A Conversation with Indigenous Filmmakers Tracey Deer and Elle-Máijá Tailfeathers

21 • 06

The third episode of Telefilm Canada’s newest podcast, Maple Popcorn, features two Indigenous filmmakers whose films are making waves on the international film festival circuit – Tracey Deer, director of Beans, and Elle-Máijá Tailfeathers, star of Canada-New Zealand coproduction Night Raiders and director of Kímmapiiyipitssini – the Meaning of Empathy.


Maple Popcorn is Telefilm Canada’s six-episode podcast series featuring interviews and roundtable conversations with Canadian TV and film icons, exploring the cultural contributions made by the Canadian film industry. In the podcast’s third episode, for Canada’s National Indigenous History Month, television director and filmmaker Tracey Deer and actress and director Elle-Máijá Tailfeathers bravely share their vulnerabilities, addressing both their careers and personal struggles they continue to experience as Indigenous women in Canada.

Tracey Deer was born and raised in the Mohawk community of Kahnawake, Quebec. Her feature-length film, Beans, is semi-autobiographical – it explores the 1990 Oka Crisis through the eyes of a young Mohawk girl. Beans debuted at TIFF in 2020 and screened at festivals in Brazil, Mexico and the United States. As part of the Official Selection at the Berlinale 2021, it won the coveted Crystal Bear for the Best Film in the Generation Kplus competition. In March, FilmRise acquired the U.S rights to the film.

Elle-Máijá Tailfeathers is a member of the Kainai First Nation (Blood Tribe, Blackfoot Confederacy) as well as Sámi from Norway. She recently starred as Niska in Night Raiders, a sci-fi apocalyptic film that follows a Cree woman who joins a resistance movement. The Canadian-New Zealand coproduction was written and directed by Cree/Métis filmmaker Danis Goulet, and lists Taika Waititi as one of its executive producers. After making its rounds at SXSW and Cannes in 2020, and Berlinale 2021, Night Raiders was acquired by Samuel Goldwyn Films. The film will next be screened at the Sydney Film Festival. Elle-Máijá Tailfeathers’ latest documentary, Kímmapiiyipitssini – the Meaning of Empathy, was recently featured at Hot Docs International Film Festival (the largest documentary festival in North America), where it won the Rogers Audience award.

You can listen to the Maple Popcorn podcast on both Apple Podcasts and Spotify!

Trigger warning: this episode was recorded just a few days after the tragic discovery of a mass grave containing children’s remains at the site of a former Residential School in Kamloops, British Columbia.

In the same category

Podcast: Sortez le popcorn, Season 2

Telefilm panels at TIFF 2021

‘Riceboy Sleeps’: Canadian-Korean Indie Film Underway With ‘The Umbrella Academy’ Alum Ethan Hwang Among Cast

SpringHill, DreamCrew And Uninterrupted Canada Team For Hockey Doc ‘Black Ice’, With Drake And LeBron James Exec Producing

Classic Canadian films find new life through Telefilm’s digitization initiative

Leading Change: An Insider’s Look at Successes, Failures and Opportunities

Telefilm Canada, Screen Ireland Board Sepia Films-ShinAwil Co-Production ‘Cry From the Sea’ (EXCLUSIVE)

Not Short on Talent: “Joe Buffalo” at Cannes 2021 Short Film Corner

Alexander Skarsgård Starring in Brandon Cronenberg’s Sci-Fi Thriller ‘Infinity Pool’

Personal Information

Collection Statement

Newsletter RDVCanada

In order to proceed with your newsletter sign-up, we require certain personal information from you. This Statement explains the purposes for collecting and using that information.

Newsletter Sign-Up

Personal information is collected in order to sign you up for the newsletter so that you can received information via e-mail. Among other things, such information includes your e-mail address, your name, your preferred language and your location (province and country). Personal information related to your sign-up will transit via the CakeMail platform, which handles and stores information on behalf of Telefilm Canada, in accordance with the policies of the service provider, which are available at the following link(s): https://www.cakemail.com/content/terms-use; https://www.cakemail.com/privacy-policy .

The collection and use of such personal information are in accordance with the Privacy Act and are in line with Telefilm Canada’s mission as specified in section 10 of the Telefilm Canada Act. Such information may be used for statistical, evaluation and reporting purposes. The information is included in the personal information bank Public Communications (PSU 914).

Privacy Inquiry

Any questions, comments, concerns or complaints regarding the administration of the Privacy Act and privacy policies may be directed to Telefilm Canada’s Privacy Coordinator by email to ATIP-AIPRP@telefilm.ca, by calling (514) 283-6363 or (800) 567-0890, by fax at (514) 283-8447, or by writing to:

Access to Information and Privacy Coordinator
360 St. Jacques Street,
Suite 600
Montréal, Quebec H2Y 1P5

If you are not satisfied with our response to your privacy concern, you may wish to contact the Office of the Privacy Commissioner by e-mail at info@priv.gc.ca or by telephone at (800) 282-1376.