Indigeneity, Women & Resilience

Curated by Sonia Medel and Sarah Shamash

This year is not business as usual. For us, this VLAFF is not curation as usual. This abbreviated program of Indigenous Film from BC & Beyond is one through which we communicate our dedication to Indigenous and racialized women (a struggle we also situate ourselves within). We express a commitment to the resilient and brave ways in which Indigenous girls, women, and matriarchs are leading a way forward. In this time of pandemics and rebellions, we meditated on the question: for whom is the world being saved and who are the beings actually doing the transformative work? We watch billionaires profit off economic, humanitarian, and ecological crises through intentional genocide. The Amazon rainforest burns. The murder and disappearance of Indigenous women (MMIWG) continues. We witness patriarchy and white supremacy attempt to silence women’s voices. With this program we honour women warriors, their narratives, and their power to reimagine worlds across Turtle Island and Abya Yala.

For this pandemic edition of VLAFF, we have decided to format things differently as we bear in mind the safety of our primary audience members. During the festival dates (Aug 27 – Sept 6), our program will include online screenings of a limited selection of shorts and feature films meditating on Indigeneity, Women & Resilience.

We remain committed to presenting a more expansive shorts program in theatres and to continuing the dialogue on Indigeneity and women in late 2020 (date TBD).

Please note that anyone who self-identifies as Indigenous may have free viewing access. Ticket for all the screenings available here.

As part of the program, we have recorded a dialogue with several Indigenous women film creatives and directors. Please scroll down the page for more information. The dialogue is freely accessible online. Click here to register for a ticket to view it.



The Most Unprotected Girl 

Dir. Jerilynn Webster
Nuxalk and Onondaga Nations/Canada, 2018 | 3.40 min

Through her music, JB The First Lady wants to bring awareness to missing and murdered Indigenous women (MMIW) of Canada and to two-spirit people.
(precedes The Border)

The 6th World

Dir. Nanobah Becker
Diné/Navajo Nation/USA, 2012 | 15 min

Astronaut Tazbah Redhouse is the pilot on the first spaceship sent to colonize Mars. But a mysterious dream the night before their departure has her unsettled as their trip becomes in jeopardy.
(precedes Mothers of the Land)

Nanayqa mana chinkaqmi – El dolor no desaparece

Dir. Federación Provincial de mujeres Quechuas de Vilcas Huamán y Chirapaq Centro de Culturas Indígenas del Perú
Quechua/Peru, 2019 | 7.20 min

Quechua women from the Peruvian Andes talk about the ways they live with and confront multiple forms of violence, as well as their dreams for a fully realized life.
(precedes The Body Remembers When the World Broke Open)

Sukaskieskwew (Strong Earth Woman)

Dir. Madelaine McCallum
Cree/Métis, 2018 | 5.17 min

Sukaskieskwew offers a reflection on the healing journey that can only be achieved by confronting, accepting and liberating the illness through love.
(precedes Kaapora, The Call of the Forest)

Kaapora, O Chamado das Matas / The Call of the Forest

Dir. Olinda Yawar Muniz Wanderley
Pataxó Hã-hã-Hãe/Brazil, 2020 | 20 min

An experimental narrative film about the connection of Indigenous People with the Earth and their Spirituality, from the filmmaker’s point of view. By developing an environmental recovery project on her people’s land, the Pataxó Hã-hã-hãe, Olinda Yawar uses an Indigenous cosmovision as her lens. Kaapora, a forest dwelling spirit, protector of the land, and trickster, leads the central narrative of this audio-visual work.
(Screens with Sukaskieskwew)


Dialogue on Indigeneity, Women & Resilience

Hosts: Sonia Medel and Sarah Shamash
Translators: Valeria Ascolese (Spanish) & Juliana Ponde (Portuguese)

Jerilynn Webster (Dir. The Most Unprotected Girl)
Jules Koostachin – (Dir. KaYaMenta, in forthcoming program later in 2020)
Madelaine McCallum – (Dir. Sukaskieskwew (Strong Earth Woman)
Nanobah Becker – (Dir. The 6th World)
Olinda Yawar Muniz Wanderley – (Dir. Kaapora, The Call of the Forest)
Tarcila Rivera Zea – Vice-President of CHIRAPAQ Centro de Culturas Indígenas del Perú,
Quechua, Region of Ayacucho
Contributor to Nanayqa mana chinkaqmi – El dolor no desaparece

We recognize with much care that this dialogue took place across Turtle Island and Abya Yala. As meeting hosts, we acknowledge the land we are situated on, the unceded and continuously occupied territory of the Musqueam, Squamish and Tsleil-Waututh Coast Salish peoples. We also acknowledge our deep gratitude to all participants. Participants have provided consent to be contacted for any further information on their areas of expertise.

We have done our best, during and after this dialogue, to facilitate language accessibility across English, Spanish and Portuguese. However, this is our first foray into navigating so many languages simultaneously during a Zoom meeting and, as a result of time and budgetary constraints, we haven’t been able to complete closed captions in all languages as of yet. All participants have expressed interest in continuing this dialogue, therefore, we take all of our logistical, technical and facilitation learnings forward for a future and expanded dialogue on all of the threads we picked up which centred Indigenous, women, filmmakers and media activists.

Please click here to download a copy of the textual English translation of the Spanish and Portuguese speakers.

Cultural Presenter:

Vancouver Latin American Film Festival is located on the traditional, ancestral, and unceded territory of the Coast Salish Peoples, including the territories of the xʷməθkwəy̓əm (Musqueam), Skwxwú7mesh (Squamish), and Səl̓ílwətaʔ/Selilwitulh (Tsleil-Waututh) Nations.