Vancouver – The 2023 Vancouver International Film Festival (VIFF) has presented the world premiere of the feature-length documentary WaaPaKe (Tomorrow), directed by Vancouver-based filmmaker Dr. Jules Arita Koostachin. Produced by the National Film Board of Canada (NFB) at the BC & Yukon Studio, Koostachin’s deeply personal film unravels the tangled threads of silence suffered by residential school Survivors through truth, freedom and power. VIFF will also feature two BC premieres of NFB short films:
- In the BC & Yukon Studio animated short Two Apples by Coquitlam filmmaker Bahram Javahery, a young woman who leaves her homeland takes a single memento from her past.
- Winnipeg director Karsten Wall’s Modern Goose is an exquisitely observed film essay that embeds audiences in the daily life of these iconic animals.
VIFF Signals will be showcasing another BC premiere: Meneath, a unique installation experience created for VIFF, based on Métis creator Terril Calder’s installation Meneath: The Mirrors of Ethics, winner of the New Voices Award at New York’s Tribeca Festival.
WaaPaKe (Tomorrow), directed by Jules Arita Koostachin (80 min)
Insights series + VIFF’s Ignite: High School Program
Produced by Teri Snelgrove for the BC & Yukon Studio
Press kit: mediaspace.nfb.ca/epk/waapake
- For generations, the suffering of residential school Survivors has radiated outward, impacting Indigenous families and communities. Children, parents and grandparents have contended with the unspoken trauma, manifested in the lingering effects of colonialism: addiction, emotional abuse and broken relationships.
- In her efforts to help the children of Survivors, including herself and her family, Koostachin makes the difficult decision to step in front of the camera and participate in the circle of truth. She is joined in this courageous act of solidarity by members of her immediate family, as well as an array of voices from Indigenous communities across Turtle Island. Moving beyond burying intergenerational trauma, WaaPaKeis an invitation to unravel the tangled threads of silence and unite in collective freedom and power.
- Jules Arita Koostachin (Attawapiskat) is an award-winning filmmaker, writer, performance artist and academic. Koostachin honours her Cree-speaking grandparents who raised her, and her mother, a residential school Survivor/warrior. She holds a Ph.D. in Indigenous documentary and protocols and processes, through UBC’s Institute of Gender, Race, Sexuality and Social Justice.
Two Apples by Bahram Javahery (9 min 21 s)
Short Fuse Program + VIFF’s Ignite: High School Program
Produced by Teri Snelgrove and Shirley Vercruysse for the BC & Yukon Studio
Press kit: mediaspace.nfb.ca/epk/twoapples
- When a young woman leaves her homeland, she takes a single memento from her past: a ripe apple studded with fragrant cloves infused with love, longing and the tender perfume of hope.
- Born in the Kurdistan Province in Iran and now based in Coquitlam, Javahery directed the award-winning animated short The Flower, the Bird and the Sun (2001).
Modern Goose by Karsten Wall (23 min)
Short Forum Program
Produced by Alicia Smith and executive produced by David Christensen for the North West Studio
Press kit: mediaspace.nfb.ca/epk/moderngoose
- Able to navigate by reading the Earth’s magnetic field, fiercely loyal to flock and family, at home on land, air and water, geese straddle the territory between ancient instincts and the contemporary world. Combining beauty, humour and profound empathy, Modern Goose flips the usual nature-film perspective to offer a deeper message of continuity and connection.
- Karsten Wall is a Winnipeg-based editor and filmmaker whose first directorial credit, The Seven Wonders of Manitoba, received a Golden Sheaf Award at the 2020 Yorkton Film Festival. He studied motion picture production at Capilano University in North Vancouver in 2006.
Meneath by Terril Calder (20 min)
Produced by Jelena Popović for the English Program Animation & Interactive Studio
Press kit for Meneath: The Mirrors of Ethics: mediaspace.nfb.ca/epk/meneath-mirrors
- In the middle of Turtle Island, a Métis Baby Girl is born. Her childhood wonder is disrupted when Jesus appears and tells her about the so-called sins of humanity. Convinced she is soiled and destined for Hell, the abuse and racism she endures leave her riddled with self-loathing and fear. To quell her trauma, Nokomis brings light to the Anishinaabe Teachings buried deep within Baby Girl. For every alleged Sin, Baby Girl is given a Teaching that fills her with strength and pride, and affirms a path towards healing.
- Terril Calder forces our gaze below the surface to witness a dissection of the colonial narrative, physically shifting the dominant Christian perspective. In this stop-motion projection-mapping installation, Indigenous Teachings are reflected from the earth and fused into the story to create a unique viewing experience.
- One of the foremost Métis artists in Canada today, Calder is a multidisciplinary creator with an extensive background in performance, visual and media art, whose current practice is focused on stop-motion projects.