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Les Filles du Roi film image; woman stands in field

National Indigenous Peoples Day

June 21

For National Indigenous Peoples Day we invited Urban Ink’s Artistic Director, Corey Payette, to curate four films. Corey is a storyteller, writer, composer, producer, and directed his first film last year, Les Filles du Roi.

Free admission to Indigenous-identifying patrons. Call (604) 683-3456 or visit the VIFF Centre Box Office at 1181 Seymour St to book tickets. Helpline open Monday-Friday 12:00 pm-5:00 pm.


Presented with

Corey Payette headshot

Photo by Luke Fontana

His feature film directing debut was Stories That Transform Us, which premiered in 2021. This was followed by the award-winning feature musical film Les Filles du Roi, which he directed, composed, and co-wrote the screenplay. This film has been officially selected in over 10 International Film Festivals including VIFF 2023, and won Best Feature, Best Director, and Best Original Score at the Flathead Lake International Cinemafest and Best Music at the Hamilton Film Festival. Recently, Les Filles du Roi received 8 Leo Award Nominations including Best Motion Picture, Best Director, and Best Original Score. His next musical feature film Starwalker began development under Warner Media / Access Canada writer’s program and is currently in post-production, to be released in 2025.

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Curator’s Notes

Julie McIsaac and I started working on this story 10 years ago, and we truly never imagined that it would have the kind of life that it has had. We dreamed of feminizing and Indigenizing the narrative of Canada. It feels like the story starts in 1665 and ends today. We are still in this history.

On Les Filles du Roi

Having grown up in rural Northern Ontario, Wildhood immediately felt familiar to me, both in terms of its landscape, but also its gay narrative. Director Bretten Hannam works wonders in crafting this beautifully delicate and heartfelt journey.

On Wildhood

Marie Clements is a genius creator and I watched Bones of Crows with a mix of sadness for the story but also a wonder for the artistry. This film is a modern classic, featuring so many extraordinary artists in front of and behind the camera. It is the definition of Indigenous excellence.

On Bones of Crows

Cody Lightning has captured so much of the raunchy and fun humour that is so much a part of Indigenous communities. His mockumentary style film made me laugh out loud and made me revisit the classic Smoke Signals after many years.

On Hey Viktor!

Les Filles du Roi

Corey Payette's rousing microbudget musical (adapted from the Urban Ink stage production he cowrote with Julie McIsaac) chronicles the friendship between a seventeenth century French woman and a Mohawk trader and his sister.

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When Link discovers that his Mi’kmaw mother may still be alive, he and his half-brother finally have purpose. On the road to Mi’kma’ki, they pick up a drifter who represents Link’s best chance of locating his mom and accepting his Two-Spirit nature.

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Bones of Crows

Vancouver-born Dene/Métis writer-director Marie Clements lays out a hard history of Indigenous resilience in this urgent, harrowing epic, spanning most of the 20th century; the story of a Cree woman from childhood, through residential school, WWII, and beyond.

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Hey Viktor!

25 years after the success of the iconic film Smoke Signals, a disheveled former child actor decides to create a sequel to relive his fame. This mockumentary follows him on the chaotic uphill journey to do whatever it takes to make it big again.

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