Excitement mounting for Weengushk International Film Festival July 8-11

M’CHIGEENG – With the clock running down fast on the launch of this year’s Weengushk International Film Festival (WIFF), the lineup of films has been announced.

The film festival will take place virtually again this year and will commence on Thursday, July 8 and run through to Sunday, July 11. 

“WIFF is a celebration of Indigenous and diverse storytelling through film,” notes a release announcing the lineup. “The festival brings together industry veterans, new and emerging independent filmmakers, for a film festival that is entirely experienced online.”

At 7 pm on July 8, the opening night event will feature a short comedy-drama VeRONaka and Tanya Talaga’s new moving documentary ‘Spirit to Soar.’

The special keynote for the evening will be actress, producer, filmmaker and former House of Commons member Tina Keeper and the night will close with a performance by Six Nation’s five-time music award winner Jace Martin. 

Closing night features a special screening of ‘Rustic Oracle,’ a film by Sonia Boilea, an award show hosted and presented by Phyllis Ellis and Little Saskatchewan First Nation’s singer-songwriter Leonard Sumner.

This year, WIFF will be screening all of its films, workshops, performances and Q and As through the online platform Eventive. 

“We will be showcasing over 40 films across nine different programs,” reads the release. “Both features and short films will be available to watch the entire weekend so no need to worry if a viewer can’t make it to a screening time.”

Friday night’s films will be accompanied by musical performances by Moose Factory’s Tragically Hip Cover Band The Poets, followed by The Cheechoo-Martin Band. Saturday’s music acts include Murray Porter and Indigenous rock band Relic Kings. 

WIFF 2021 promises educational and entertaining workshops, notes the release, including ‘Acting’ with Gary Farmer on July 11 and a language workshop with Randy Msheekehn on July 10. 

“We remain committed to our philosophy to present the highest quality films that emphasize Indigenous voices with human rights, social/political issues and the environment, while providing entertainment and an escape through film for everyone.”

“It has always been our mission to support Indigenous and emerging filmmakers,” said artistic director Dr. Shirley Cheechoo C.M. “We are proud to be able to continue to host our festival and come together online. Expanding our online festival will allow for even greater accessibility to the amazing films we present.”

For the full program and ticket details visit WIFF website at WIFF2021.eventive.org/welcome and please see the ad on Page 14 of this newspaper. Tickets are on sale now.