The imagineNATIVE Film + Media Arts Festival (imagineNATIVE) runs from October 17-22, 2023 in person in Toronto, and October 23-29, 2023 streaming online. The Festival showcases 14 feature films, 70 short films across 11 short film programs, 21 digital and interactive works, and 17 audio works. 

Each work presented at the festival is led by an Indigenous creative. The Festival will also present 7 exhibitions throughout the city, and many live musical performances. This year’s programming features films from around the globe spanning 74 Indigenous Nations and 40 Indigenous languages, including Māori, Innu-aimun, Inuktitut, Northern Sami, and Yakut to name a few. This year’s theme of “homecoming” will ensure feelings of welcoming, warmth, and kindness are interwoven into every space of the festival week in Tkaron:to (Toronto).

Fancy Dance from director Erica Tremblay will open this year’s festival with Cody Lightning’s irreverent comedy Hey, Viktor! closing out the festival. Grouped thematically, the short films will be showcased in short film programs, including the Witching Hour, Queerdom, “That’s My Baby!”, From Land to Water, For The Grandbabies, Into The Unknown, Staying Vigilant, Embracing Loss, Long Line of Ladies, A Mother’s Love, and You Know Who You Are.

The festival also announced this year’s special events and digital programming. Returning for another year of digital festivities, the Festival features 21 digital and interactive works from Indigenous artists from around the world. This year’s festival theme aims to showcase works that “make our spaces feel like visiting grandma/totah/kookum.”

Kicking off the festivities will be this year’s Welcome Gathering featuring Manitou Mkwa Singers, Cotee Harper, Skye Dancers, and Poet Jennifer Alicia, followed by the Opening Night Party, sponsored by CBC, with multiple DJs performing, including headliner Boogey The Beat. On October 18, 2023 imagineNATIVE’s Art Crawl will take over multiple venues and gallery spaces to bring 7 exhibitions and 19 artists to the city for an interactive multi-gallery experience.

Back for another year is the iNdigital Space and imagineNATIVE Arcade open from October 18 to October 21, 2023 at the TIFF Bell Lightbox, Gallery for free.This large-scale presentation invites you to see, listen, and play with the diverse Official Selection, which includes VR, 360, AR, video games, and interactive web and digital media works.

For Indigenous screen industry professionals, imagineNATIVE’s Industry Days is hosting several meetings, panels, and networking events throughout the festival including the imagineNATIVE + APTN lumi Web Series Pitch, the New Media Masterclass, a Two-Spirit + Indigiqueer Storytelling panel, an AI + the Industry panel, and a Directing from Film to TV panel.

Tickets, Schedule, and More Information

For more information on this year’s festival, click here, and to purchase tickets click here.  

About the Author

Bryen Dunn is a freelance journalist with a focus on travel, lifestyle, entertainment and hospitality. He has an extensive portfolio of celebrity interviews with musicians, actors and other public personalities. He enjoys discovering delicious eats, tasting spirited treats, and being mesmerized by musical beats.