The 6th Annual Weengushk International Film Festival (WIFF) will be taking place July 14 to 16, at the Four Directions Complex in Little Current on Manitoulin Island.
The not-for-profit, Indigenous-run independent film festival and cultural event will feature award winning and burgeoning filmmakers as well as Indigenous leaders in 57 films, five workshops, four musical performances, opening night celebrations and a gala awards event.
The theme for this year’s festival is “Youth: Celebrating their experiences, journeys and remarkable accomplishments.”
The festival events, including a 12-hour youth filmmaking program, are inspired by artistic director Shirley Cheechoo’s life's work, and dedicated to providing a safe space for youth to learn about their culture, land, language and to find their voice and share their experiences through storytelling.
"There are very few Indigenous film festivals in the world,” said Cheechoo in a release.
“WIFF was created for our films and programs to play a very important role in shaping the public's patterns of how they view Indigenous people. WIFF brings cinema to the communities and opens our people to see and hear other indigenous voices from Canada and around the world."
Film highlights from WIFF include: opening night films Bones of Crows by Marie Clements, preceded by Shirley Cheechoo's 1997 Sundance festival premiere and award-winning film, Silent Tears; special presentations of Buffy Sainte-Marie: Carry It On by Madison Thomas; Rosie by Gail Maurice; documentary feature The Beautiful Scars of Tom Wilson, by Shane Belcourt; and short films Rose by Rozann Whitebean and Michelle Derosier’s animated short, A Boy and His Loss and the stunning short documentary film from New Zealand, Mawhialeo Ote Alowaha, by Valeriya Golovina.
Other special screenings include an episode of Jennifer Podemski’s acclaimed series Little Bird, and the world premiere of Vertebrae by Travis Shilling, starring Gary Farmer and Allison Sawyer.
The three day festival includes Indigenous and diverse dramatic and documentary shorts and features from Brazil, New Zealand, US, Malaysia, The Netherlands, French Polynsia and Canada. Other highlights include: Shkozin, written and directed by Indigenous and Black emerging women filmmakers through Weengushk Film Institute’s (WFI) Women in Film Program and broadcast on Rogers, as well as two short dramatic student films produced through WFI’s Lab 1 program.
Musical performances at WIFF will feature Juno Award winner Murray Porter, seven-time Native American Music Award winner Keith Secola, internationally acclaimed flamenco guitar family Quarantined Quartet, and the all-star blues band Gary Farmer and The Troublemaker All Stars featuring Derek Miller.
WIFF will also include a culture and music exchange with visiting artists Quarantined Quartet woven throughout the festival programming. The Quarantined Quartet has appeared on The Kelly Clarkson Show, Good Morning America, NBC News, ABC, CBS, SGN and performed at Lincoln Center.
The full program is available at www.weengushkfilmfestival.ca.