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Kímmapiiyipitssini: The Meaning of Empathy

Directed by Elle-Máijá Tailfeathers
Canada, 2021 (documentary, 125 minutes, colour, English)
Also known as "Kímmapiiyipitssini : la voie de l'empathie"
Kímmapiiyipitssini: The Meaning of Empathy
Image: © National Film Board of Canada
Video (National Film Board of Canada)

Film Description:
"Elle-Máijá Tailfeathers' film witnesses radical and profound change in her community. Kímmapiiyipitssini: The Meaning of Empathy is an intimate portrait of survival, love and the collective work of healing in the Kainai First Nation in Southern Alberta, a Blackfoot community facing the impacts of substance use and a drug-poisoning epidemic. Community members active in addiction and recovery, first responders and medical professionals implement harm reduction to save lives. This work is contextualized within the historical and contemporary impacts of settler colonialism; Kímmapiiyipitssini: The Meaning of Empathy draws a connecting line between the effects of colonial violence on Blackfoot land and people and the ongoing substance-use crisis. Held in love and hope for the future, Kímmapiiyipitssini: The Meaning of Empathy asks the audience to be a part of this remarkable change with the community."
-- National Film Board of Canada (source)

Film Credits (partial):
Written by: Elle-Maija Tailfeathers
Produced by: Elle-Maija Tailfeathers, David Christensen, Lori Lozinski
Participants: Dr. Esther Tailfeathers, Kirby Manyfingers, Tim Tailfeathers, Darwin Fisher, Lynda LaPretre, Tyler Bigchild, Michelle Wishart, Dr. Christy Sutherland, Tod Spencer, Pam Little Bear, Lori Eagle Plume, Melanie Old Shoes, Mariah Shouting, Kenneth Wood, Sonjae Bare Shin Bone, Leah Crazybull, George Calling Last, Maggie Kronen, Stephanie Brown Weasel, Dallas Hindbull, Robyn Fox-Oka, Robert Calf, Bryan Smith, Sean Chief Moon, Ky Bird-Shouting, Jeremy Weasel Moccasin, Roxi White Quills, Chief Roy Fox, Shae Standing Alone, Kalon Sharp Adze, Geraldine Shade, Nolan Little Bear, Rady Goodrider, Stacey Bourque, Lloyd Chief Calf, Travis Bird, Mark Brave Rock, Gina Hunt, Sylvester 'Sly' Daniels, Marcia White Quills, Lynda Eagle Speaker, Kevin Cowan, Jacen Abrey, Lani Blackwater, Trinity White Feathers, Sergeant John Connor, Virginia Tailfeathers, Lester Tailfeathers, Eline Van Munt, Leslie Wells, Kara Eagle Bear, Rylan, Warren Potts, Jeff Fox, Chantelle Vailleres, Leonard Chief Moon, Austin Tallman, Judy Sept, Tyler Chief Calf, Baby Boy, Lorne Taylor
Cinematography: Patrick McLaughlin
Film Editing: Hans Olson
Music: Chandra Melting Tallow
Production Company: National Film Board of Canada / Office national du film du Canada, Seen Through Woman Productions
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Awards won by Kímmapiiyipitssini: The Meaning of Empathy

Notes about Kímmapiiyipitssini: The Meaning of Empathy

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Quotes by the Director

"Abstinence has worked for people who have an addiction to alcohol, but it wasn't working for people addicted to opioids or stronger narcotics. So, I had to consider how to bring these arguments forward [in Kímmapiiyipitssini: The Meaning of Empathy] in a way that doesn't frame the people who believe in abstinence as being in the wrong, and the people who [support] harm reduction as being the heroes."
-- Elle-Máijá Tailfeathers (source)

"Open hostility toward Indigenous people exists in many places in Canada, but the Prairies has its own distinct brand of racism. It was challenging to contain the anger I feel about the way my people are treated, without having that skew my ability to tell this story [Kímmapiiyipitssini: The Meaning of Empathy]. It was a challenge. But I tried to reflect the humility, dignity and respect I see in my community and its leaders. I tried to channel them."
-- Elle-Máijá Tailfeathers (source)

Quote about Kímmapiiyipitssini: The Meaning of Empathy

"The [Canadian Screen Awards] prize for best feature-length documentary went to Kímmapiiyipitssini: The Meaning of Empathy from filmmaker Elle-Máijá Tailfeathers from the Kainai First Nation. Tailfeathers was also recognized for performing talents as best lead actress in Night Raiders, adding a sixth award to the Indigenous thriller's collection. A visibly emotional Tailfeathers thanked Cree-Métis director Danis Goulet and the rest of the film's team, dedicating the award to her family. 'I'd like to dedicate it to my grandparents, who both survived residential school and lived their lives with love, strength and dignity,' said Tailfeathers. And to my father who survived the Sami boarding school system and to my mother, who showed me what living and leading with love looks like."
-- Adina Bresge (source)

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