BIFF Shorts: Decolonial Spotlights

Screening w/ Filmmaker Q&A

Anti-ethnographic works that provide windows into the lives, minds and cultures of some of North America's most exciting, contemporary Indigenous filmmakers. Free, worldwide screening. 77 minutes.

The Bear Facts

Jonathan Wright (Dir), 4 minutes, WNY Premiere, Canada

The story of a savvy hunter and the flag-planting colonial explorer that he outwits. A Nunavut Animation Lab Production.


Alexandra Lazarowich (Dir), 5 minutes, WNY Premiere, Canada

Cree director Alexandra Lazarowich riffs off classic verité cinema to craft a contemporary portrait of Métis women net fishing in Northern Alberta.

Three Thousand

Asinnajaq (Dir), 14 minutes, WNY Premiere, Canada

'My father was born in a spring igloo—half snow, half skin. I was born in a hospital, with jaundice and two teeth.' Inuit artist Asinnajaq plunges her audience into a sublime, imaginary universe— creating unique, oneric animations and weaving them together with repurposed newsreels, propaganda films, ethnographic docs, and work by Indigenous filmmakers from the NFBC's vast archival coleection.

Granny and Mia

Evelyne Papatie (Dir), 3 minutes, WNY Premiere, Canada

Narrated by a six-year-old Mia, the making of a rainbow cake takes on the magical power of bringing generations together.

That Old Game La Crosse

JL Whitecrow (Dir), 8 minutes, WNY Premiere, Canada

Long before Canada became a country, every nation on Turtle Island had its own unique version of a stick-ball game. The most popular one on this continent has always been lacrosse, a game that was gifted to the First Nations by the birds and four-legged animals, and played for centuries as a medicine game. This short explores how the medicine game, passed down from generation to generation by the Haudenasaunee at the Fort Erie Native Friendship Centre, is helping to revive their cultures and restore their communities.

Now is the Time

Christopher Auchter (Dir) 16 minutes, WNY Premiere, Canada

Featuring Robert Davidson, Reg Davidson + Barbara Wilson. When internationally renowned Haida carver Robert Davidson was only 22 years old, he carved the first new totem pole on British Columbia’s Haida Gwaii in almost a century. On the 50th anniversary of the pole’s raising, he revisits that day in August 1969, when the entire village of Old Massett gathered to celebrate the event that would signal the rebirth of the Haida spirit.

Délia 9 to 5

Délia Gunn (Dir), 4 minutes, WNY Premiere, Canada

A direct and unvarnished, yet tender and humorous portrait of a typical day in the life of director Délia Gunn at Réservoir-Dozois while she is eight months pregnant.


Cole Forrest (Dir), 5 minutes, WNY Premiere, Canada

Afraid he would not see his community again, Cole Forrest returns to North Bay from his current residence in Toronto. During his stay he confronts his fears and reconnects with his ancestors. Nbi means water and in the time of this pandemic, it is the lake, medicine, berries, and the land that he looks to for guidance.

K'i Tah Amongst the Birch

Melaw Nakehk’o (Dir), 10 minutes, WNY Premiere, Canada

Filmmaker Melaw Nakehk’o has spent the pandemic with her family at a remote land camp in the Northwest Territories, 'getting wood, listening to the wind, staying warm and dry, and watching the sun move across the sky.'

Woman Dress

Thirza Cuthand (Dir), 7 minutes, WNY Premiere, Canada

A conversation about Woman Dress that begins along the lines of ‘and we don't know where this child came from, or where this child is going.’ The Cree language doesn't have gendered pronouns, freeing these characters from binary restrictions, and allowing them the space to live their own stories through each retelling.

To Wake Up the Nakota Language

Louise BigEagle (Dir), 6 minutes, WNY Premiere, Canada

'When you don’t know your language or your culture, you don’t know who you are,' says 69-year-old Armand McArthur, one of the last fluent Nakota speakers in Pheasant Rump First Nation, Treaty 4 territory, in southern Saskatchewan. Armand is committed to revitalizing his language and culture for his community and future generations.

Buffalo Int'l Film Festival and the National Film Board of Canada have partnered this year to present this shorts block of Decolonial Spotlights, free to anyone in the USA, Canada, neighboring Indigenous Nations, and beyond to watch during the 2020 Buffalo Int'l Film Festival October 8-12. 

This presentation is made possible through the in kind support and generosity of the National Film Board of Canada.

Please enjoy! 

For more amazing, Indigenous-made content and to further explore the National Film Board of Canada's extensive archival holdings, please visit their Indigenous Cinema Page.

The Bear Facts
Granny and Mia
That Old Game La Crosse
Délia 9 to 5
K'i Tah Amongst the Birch