AlterNATIVE: Nakoda A/V Club

AlterNATIVE: Indigenous Film Series
Curated by Nakoda A/V Club
Thursday, May 5, 2016
Doors at 6:30PM, Screening at 7PM
EMMEDIA Screening Room – 351 11 Ave SW, 2nd Floor
See the program brochure here:

EMMEDIA presents the AlterNATIVE Indigenous Film Series, showcasing the rich landscape of works produced by Indigenous artists throughout the year. The second screening this year is curated by the Nakoda A/V Club based out of Morley, Alberta.

Curatorial Statement:

When the A/V Club was asked to curate a selection of Indigenous films, the first ones that came to our minds were the classics, the ones that everyone knows the lines to, the ones that first showed us that our lives could actually be reflected on the screen. But many of these movies were written and directed by outsiders in our community, and they shed light on the interesting question of what exactly is a Native film. There are over 600 Indigenous nations across Canada, and within each of these are hundreds of individual Aboriginal people who think independently and have their own ideas about what exactly constitutes an Indigenous film. As a group, the Nakoda A/V Club places value on Native control; for too long natives have played roles in other peoples stories. Or worse, our stories are told completely without us.

Our film history was born with Nanook of the North, and it grew up in Westerns where we were made into stereotypes in wigs played by Italians and directed by white men. Today, Indigenous film is beginning to occupy the place it deserves. We earned this in Canada when the Inuit people claimed the right to a share of the space being broadcast into their homes from a distant and different south. Their work contributed to the founding of APTN, the world’s first Indigenous television station. With help from allies such as the National Film Board of Canada, Native people across Canada have built strong and healthy film traditions.

There were many films that we considered for tonight, from coast to coast to coast, Native people have become adept at telling beautiful and compelling stories. But for tonight we’ve selected films from this area. You are sitting in the Treaty 7 region, traditional home to the Blackfoot, Tsuu T’ina, and Stoney Nakoda people. But we are all Treaty people, whether your historic home is in southern Alberta or you are a newcomer, our forefathers made a trade; land for broken promises. Our historic relationship with the treaty and the colonial practices that surround it are the subject for much Indigenous film. It may not always be recognizable, but our stories are deeply impacted by the colonial legacy and its bearings on our lives. This is our trauma and comedy, our struggle and our dysfunction, our sense of community and hope. These are the feelings that all Indigenous film embodies. They are the reason we picked films from this region, to support and share the messages of our peers. Tonight we ask only that you listen, learn, and speak when spoken to. We are honoured by your presence here tonight, and it is our deepest hope that you enjoy this work. Îsniyes (With Thanks).

About the Nakoda Audio-Visual Club:

The Nakoda A/V Club is a volunteer run production society. We believe in the potential of youth and the power of story. We follow the guidance of Elders, and of our own hearts. The Nakoda A/V Club is a collective, a group of people who gather to support each others artistic endeavours. We believe in the ability of people to accomplish their goals, no matter what they may be, through hard work, dedication, and support. Our aim is to raise interest in film as a modern form of the ancient tradition of story telling, and to use this to support the strengthening of local cultural for Nakoda youth. We believe that filmmaking is a means for youth to gain wellness and communication skills which will help them to be successful in all aspects of their lives. We hope that by watching film about and by Aboriginal people our community will be able to see it’s own successes and strengths reflected on the screen. We believe in the power of storytelling, and it’s transformative capacity to alter human lives.


Kids of the Flood
Directed by the Nakoda A/V Club (Morley)
2013, 1:02 min.

Children aged 5- 9 express their feelings about living at an emergency shelter in Morley during the 2013 flood that devastated parts of Alberta. The childrens’ experiences are documented through an animation that captures an important moment in their lives, and a unique perspective on an event that impacted many.

Little Blue Bird
Directed by Amber Twoyoungmen (The Nakoda A/V Club)
2014, 1:50 min.

A collaboration between the Nakoda A/V Club and the Stoney Education Authority Culture Team, Little Blue Bird was designed as a teaching tool for teaching the Stoney language to young children. This animation illustrates a children’s nursery rhyme that has been used in Stoney schools for generations. It is dedicated to one of the Nation’s most committed teachers, the late Kim Fox.

About Amber Twoyoungmen:

Amber Twoyoungmen is an inspiring young woman who is driven to celebrate her community though film and the arts. One of the first members of the Nakoda A/V Club, she has created three of her own short films, and collaborated on many projects. She dreams of attending film school, and has worked her way through various film education programs near her Morley, Alberta home.

The Old Way
Directed by Trevor Solway (Siksika)
2013, 10:50 min.

The Old Way follows a family of ranchers located in Southern Alberta, exploring the lives of three Indian Cowboys and how their regimented upbringing has an impact on who they are today. Sonny Solway, a Blackfoot Rancher set in his lifestyle, raised his eight children the only way he knew, The Old Way. Sonny’s sons Cedric and Ike were not only his children, but his pupils. Both are a spitting image of their father and have followed in his footsteps. Being an Indian Cowboy isn’t just a hat you put on, it’s a way of life, a way of life that is fading.

About Trevor Solway:

Oki, my name is Trevor Solway. My traditional name is Sinaksin, which means a piece of writing, or a picture. I am Blackfoot from Siksika Nation located east of Calgary. Growing up on the reserve and being close with my grandparents taught me to cherish storytelling. They would often tell me stories of their upbringing; Napi stories and stories of our genesis as Blackfoot people. Their stories would ebb and flow between Blackfoot and English. They would tell stories as much with their hands as they did with their words. I knew from a very young age that storytelling is what I wanted to do. I come from a long line of ranchers and spent most of my childhood on my grandparents’ ranch. Going against the grain, I decided to pursue a career in the media field. Storytelling has always been a passion of mine and in 2012 I moved to North Vancouver to attend Capilano University taking the Independent Indigenous Digital Filmmaking program.

In 2013, I made three films; one comedic short Midaswell, and two documentaries, The Old Way and Siksika Strong. In 2014, as a part of Canada Bridges, I created and facilitated Film Camps for youth on my reserve and directed a follow-up documentary to the story of the flood titled Siksika Strong Part II: Faces of The Flood. In 2015, I further developed the Canada Bridges Film Camps and also brought it to the Stoney-Nakoda Nation. For the past three years, I have been pursuing my Bachelor of Communications degree with a major in Journalism. I am expected to graduate in 2017. I have written several articles for the Calgary Journal, which is the campus newspaper. I’ve also worked for Siksika Media as a reporter and videographer. I believe First Nation’s are gifted with the craft of storytelling and should use it for the betterment of the people. I want to be a hybrid journalist and be proficient in videography, photography, writing and graphic design.

A New Warrior for Hope
Produced by Cathy Arcega (Morley)
2015, 13:57 min.

This film is a community-based project created in response to issues facing youth and families in Stoney Nakoda First Nation. The story is inspired by true events and follows a young man named Weddu as he struggles to balance his life between the call of tradition, the needs of his young sister, and the lure of drugs and gangs.

This film is a community cinema project and was created over a period of one year by a team of youth storytellers, actors and technicians. The project was initiated by Cathy Arcega as a Stoney Nation Youth Engagement Strategy, and facilitated by cinematographer and producer Jason Gondziola. Working with Elders and community members, the production team gathered stories and put them together in a script. Community members acted in the script alongside partners of the RCMP.

About Cathy Arcega & The Stoney Nation Youth Engagement Strategy (YES):

Cathy Arcega is the Program Manager of the Youth Engagement Strategy, and has served in this role in her home community on the Stoney Nakoda First Nation for the past 3 years. Arcega is a member of the Bearspaw Band. She is also a university graduate with a Bachelor of Arts degree in Behavioural Science from Ambrose University College (2007). In 2012, she completed all of her coursework for a Post-Baccalaureate Diploma in Criminology from Simon Fraser University. In addition, Arcega currently serves her community of Morley as Advisor to the RCMP “K” Division Commanding Officers Aboriginal Advisory Committee (COAAC) representing the Stoney Nakoda First Nation (2014-2016 term).

The Youth Engagement Strategy (YES) has provided youth in the Stoney Nakoda First Nation community of Morley, weekly program initiatives from leadership development to recreational and cultural activities for the past 3 years. The YES programs serves over 130 youth/week from all 3 Bands of the Stoney Nakoda First Nation (Chiniki, Bearspaw, and Wesley), in a community of approximately 5000 members. In 2013, a collaborative team of youth leadership and partnerships in the community, led to the development of the Stoney Nakoda Youth Collaborative. This collaborative team consists of key stakeholders, such as the Nakoda Youth Council (NYC), made of 12 young adults from the community. NYC bridges the gap between cultural and traditional knowledge by providing youth with further explanation in translating the Stoney Nakoda language into today’s modern language. Engaging youth in recreational and cultural activities, while instilling a sense of pride in Stoney identity, youth are able to further their cultural understanding thus empowering their inner potential as Stoney Nakoda youth. We are hopeful that this film can help start a conversation in our community and other communities across the land.

Directed by Amber Twoyoungmen (Morley)
2013, 4:00 min.

A young girl gets burned when a love letter she writes earns her the scorn of her would-be boyfriend. But she shows him that she knows just how to play with fire. This short film is Amber Twoyoungmen’s directorial debut, it was written, shot, and edited entirely by youth.

Morning Star îrha
Directed by Jarret Twoyoungmen (Morley)
2014, 10:06 min.

Morning Star is a girl stuck in the cycle of poverty and abuse that stems from the systemic oppression that First Nations people experience. Her story is a call to action for adults living on reserve, but also a glimpse into the impact years of violence from colonialism have had on her people. Will life change for this little girl? Is one smile enough?

About Jarret Twoyoungmen:

Jarret Twoyoungmen is an emerging filmmaker whose passion is improving the lives of children and youth. He co-founded the Nakoda A/V Club which is dedicated to helping people tell their own stories through film animation and audio visual arts. He enjoys animation and music design, and lives on the Morley Reserve west of Calgary.

The Native Tongue – Learn the Blackfoot Language
Produced by Jeanette Many Guns (Siksika)
2015, 12:15 min.

The Blackfoot Warrior party Horsemanship Film Society is a non profit organization whose mission is to preserve, protect, and promote the Blackfoot culture and language for future generations and is committed to the betterment of the community. By helping and promoting youth today, the spirit of the Blackfoot warrior can grow tomorrow.

About Jeanette Many Guns:

Jeanette Many Guns is a Blackfoot who resides on the Siksika (Blackfoot) Nation. She grew up with her great grandmother who was very active in the Blackfoot traditional ceremonial Sundances and is fluent in the Blackfoot language. Jeanette is a Blackfoot historian and proud of her culture, religion, language and history. She is also an entrepreneur, actively trail rides, interpreting the Blackfoot history, and a beginner in film making. Her goal is to put all Blackfoot legends on film and to make a Blackfoot historical movie to tell the real Blackfoot stories and experiences.

Jeanette Many Guns is a member of the Siksika Nation. Siksika is part of the treaty 7 tribes and also part of the Blackfoot confederacy tribes. Siksika is located within its traditional territory. The Blackfoot traditional territory is vast and expansive from the east it extends in to the middle of Saskatchewan, on the south side to the Yellowstone river,on the west extends beyond the Rocky Mountains and on the north end, up to the North Saskatchewan river.

The Curse of the Snagging Blanket
Directed by Kevin Littlelight (Tsuu T’ina)
2011, 28:00 min.

An ominous curse falls on the people of the Papaweenis First Nation, when Tybalt steals a blanket before it’s blessed at a round dance give-away. It’s up to Prince to stop the cursed murdering snagging blanket, as it looms over the reserve causing chaos and death. With the help of magic moccasins, Prince dodges bullets and sets out to kill the snagging blanket.

About Kevin Littlelight:

Kevin Lance Littlelight is the creator and founder of Aboriginal Zombie film production company. He is a graduate of the New York Film Academy Film program in New York City. Originally from the Tsuu T’ina Nation (Sarcee Tribe), he is embarking on his first feature film as a director/producer in the spring/summer of 2015. He has just finished a highly anticipated segment for a four-part horror anthology, Herschell Gordon Lewis’ Blood Mania. Kevin’s segment is entitled, GOREgeous, and is set to be released in the spring of 2015.

Kevin is working towards his Bachelor of Arts, wanting to finish dual majors in English and Psychology at the University of Calgary and Mount Royal University. He is also a published author, boasting the successful and locally famed short story Horse Woman. This story earned him respect among the literality enthusiasts in writer circles around the Calgary area.

Bitten by the “film bug” Kevin appeared in Canadian music video director legend, Jeth Weinrich’s first music video Stone Child and earned a supporting role in Weinrich’s Cowboy Stories with Jimmy Rankin in the early 90’s. Kevin has shot twenty short films which he directed, produced, or acted as Director of Photography. He has vowed never to shoot another short film until he shoots his feature film. His debut short film Hecho En Mexico was accepted by the Calgary Society of Independent Filmmakers’ $100 Film Festival as part of the music explosion opening night in 2005. He shot two great back to back consecutive short films which he wrote and directed. The first was the 2013 Native American Comedy/horror pilot Snagging Blanket, followed by a very successful thesis film 2014’s Pizza Fiction. These shorts highlight Kevin’s talent and versatility, and have elevated him in the film world.

When Kevin is not writing and day dreaming, he is enjoying his free time with his children Carmen, Charlize, and Conner.

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