SGAAWAAY K‘UUNA – Edge of the Knife
Haida Gwaii/Canada, 2018
Directors: Gwaai Edenshaw (Haida) & Helen Haig-Brown (Tsilhqot’in)

Haida with English subtitles | 100 min
Indigenous Film From BC & Beyond

Saturday, August 31 | 1 PM | SFU Woodward’s


Shot on stunning Haida Gwaii and scripted in two Haida dialects, Gwaai Edenshaw and Helen Haig-Brown’s 19th-century epic is a landmark work of cinema. When two extended families reunite at their annual summer fishing camp, conflict arises between a headstrong young man, Adiits’ii (Tyler York), and his best friend Kwa (Willy Russ), which results in a tragic accident. Wracked with grief and shame, Adiits’ii retreats into the wilderness where he’s plagued by spirits and transformed into Gaagiixiid, a ravenous supernatural being caught between worlds and consumed by an insatiable hunger. As his loved ones set out to capture and cure him, a riveting tale of survival and forgiveness unfolds. 

SGaawaay K’uuna – executive produced by the legendary Zacharias Kunuk – is unlike any you have ever seen or heard. It makes history as the first Haida-language feature film and marks the first narrative feature film for both directors. -imagineNATIVE Film + Media Arts Festival

Tyler York delivers a performance that goes from restless and raw to tragic and ferocious… [This is] a film stacked with stunning imagery, where the natural and mythical get tangled. Edge of the Knife begins by mourning for a lost future. But in telling this story it finds hope yet. -Radheyan Simonpillai, NOW Magazine

World Premiere, Toronto International Film Festival, 2018
Best BC Film Award, Best Canadian Film, VIFF Most Popular Canadian Feature, Vancouver International Film Festival, 2018

Gwaai Edenshaw is a contemporary artist, pole carver, and a jeweller. He was apprentice to master artists Guujaaw and Bill Reid. New to film, SGaawaay K’uuna – which he also wrote – is his directorial debut. 

Helen Haig-Brown is an award-winning director and a leading talent in experimental documentary. Her short film ?E?ANX (The Cave) (2009) (commissioned by imagineNATIVE) was named to Canada’s Top Ten Shorts by TIFF. My Legacy (2014), her first feature documentary, focuses on the transformation and healing of intergenerational trauma to trust and love from colonial impacts such as Residential School, smallpox and the Tsilhqot’in War.