Helen Haig-Brown at the Vancouver International Film Festival in October where her film Edge of the Knife won three awards. (VIFF/Carlos Bonmati Photo)

Edge of the Knife wins big at TIFF and VIFF

Tsilhqot’in filmmaker makes waves with her film Edge of the Knife winning five film festival awards.

Tsilhqot’in filmmaker continues to make waves with her new film Edge of the Knife winning several film festival awards.

Indigenous Helen Haig-Brown has always had a passion for telling untold stories, specifically those of the First Nation peoples of Canada. After more than a decade of filmmaking, she’s no stranger to the industry and the film festival circuit.

Her latest project, Edge of the Knife, has been receiving national attention for its storytelling and unique community-minded approach to filmmaking. The film is the first to be shot entirely in dialects of the Haida language, of which only 20 fluent speakers remain, many of whom were involved in the making of the film.

Haig-Brown said that all the interest this film has generated has made her excited and shown that there is a market for Indigenous films told in Indigenous languages.

Read More: Local film receiving national attention comes to William Lake Film Club

“It just feels awesome that there is a wider and broader interest in the film and that it shows the cinematic world in Canada is shifting right now, so that’s exciting,” Haig-Brown remarked.

Set on Haida Gwaii, renamed the Queen Charlotte Islands in colonial times, in the mid-1800s century it tells the tale of two families meeting for their annual fishing retreat. A young careless man named Adiits’ii accidentally causes a tragedy during their gathering and grief-stricken, flees into the woods.

Left behind and haunted by his guilt he goes mad and becomes Gaagiixid, Wildman, a supernatural being crazed by hunger. When the families return the next year they seek to reconnect with the man within the monster and bring humanity back to Adiits’il.

Making its world premiere at the Toronto International Film Festival before coming to the Vancouver International Film Festival, the film has generated a ton of positive buzz. So much so its two initial showings at VIFF sold out, much to the delight of Haig-Brown, with a third show being added in a theatre that seats over a 1,800 people which also sold out.

The film brought home three awards at the VIFF including Best Canadian Film, Best BC Film and Most Popular Canadian Film. In Toronto, it also brought home the Sun Jury Award at the ImagineNATIVE Film Festival and the TIFF Top Ten Award of 2018.

“What feels amazing, to me, is not only the awards but the number of people who have been requesting and wanting to come to see the film,” Haig-Brown said. “It just finished 10 days of theatrical release in Vancouver at the Vancity Theatre and now they’ve just added another day in the new year.”

Its film festival tour days are not over according to Haig-Brown as she said there are “quite a lot” of festivals that have requested to air it, worldwide including the United Kingdom, Washington D.C and a wide range of others “all over”.

Its American and International release has yet to be determined but, as noted in our previous article, its premiere in Williams Lake has. This Friday at 7 p.m. in the Gibraltar Room the Williams Lake Film Club will be hosting a showing of this award-winning film.

Read More: New film club organizer excited to bring TIF to lakecity

“To any of the people in the Cariboo-Chilcotin and particularly the Tshilqot’in Nation please come check out the movie. We’re going to be doing a similar process in (my upcoming) Chilcotin War film, where we’re going to be able to do a homegrown community driven project coming up soon,” Haig-Brown said, encouraging any interested in taking part in a project similar to Edge of the Knife to contact her.

She will be returning to the Chilcotin next year to begin research on her next project.



patrick.davies@wltribune.com

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter

 

The Wildman, played by Tyler York, known to the Haida Nation as Gaagiixid in Helen Haig-Brown’s Edge of the Knife. (Photo submitted)

Just Posted

Second teen dies after injuries sustained in Saturday crash near Williams Lake

‘Someone’s going to get her heart, which is awesome, because she has the best heart in the world’

‘She was just beginning her adult life’: parents of Williams Lake crash victim Autumn Weir

“She was kind and caring and everyone she knew loved her.”

Second young woman dies after rollover crash near Williams Lake

‘Someone’s going to get her heart, which is awesome, because she has the best heart in the world’

Google searches for ‘how to vote’ surge on Election Day

Interest spikes despite social media campaign by Elections Canada

Alberta man pleads guilty, fined for hunting without a licence in North Island

It’s the responsibility of each hunter or angler to know whether they are considered a B.C. Resident.

B.C. mayor apologizes for removal of Queen’s portrait from council chambers

‘I prefer to be inclusive of the many aspects of our history’

Rare bird spotted in Victoria draws enthusiasts from across the continent

It’s the first time a yellow-browed warbler has been reported on the mainland of North America

B.C. woman must pay $1,000 after unleashed dog bites another

Owner should never have left Bibi unattended, tribunal member wrote

Climate activist Greta Thunberg’s mural defaced in Edmonton

The eyes on the portrait were blacked out

Report suggests new BC Ferries terminal near YVR

Metro Vancouver currently has two ferry terminals at northern and southern reaches

Most Read