Winnipeg Aboriginal Film Festival puts focus on Indigenous languages, stories

CBC ABORIGINAL NEWS - March 30, 2019 - 8:46am

A film festival that showcases Indigenous cinema kicked off Friday evening and will offer up a variety of short and feature length films throughout the weekend.


Mekko Film Review and Director highlight

THE INDIAN LEADER - March 28, 2019 - 3:03pm

by Kayla Bointy

Cast: Rod Rondeaux, Sarah Podemski, Zahn Mclarnon

Director: Sterlin Harjo

Mekko is a thriller and a must see, infused with Muskogee tradition and folklore mixed with modern street life. Mekko tells the tale of a man recently released from prison after 19 years. He finds camaraderie with a community of homeless natives living in Tulsa. We follow him through his journey on the street, as he struggles with his past and the spiritual elements that follow him.

Native Filmmaker Highlight

Sterlin Harjo is a Seminole and Muscogee filmmaker from Holdenville, Okla. He attended the University of Oklahoma where he majored in film and art. He is a founding member of the five member Native American comedy group, The 1491s.

He has directed three feature length films; Four Sheets to the Wind (2007), Barking Water (2009) and, Mekko (2014). In addition, he directed a feature length documentary This May Be the Last Time (2014) as well as other short films, projects, and a play.

In his films he shares his stories often set in Oklahoma and surrounded by his own Muscogee Creek and Seminole heritage, often narrated in the Mvskoke language.

Haskell Spring Film Festival

THE INDIAN LEADER - March 28, 2019 - 1:47pm

by Dacotah Hasvold

Haskell Film Club, along with Thunderbird Theater, will host the Haskell Spring Film Festival. The event will take place in the Haskell auditorium on March 29th at 7pm. The festival will feature five short films made by Haskell students:

  • ‘Did Anything Wrong’ produced and directed by Michael Begay, written by Kriss Velvet.
  • ‘Whistle Critters’ written and directed by Obadiah Eastman.
  • ‘Beyond The Fear’ directed by Joe Singh.
  • Lemon Meringue’ written and directed by Joe Singh.
  • ‘The Buyer’ written and directed by Kriss Velvet.
  • ‘Indigenous Peoples Day’ directed by Dacotah Hasvold

Kriss Velvet, the Haskell filmmaker that organized the event, said the idea behind the festival was to give Haskell students an outlet to create and showcase their art.

Originally founded in 1974, Thunderbird Theater’s goal is “to provide Native American theatre to both Native and non-Native audiences and to initiate the training of Native American theatre professionals.”

Most recently, Thunderbird put on the Haskell haunted house, the making of which is documented in the short film, ‘Beyond The Fear’ by Joe Singh. Singh’s other contribution to the festival, ‘Lemon Meringue’ is a well-crafted, surreal tale that was inspired by a dream. As far as where his inspiration comes from, he said, “At the core of what I create is a desire to show the world from my point of view. We manifest when we create. We turn a random thought or feeling into an idea that moves us, and it grows into reality. I love the idea of inspiring and experiencing through creation.”

The Haskell Spring Film Festival is free and open to the public. Popcorn and drinks will be available. For more information contact Kriss at

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