Monkey Beach

Galas | True North | BC Spotlight

Waking up in her East Van apartment nursing another hangover, Lisa (Grace Dove) is served notice by her cousin’s ghost (Sera-Lys McArthur), "Your family needs you." Reunited with her Haisla kin in Kitamaat Village, she realizes that she’s meant to save her brother (Joel Oulette) from a tragic fate she’s foreseen since childhood. Of course, there’s also the matter of contending with the mystical creatures lurking in the nearby woods. And so begins a captivating allegory about learning to coexist with both the ghosts that haunt us and spirits who might enlighten us.

In bringing Eden Robinson’s beloved novel to the screen, Loretta Sarah Todd offers us a modern epic underpinned by themes that have long defined heroic journeys. Todd’s first feature narrative unfolds through a thrilling array of temporal shifts and stylistic flourishes. A film about reconnection with the land, its denizens and the secrets it holds, Monkey Beach is also a testament to Indigenous women’s ability to not just endure trials but emerge from them empowered.


Includes an interview with Director: Loretta Sarah Todd

World premiere
Director Icon Director
Loretta Sarah Todd

Grace Dove, Adam Beach, Tina Lameman, Nathaniel Arcand, Stefany Mathias, Joel Oulette, Sera-Lys McArthur, Nick Dangeli, Zoey Snow, Oliver Tru Sison, Miika Whiskeyjack
Executive Producer Carla Robinson, Richard Van Camp, Roseanne Archibald, Lycrecia Adin, Anne Wheeler, Fred Fuchs, Tom Rowe, Patricia Poskitt
Producer Jason James, Patricia Poskitt, Loretta Sarah Todd, Matthew O’Connor, Lisa Richardson
Screenwriter Johnny Darrell, Andrew Duncan, Loretta Sarah Todd
Cinematographer Stirling Bancroft
Editor Fredrik Thorsen, Asim Nuraney
Music Jesse Zubot, Additional Composing by Russell Wallace
Source Loretta Sarah Todd
Canada 2020 105 min. English, Haisla with English subtitles Official Website | Trailer


Please note that VIFF 2020 online films can be viewed in British Columbia only.

Todd Loretta Sarah headshot


Female. Cree. Metis. White. Writes. Directs. Thinks. Produces. Challenges herself and others and makes things happen. And yes, she has many awards and accolades. Known for lyrical, expressionistic imagery combined with strong storytelling skills, Todd tells truths that are haunting, funny and real. Credits include award-winning documentaries, such as Forgotten Warriors, The People Go On and Hands of History. She created, produced and directed Tansi! Nehiyawetan, a Cree children’s series on APTN. And, she created MyCree, a Cree language learning app – and which has over 20,000 downloads. And she created Fierce Girls, a webseries and transmedia project for Indigenous girls about Indigenous girl superheroes. She is also in development with a new animated children’s series called Nitanis & Skylar.

Ms. Todd also initiated organizational change within cultural practice in Canada, helping to develop media training programs, reviewing policy through various committees and creating the IM4 Lab – a VR/AR Lab in collaboration with Emily Carr University of Art and Design. Recently she was chosen as a Lead Fellow to MIT, through the Indigenous Screen Office.