Night Raiders to open 22nd annual imagineNATIVE festival

night raiders
Considered the largest presenter of Indigenous screen content in the world, this year's imagineNATIVE will screen more than 145 works from 51 Indigenous nations.

On the heels of its North American premiere at the Toronto International Film Festival on Sept. 11, Danis Goulet’s Night Raiders will open the 22nd annual imagineNATIVE Film + Media Arts Festival this fall.

The festival, which is coined as the largest presenter of Indigenous screen content in the world, announced its lineup for the 2021 event, which will take place in a hybrid model from Oct. 19 to 24.

This year’s imagineNATIVE will see more than 145 works screened from 51 Indigenous nations around the world, representing more than 25 Indigenous languages. The Canada Media Fund has joined the annual event as presenting partner.

The festival will kick off with an in-person opening night gala for Night Raiders (pictured), directed by Goulet (Cree/Métis), at the TIFF Bell Lightbox. The Canada/New Zealand copro, which had its world premiere at Berlinale, takes place in a dystopian future where a military-occupied North America sees children taken from their homes and into forced education camps.

The closing film for imagineNATIVE is the documentary Iwianch, el Diablo Venado (Iwianch, the Devil Deer) by José Cardoso (Achuar/Shuar), about the disappearance of an Indigenous Achuar teen in the Amazon.

Among the narrative features to screen during imagineNATIVE are coming of age drama Portraits From A Fire, directed by Trevor Mack (Tŝilhqot’in [Chilcotin]), and “magical anti-rom com” Run Woman Run, directed by Zoe Hopkins (Mohawk); both films will have their Ontario premieres at the fest.

The festival will also include the international premiere of the documentary Warrior Spirit, directed by Landon Dyksterhouse (Navajo), about Navajo UFC Champion Nicco Montano, and the Canadian premiere of Tote Abuelo, directed by María Sojob (Tzotzil), about a grandfather and granddaughter unraveling their family history. The fest will also screen Elle-Máijá Tailfeathers’ (Blackfoot/Sámi) doc Kímmapiiyipitssini: The Meaning of Empathy about the impact of substance use in the Kainai First Nation. The feature from the National Film Board of Canada (NFB) from the Emerging Canadian Filmmaker Award and Canadian Feature Documentary at Hot Docs.

Additional narrative features in the lineup are Ste. Anne, directed by Rhayne Vermette (Métis); Bootlegger, directed by Caroline Monnet (Algonquin); and an adaptation of the 1992 Patricia Grace novel Cousins, directed by Ainsley Gardiner (Te Whanau-a-Apanui/Ngati Pikiao/Ngati Awa) and Briar Grace-Smith (Nga Puhi/Te Arawa).

Among the short films to screen at imagineNATIVE this year are six projects from the NFB: the Ontario premiere of Nalujuk Night, by Inuk visual artist and throat singer Jennie Williams; Alanis Obomsawin’s Honour to Senator Murray SinclairEvan’s Drum, by Montreal-based Inuk journalist Ossie Michelin; K’i Tah Amongst the Birch, by Dehcho Dene and Melaw Nakehk’o (Denesuline); Mary Two-Axe Earley: I Am Indian Again by Courtney Montour (Mohawk); and Meneath: The Hidden Island of Ethics, by artist Terril Calder (Métis).

The imagineNATIVE Institute will also continue its Industry Days online between Oct. 20 and 23 in the support of Netflix and Crave with panels, masterclasses and networking events. The festival’s curatorial theme is Fall Camp, considered a time of “harvest, nourishment, and celebration before much-needed rest.”

Image courtesy of imagineNATIVE