In partnership with Tk’emlúps te Secwépemc, the Kamloops Film Society (KFS) is presenting its first-ever Indigenous Film Festival. Stseptékwles re Sk’elép (Coyote Stories) will run Sept. 1 through 3 at the Paramount Theatre downtown on Victoria Street.
Stseptékwles re Sk’elép will spotlight nine feature-length films, a smattering of short films, various talks, and other events. The films feature Inuit, Mi’kmaq, Tsay Keh Dene storytellers and many more.
Dušan Magdolen, KFS executive director, says the society has wanted to host an Indigenous Film Festival since taking over the Paramount Theatre in 2019.
In a press release shared by KFS, Kukpi7 Rosanne Casimir celebrated the opportunity to bring a diverse crowd together to enjoy Indigenous films and talent. “These are the kinds of actionable and enjoyable steps towards reconciliation that we want to encourage,” she stated on behalf of Tk̓emlúps te Secwépemc Council.
Magdolen says hosting micro-festivals aimed at varying demographics in addition to the film society’s recurring March Film Festival is a huge goal for KFS. “[KFS] has always tried to have an eclectic lineup at the festival in March, but decisions on which films [KFS] can screen always had to be made.”
“We like to have a wide variety of voices represented,” he adds. ”With Tk’emlúps te Secwépemc being such a big presence in our community, we thought it best to start there.”
Funding from the BC Arts Council has been a huge help in launching this festival, says Magdolen, and he hopes they can get similar financial support for festivals in the future. “[Funding] gives us a sort of jumping-off point so that we can guarantee each festival is going to be a success.”
Stseptékwles re Sk’elép has been guided by an Indigenous KFS employee, Aaron Foster, who stepped into the festival coordinator role. In collaboration with the Stseptékwles re Sk’elép festival committee, made up almost entirely of Indigenous committee members, they planned the film selection and event lineup.
Magdolen notes that there are a variety of films being featured, from science fiction to documentaries, that go beyond the trauma that Indigenous people have faced.
“Those films are important, and our festival definitely has some of those stories,” he says. “But they are not the only kind of films Indigenous filmmakers are making,” Magdolen says, “With nine films featured, [KFS and the Stseptékwles re Sk’elép committee] have covered the whole gamut.”
The festival will feature single tickets, as well as three and five film ticket packs. Tickets are now available for purchase and include access to free events, such as talks with filmmakers. Tickets to the festival’s closing party are also now on sale. That party will feature Sasha Mark, a queer Cree-Métis comedian from Winnipeg, Manitoba.
For more information and tickets, visit thekfs.ca.