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Aitamaako’Tamisskapi Natosi: Before the Sun Leads Available Light Winners

Fest runs in person to Feb. 18, online to Feb. 24

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Aitamaako’Tamisskapi Natosi: Before the Sun topped the winners at this year’s Available Light Film Festival. The Whitehorse festival announced the recipients of the annual Made in the North Awards last night on social media. Aitamaako’Tamisskapi Natosi: Before the Sun, directed by Banchi Hanuse, won Best Canadian Feature. The film observes Siksika rider Logan Red Crow as she defies the odds and excels in the Indian Horse Relay, an extreme sport traditionally dominated by men.

Featuring acclaimed cinematography by Ben Giesbrecht and Luke Connor, the documentary has been a favourite on the festival circuit, drawing accolades at festivals such as Big Sky, Calgary, VIFF, Gimli, and at B.C.’s Leo Awards where it won five prizes including Best Feature Length Documentary. Aitamaako’Tamisskapi Natosi: Before the Sun screens again at ALFF on Saturday, February 17.

Cody Lightning’s mockumentary Hey, Viktor! received an honourable mention in the category. The comedy sees Lightning try to recapture/extend the 15 minutes of fame he enjoyed after appearing in a small role in the 1990s’ comedy Smoke Signals. Hey, Viktor! was selected by the Toronto International Film Festival for Canada’s Top Ten in 2023.

On the shorts front, Bruce Thomas Miller’s drama Conviction won Best Canadian Short, while Douglas Joe’s drama Datrin (Raven) won Best Northern Short. Irninnu Unikaara, directed by Ipeelie Ootoova, received an honourable mention. The Available Light Film Festival runs in person through Feb. 18 with select films streaming online until Feb. 24.

Pat Mullen is the publisher of POV Magazine. He holds a Master’s in Film Studies from Carleton University where his research focused on adaptation and Canadian cinema. Pat has also contributed to outlets including The Canadian Encyclopedia, Paste, That Shelf, Sharp, Xtra, and Complex. He is the vice president of the Toronto Film Critics Association and an international voter for the Golden Globe Awards.

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