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Weengushk International Film Festival Announces 2023 Programming

June 6, 2023 @ 8:00 am - 5:00 pm

July 14-16, 2023 on Manitoulin Island
Celebrating Our Youth – Our Future

Artistic Director Dr. Shirley Cheechoo CM is pleased to announce programming for the 6th Annual Weengushk International Film Festival (WIFF) taking place July 14-16, 2023 on Manitoulin Island in Northern Ontario. The Weengushk International Film Festival is an important, not for profit, Indigenous-run independent film festival and cultural event, featuring award winning and burgeoning filmmakers and Indigenous leaders in 57 films, five workshops, four musical performances, opening night, and a gala awards event.

The 2023 WIFF theme is youth, celebrating their experiences, journeys and remarkable accomplishments. The festival events informed by this theme, including a 12 Hour Youth Filmmaking Program sponsored by the Canadian Media Producers Association, are inspired by Dr. Shirley Cheechoo’s life’s work, dedicated to providing a safe space for youth to learn about their culture, land, language and to find their voice and share their experiences through storytelling.

There are very few Indigenous film festivals in the world. WIFF was created for our films and programs to play a very important role in shaping the public’s patterns of how they view Indigenous people. WIFF brings cinema to the communities and opens our people to see and hear other indigenous voices from Canada and around the world,” said Dr. Shirley Cheechoo CM.​

Film highlights from WIFF include: opening night films Bones of Crows by Marie Clements preceded by Shirley Cheechoo‘s 1997 Sundance festival premiere and award-winning film, Silent Tears; special presentations of Buffy Sainte-Marie: Carry It On by Madison Thomas; Rosie by Gail Maurice; documentary feature The Beautiful Scars of Tom Wilson, by Shane Belcourt; and short films Rose by Rozann Whitebean and Michelle Derosier’s animated short, A Boy and His Loss and the stunning short documentary film from New Zealand, Mawhialeo Ote Alowaha, by Valeriya Golovina Other special screenings include an episode of Jennifer Podemski’s acclaimed series Little Bird, and the world premiere of Vertebrae by Travis Shilling, starring Gary Farmer and Allison Sawyer.

The three day festival includes Indigenous and diverse dramatic and documentary shorts and features from Brazil, New Zealand, US, Malaysia, The Netherlands, French Polynsia and Canada. Other highlights, Shkozin, written and directed by Indigenous and Black emerging women filmmakers, through Weengushk Film Institute’s (WFI) Women in Film Program, broadcast on Rogers, and two short dramatic student films produced through WFI’s Lab 1 program.

Musical performances at WIFF will feature Juno Award winner Murray Porter, seven-time Native American Music Award winner Keith Secola, internationally acclaimed flamenco guitar family Quarantined Quartet, and the all-star blues band Gary Farmer and The Troublemaker All Stars featuring Derek Miller.

WIFF will also include a culture and music exchange with visiting artists Quarantined Quartet woven throughout the festival programming. The Quarantined Quartet has appeared on The Kelly Clarkson Show, Good Morning America, NBC News, ABC, CBS, SGN and performed at Lincoln Center.

The full program is available @ https://www.weengushkfilmfestival.ca/

Dr. Shirley Cheechoo CM is a residential school warrior who was pulled out of a self-destructive path when the late artist Tom Peltier introduced her to the arts. Shirley is the proud recipient of numerous awards both for her own work and for recognition of her profound contributions to arts practice throughout Ontario, including her installment to the Order of Canada. She was the first person from a First Nation to write, produce, direct and act in a feature length dramatic film in Canada; Bearwalker, for which she won the Best Director award at the first Reelworld Film Festival in 2000, and screened at the Cannes Film Festival. As the Founder and Artistic Director of Weengushk Film Institute, Shirley is an accomplished and awarding-winning artist, actor and filmmaker, and has been working in the Indigenous community for over 30 years.

Weengushk Film Institute is a centre for capacity building in the audio-visual arts for aspiring Indigenous and diverse artisans and filmmakers through the provision of education, training, and their creative journey to promote cultural, ethnic, and artistic vitality.


Weengushk International Film Festival
July 14-16, 2023
4 Directions Complex, Aundeck Omni Kaning,
1300 ON-540 in Little Current, Ontario

Tickets and Passes available at: weengushkfilmfestival.ca/events

facebook.com/weengushkfest / instagram.com/weengushkfilmfest / twitter.com/weengushkfest
Media Contact: Damien Nelson, [email protected]


June 6, 2023
8:00 am - 5:00 pm
Event Category: