Kwikwetlem), Kwantlen, q̓íc̓əy̓ (Katzie), Qayqayt, Semiahmoo, and Tsawwassen peoples on whose traditional ancestral territories we are privileged to be housing our SFU campuses. Currently, there are over two hundred Nations in British Columbia (BC), and of the four Nations on whose lands our university is situated, none have signed nor agreed with the BC or Canadian governments regarding land rights.

April 01, 2023