Indigenous Film Festival

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Inspired by Cree filmmaker Neil Diamond’s entertaining and insightful look at the portrayal of North American Indigenous people throughout a century of cinema in his 2009 documentary, Reel Injun, the STOODIS Film Festival is at once a retrospective and a showcase of recent work of Indigenous made narrative shorts and features.

Learn more about the Team

In partnership with the Vancouver International Film Festival, we are pleased to present a program including seminal works from the beginning of what Ojibwe broadcaster, curator, producer, activist, and public speaker Jesse Wente terms “the Renaissance of Native Cinema,” while also celebrating the growth and recognition of Indigenous-made narrative cinema today.

There has been a long history of films depicting Indigenous people and stories. From John Wayne to Dances with Wolves, our perspectives of Indigenous people and ourselves have been shaped in part through the film industry’s "Colonial Gaze" leaving us blind to the rich truth of Indigenous narratives, and how they shape the understanding of living with the land and each other. In the words of Thomas King, "The truth about stories, is that's all we are." The stories we tell matter, because they shape the ways we view the world and each other, and ourselves. Today, as we come together, we reflect on the past to lead us to a brighter future. We come together to celebrate Indigenous cinematography, and to celebrate Indigenous Futurism.

“As a displaced Indigenous youth growing in the Columbia Basin, I often felt that there wasn't much here that spoke to me about aspects of hope for the future. Often the stories I heard were of disease and loss, and extinction. 

“I imagine this film festival is a great way to bring stories of hope, resurgence, and visions of what Indigenous futurism can look like. No longer are we the dying races needing to be captured on film before we die out.  We are the tellers of our own stories, the imaginers of our own futures, we are our ancestors wildest dreams. 

“With STOODIS, I wanted to bring context and possibilities to the general community as well as to the Indigenous youth who like me, grow up here, longing for possibilities that celebrate our diversity and potential for great things. This film festival is for you.”

~ Festival organizer Lesley Garlow (Haudenosaunee, Cayuga, Turtle Clan)
See What's Playing at the festival

Adjacent to STOODIS is the 2023 Super-8 Film Challenge, a long-standing NCTS program for youth to experience making analog, one-shot films. Youth will be guided through conversations about strength, resilience, and Indigenous futurism, learning about Indigenous narrative and contemporary Indigenous storytelling.  June 21 and 22, participants will explore examples of local, national and international Indigenous film writers, storytellers, actors, musicians and the history and evolution of Indigenous film. Finally, they will learn how to create an in-camera edited, silent black-and-white film on a Super-8 camera and process their films with a safe, homemade “Caffenol-C” recipe.

All film events will begin at the following times, but will open with a short film and a positioning conversation hosted by Lesley Garlow, award-winning filmmaker, speaker and hiphop artist James Pakootas, and NCTS Programming Director Jason Asbell, along with other guests. Additional reprise screenings of several of these feature films will also be scheduled at The Shoebox Theatre over the course of the STOODIS dates.


What does "Barrier-Free Ticketing" mean?
It means exactly that.  If you want to see one of the films in the STOODIS Indigenous Film Festival, please come.  As long as we have tickets available, we have a seat for you. You can elect to take your seat for free or pay any amount you wish toward helping NCTS bring these films to Nelson audiences. A number of ticket prices are available on, and you can also get your ticket - at any price - at the door.

Does that mean I need to pay for my STOODIS ticket? We welcome you to pay with a smile and a high five!  When you arrive, just say you would like a ticket, and we'll let you in, no questions asked!We are also grateful to patrons who choose to pay regular or premium prices for their tickets.

NCTS is a charity!  Please also consider making a gift to support programming like STOODIS. As a charitable organization, NCTS also welcomes donations. If you love what we do and have it within your means to make a gift to support STOODIS and other community programming like it in the future, please do so here or by clicking on the link below.  NCTS depends on donations for a portion of our operations, and more post-pandemic than ever before.  We are pleased to offer donors a charitable receipt for your gifts.

NCTS is deeply grateful to our partners, funders and sponsors who have made STOODIS possible this year. Thank you so much!