In-person, online featuring of 16 Indigenous, Northern films in 2023 ALFF by NFB Canada

Asha Bajaj
4 min readFeb 4, 2023


NFB. Image credit: Wikimedia Commons

CMEDIA: Creators of 16 films by National Film Board of Canada (NFB) are being featured in the 2023 Available Light Film Festival (ALFF) in Whitehorse from February 9 through 19 — including a powerful selection of new and classic Indigenous and Northern works.

Yukon premieres

Ever Deadly by Tanya Tagaq and Chelsea McMullan, winner of the Audience Choice for Best Canadian Documentary Feature at the Yellowknife International Film Festival features stories and songs with pain, anger and triumph though the expressions of Inuit throat singer Tanya Tagaq, one of the most innovative musical performers of our time filmed on location in Nunavut.

Unarchived by Hayley Gray and Elad Tzadok explore community archives across British Columbia, where local Knowledge Keepers are hand-fashioning a more inclusive history through family photos, newspaper articles and scratchy old VHS tapes — people building connection through work, play, protest, family and tradition.

Northern feature documentary

  • Voices Across the Water by Fritz Mueller follows two master boat builders as they practise their art and find a way back to balance and healing. For Alaskan Tlingit carver Wayne Price, fashioning a dugout canoe from a single massive red cedar tree is a way to reconnect to the Ancestral Knowledge of Indigenous craftspeople. Francophone artist Halin de Repentigny hand-makes birchbark canoes, harvesting raw materials from the Yukon forest.

Virtual reality works

  • This Is Not A Ceremony by Niitsitapi writer and director Ahnahktsipiitaa (Colin Van Loon) takes us beyond the veil of traditional media and transports us directly into another realm, where past, present and future are one; where colonial rules and assumptions are forgotten; and where we can finally get to the truth of the matter.
  • ALFF Redux — 25th Anniversary presentation
  • Picturing a People: George Johnston, Tlingit Photographer by Carol Geddes presents a unique portrait of George Johnston, a photographer who was himself a creator of portraits and a keeper of his culture. Johnston cared deeply about the traditions of the Tlingit People, and he recorded a critical period in the history of the Tlingit Nation.

Short films (all presented online and in-person)

Northern and Indigenous stories

  • Dancers of the Grass by Melanie Jackson, Métis/Saulteaux producer and director with ties to the Sakimay First Nation in Saskatchewan offers a stunning display of stop-motion animation, as it vividly depicts the majesty of the hoop dance. Produced through Vistas, a series of 13 short films by Indigenous filmmakers, created in collaboration with APTN.
  • Ignition by Doug Smarch Jr., a conceptual artist from the Teslin Inland Tlingit First Nation in
    this animated short evokes the experience of driving alone on an unlit rural road at night. Produced through Vistas, a series of 13 short films by Indigenous filmmakers, created in collaboration with APTN.
  • Nowhere Land by Bonnie Ammaaq is an elegy to Ammaaq’s past in the vast interior of Baffin Island, after her parents left the government-manufactured community of Igloolik to live off the land, as had generations of Inuit before them. Nowhere Land was named Best Short Documentary at the 2015 imagineNATIVE Film + Media Arts Festival
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  • Very Present by Conor McNally n produced as part of The Curve, featuring stories from the COVID-19 pandemic. McNally is a member of the Métis Nation of Alberta, based in Amiskwaciy (Edmonton, Alberta, Treaty 6).
  • Walking Is Medicine by Alanis Obomsawin portrays the Nishiyuu walkers: six young Cree men who decided to trek 1,600 km from Whapmagoostui, Quebec, to Ottawa, in the spirit of their ancestors.
  • More new and classic shorts
  • 55 Socks by Co Hoedeman is ased on a poem by Marie Jacobs, this animated short by Oscar winner Co Hoedeman pays tribute to the ingenuity of the Dutch people during the winter of hunger of 1944–45.
  • By Winds and Tides by Bogdan Anifrani-Fedach exploring the conscious, the unconscious and the self takes a deep experimental dive into the birth of an idea — how it takes shape, how it is released. A film from the Alambic collection, a creative lab by the NFB’s French Program Animation Studio for emerging filmmakers.
  • Here and the Great Elsewhere by Michèle Lemieux presents an abstract yet compelling philosophical tale uses the Alexeïeff-Parker pinscreen as a metaphor for the particles that make up the universe.
  • Saturday Night by Rosana Matecki presents short documentary essay on solitude, filmed in Spanish and narrated by Matecki, offers a poetic and bittersweet snapshot of aging in an urban setting, viewed through the lens of dance.
  • Solid Ground by Beatriz Carvalho reflects the personal experience of discovering different lands, and feeling as though one were simultaneously at home and elsewhere. A film from the Alambic collection, a creative lab by the NFB’s French Program Animation Studio for emerging filmmakers.
  • Thanadoula by Robin McKenna layering real-life details with an otherworldly magic recounts the story of an end-of-life doula brought to her calling through the loss of her beloved sister.

#ALFF; #NFB; #Canada; #IndigenousAndNorthernStories



Asha Bajaj

I write on national and international Health, Politics, Business, Education, Environment, Biodiversity, Science, First Nations, Humanitarian, gender, women