Who We Are Series Logo

National Indigenous Peoples Day – Who We Are

Co-presented with
Museum of Vancouver Logo

The Vancouver International Film Festival and Museum of Vancouver have partnered to commemorate Indigenous History Month with the Who We Are film series. This series was selected by Indigenous Curators: Rylan Friday, Jasmine Wilson and Sharon Fortney. Their curatorial goal is to celebrate Indigenous voices in cinema, to showcase strong engaging stories from First Nations, Métis, Inuit and Maori filmmakers while showing the beauty, complexities and vibrancies of Indigeneity around the globe.

Indigenous History month is a time to acknowledge those who came before us throughout turtle island, to validate lived experiences & the trauma left behind from the legacy of residential schools and the ripple effects of colonization that are prevalent in modern society. As Indigenous people, we must honour the past but most importantly walk forward and hold each other up as a community to a path of healing as these experiences shaped Who We Are .

These five films share universal hard truths that deviate from trauma based narratives, but explore the themes of: healing, resiliency, joy, laughter, pain and community all woven throughout as a singular curation.

The Vancouver International Film Festival and the Museum of Vancouver both operate on the unceded Traditional Lands and Waters of the əsəlil̓wətaʔɬ, Xʷməθkwəy̓əm, & Sḵwx̱wú7meshsi Nations and all their ancestors. In the spirit of reconciliation, this curation is free to anyone self-identifying as Indigenous.

Who We Are series logo by Aaron Nelson Moody and Melanie Rivers.

Who We Are series trailer by Esteban Manuel.

Tickets & Passes

The Who We Are series pass and tickets are free to Indigenous Peoples.

Single Tickets: $10

Series Pass (5 films): $25

VIFF+ Silver, Gold and Monthly Connect members get free access to Fire Song and can purchase a pass for $16.


Who We Are films are available to watch on VIFF Connect from June 21 until July 4, 2021.

About the Curators

Rylan Friday is an emerging filmmaker and curator from Cote First Nation, Saskatchewan. He produced Trevor Mack’s debut feature Portraits From a Fire which is slated for a 2021 festival release. Recently, Rylan became the first openly gay Indigenous filmmaker to spearhead the 2020 iteration of the VIFF’s Catalyst Mentorship Program, and curated the highly success #Indigeneity series for Reel Causes. His short This Bright Flash has screened at VIFF, FTQFF, The Lift-Off Sessions LA, FNFVF Chicago and Mexico City.

Dr Sharon Fortney is a curator, researcher, and writer with a PhD in anthropology from the University of British Columbia. She is MOV’s first Curator of Indigenous Collections and Engagement and has been in this position since 2017. Sharon has Klahoose (Northern Coast Salish) ancestry from her mother and German ancestry from her father. Sharon’s research interests include Coast Salish material culture - with special interests in Salish weaving and cedar root basketry, and the role of oral traditions in forming memory and identity.

Jasmine Wilson is a Musqueam community member, who has recently completed her BA in Arts at The University of British Columbia. She is currently working as the Indigenous Programs and Community Engagement Coordinator at the Museum of Vancouver and has spearheaded projects such as the museum’s Indigenous Artisan Workshop Series and is currently assisting with the expansion of reconciliation training initiatives hosted by the museum.