Now in its ninth year, the Asinabka Festival supports independent artists and filmmakers—both Indigenous and non-Indigenous—to promote Indigenous cultures and languages and present their work about Indigenous issues in Canada and internationally. Asinabka provides a space where people can tell their own stories and see Indigenous cultures reflected back at them. It’s an entertaining, highly innovative program which always aims to represent the best in Indigenous film.
The film and media art festival usually takes place in August but, for obvious reasons, there was an added challenge to producing Asinabka Festival 2020. “Our call for submissions went out before the pandemic… and we actually used a lot of the time during lockdown to jury and preview films remotely,” says festival co-director Howard Adler. “But there were so many unknowns… we eventually decided to do the festival online only, and to push it to September.”
Asinabka’s 2020 selection includes more than half a dozen feature-length films and 64 short films created by artists in Canada, Australia, New Zealand, USA, Norway, France, Brazil, UK, and Greenland.
The local contingent includes filmmakers Edgar Hernandez, whose short film Heroes of Pollination features in the New Dawns program (September 17), and Shelby Lisk with Passing the Seeds and Manasie Akpaliapik, which feature in the New Dawns (September 17) and Portraits (September 20) short programs, respectively.
Opening night will be live-streamed on Asinabka Festival’s Facebook page on September 16 at 5pm. On Facebook, the festival program will also include a number of live streams and music premieres by Handsome Savages, Brad Henry Band, Anachnid, and Brian Wallin.
Each of the feature and short films will be available on demand for 24 hours starting at 7pm on the dates below.
Wednesday, September 16
Live stream: Festival Opening at 5pm
Live stream: Handsome Savages at 7pm
Feature film: Restless River by Marie-Hélène Cousineau and Madeline Ivalu | Canada | 2019 | 99 min | English, French and Inuktitut
Short docs: Restorations program featuring four short films | 60 min
Thursday, September 17
Feature film: Ophir by Alexandre Berman and Olivier Pollet | France | 2020 | 97 min | English
Short docs: New Dawns program featuring 10 short films | 83 min
Music premiere: Brad Henry Band at 7pm
Friday, September 18
Feature film: Dirt McComber: Last of the Mohicans by Ryan White and Joanne Storkan | Canada | 2018 | 52 min | English
Feature film: Rustic Oracle by Sonia Boileau | Canada | 2019 | 96 min
Sci-fi, horror, & comedy shorts: Interlopers program featuring nine short films | 68 min
Experimental shorts: Spirit Glitch program featuring nine short films | 57 min
Music premiere: Anachnid at 7pm
Saturday, September 19
Feature film: FUKRY by Blackhorse Lowe | USA | 2019 | 90 min | English
Feature film: Top End Wedding by Wayne Blair | Tiwi/French/English | Australia | 2018 | 101 min
Short Docs: Land Back program featuring five short films | 95 min
Dramatic Shorts: Flesh & Blood program featuring four short films | 55 min
Sunday, September 20
Feature film: One Day in the Life of Noah Piugattuk by Zacharias Kunuk | Canada | 2019 | 113 min | Inuktitut and English
Short docs: Revolution Moosehide program featuring three short films | 55 min
Animation and youth shorts: Meet me at the Powwow program featuring eight short films | 50 min
Short docs: Portraits program featuring nine short films | 75 min
Live stream: Brian Wallin at 7pm
The ninth Asinabka Film & Media Arts Festival runs from September 16–20, 2020. Visit asinabkafestival.org for the complete program and schedule.