June 21 is National Indigenous Peoples Day (NIPD), a day of cultural significance for First Nations, Inuit and Métis. It is observed on the 21 of June to recognize the summer solstice, the day of maximum daylight, and its importance to Indigenous Peoples. This is a day for all Canadians to recognize and celebrate the unique heritage, diverse cultures and outstanding contributions of First Nations, Inuit and Métis peoples.
For more resources, including the history of National Indigenous Peoples Day, click here.
To learn more about how you can get involved in National Indigenous Peoples Day in Ontario and Toronto, click here.
Little Bird is a six-part limited series that explores universal themes of resilience in the face of trauma and loss. Removed from her home on the Long Pine Reserve in Saskatchewan, Bezhig Little Bird is adopted into a Montreal Jewish family at the age of five, becoming Esther Rosenblum. Now in her 20s, Bezhig longs for the family she lost, and her search lands her in the Canadian Prairies, worlds apart from everything she knows. As she begins to track down her siblings and unravel the mystery behind her adoption, Bezhig is forced to reckon with who she is and who she wants to become.
Danis Goulet’s feature debut is a post-apocalyptic sci-fi drama with an underlying critique of Canada’s past. Set in 2043 after a post-war North America, Niska (Elle-Máijá Tailfeathers) joins a band of Indigenous vigilantes to save her daughter Waseese from a military-run institution in a powerful allegory of residential schools. Danis Goulet is featured this summer as TOPS’ 2023 Spotlight Filmmaker, with a selection of her work showcased across the season’s programme, including a double-bill of her films Night Raiders and Wakening on Opening Night at Fort York.
Teenage Maika wakes up to a typical summer day in Pangnirtung, Nunavut: no school, no cool boys (well… except one), and 24-hour sunlight. For Maika and her ragtag friends, the usual summer is suddenly not in the cards when they discover an alien invasion threatening Pang. But these teenagers have been underestimated their whole lives, and using makeshift weapons, hunting skills, and their horror movie knowledge, they’re about to show the aliens that “you don’t fuck with the girls from Pang.”
Listen to our Wider Lens podcast episode with Danis Goulet and Slash/Back Director Nyla Innuksuk.
The feature film debut of Métis writer-director-actor Gail Maurice brings us to the fringes of 1980s Montreal as seen from the perspective of a sweet and suddenly orphaned Indigenous girl thrust into the care of her tough, street-smart aunt Frédérique. Fred, an artist who creates art from trash, introduces Rosie to her best friends Flo and Mo, two glamorous, gender-bending sex workers. A story of finding love, acceptance, and making a home with a chosen family of glittering outsiders.
Run Woman Run
This feature film from DGC Ontario Director Zoe Hopkins is a feel-good anti-rom-com about a woman who has to tackle the ghosts of her past before she can run toward a better future. When an escalating series of bad habits lands single mother Beck in a diabetic coma, she resolves to change her life for the better and takes up running. She’s joined by an unlikely life coach: legendary Onondaga marathon champ Tom Longboat, who just so happens to be a ghost.
Meneath: The Hidden Island of Ethics
Métis multidisciplinary artist and DGC Ontario Director Terril Calder wrote, directed, produced and animated this powerful and intricately designed stop-motion short that charts a challenging journey for Baby Girl, a precocious Métis girl contemplating her path to Hell until she receives The Seven Grandfather Teachings and goes on her own healing journey. This short premiered at TIFF ‘21 and was named to TIFF’s annual year-end Canada’s Top Ten list, and was also named the winner of the New Voices Award at Tribeca 2023.
DGC Ontario’s Chelsea McMullan co-directed this documentary with Tanya Tagaq, whose improvisational performances connect to the land where she grew up in Nunavut. Ever Deadly weaves concert footage with stunning sequences filmed on location in Nunavut, seamlessly bridging landscapes, stories, and songs with pain, anger, and triumph – all through the expressions of Tanya Tagaq, one of the most innovative musical performers of our time.
Tom Wilson, the subject of this powerful documentary by DGC Ontario Director Shane Belcourt, spent decades touring the world as a successful musician before learning late in life about his true Indigenous origins. Based on Wilson’s memoir of the same name, Beautiful Scars explores the Canadian musician’s discovery of his Mohawk heritage and the web of family secrets that he had unwittingly been at the center of since his childhood. Beautiful Scars premiered at the 2022 Hot Docs Film Festival and was one of the top ten films considered for a Hot Docs Audience Award.
Watch on YouTube via TVO