Media Release: Indigenous films take centre stage at Forest City Film Festival

London, ON. – London’s film festival is joining the national conversation about First Nations people and inclusion.

Fresh from opening the Toronto International Film Festival, the Forest City Film Festival will screen the Martin Scorsese-produced Once Were Brothers: Robbie Robertson and The Band.

The feature documentary follows Robertson from his early life in Toronto and on the Six Nations of the Grand River reserve near Brantford, Ontario to the creation of legendary roots-rock group The Band.

But the story of the rock music legend is just the beginning, as the Festival is screening several films with a First Nations focus, said executive director Dorothy Downs.

“We are very excited about these films which reflect some of the national discussion on First Nations issues happening today. These are important stories and we feel fortunate to be able to showcase them this year” said Downs.

The films are:

  • iskwé – Little Star, an animated film about racism and the way the media covered the murders of two Indigenous youths, 15-year-old Tina Fontaine in 2014 and 22-year-old Colten Boushie in 2016.
  • Emptying the Tank is a short documentary portrait of Chippewa of the Thames First Nation female mixed martial artist Ashley Nichols.
  • Illusions of Control is a documentary following five women who live in the wake of human-created disasters and one story is of the Indigenous community in Yellowknife confronting environmental challenges.
  • One Day in the Life of Noah Piugattuk is a feature film about a nomadic Inuit community that lives off the land and how they deal with the pressure to assimilate in settler society in the 1960s.
  • In the feature documentary Room To Grow, LGBTQ+ youth discuss their struggles with identity and highlights the unique way a London-based First Nations subject shares their experiences.

Nyla Innuksuk will speak at the Festival Industry Sessions on inclusion and diversity. She is a filmmaker and writer, having created a character for Marvel Comics, Snowguard, a teenage superhero and a member of Marvel’s Champions League. Originally from Igloolik, Nunavut, she studied film at Ryerson University. The link to her bio is here:!

“I’m really excited to be a part of the Forest City Film Festival and am glad to see the strong program of Indigenous cinema being presented. For years films have been made about us, and in order to have authentic representation of Indigenous Canadians on film, we need Indigenous people making them and festivals like this one recognizing that work,” said Innuksuk.

The Festival, from Oct. 23-27, will screen more than 65 films over five days at four downtown venues. The Festival showcases features, documentaries, shorts and animation, all with a connection to Southwestern Ontario. For the first time, the Festival will also screen a collection of films from the Toronto International Film Festival and a Youth Film Festival.

Learn more at

Media contact:
Dorothy Downs,
Executive Director
Forest City Film Festival

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