OPENING NIGHT | AUSTRALIAN PREMIERE
Friday 26 April
Opening ceremony: 6.30pm outside ACMI (Federation Square side)
Welcome to Country, speeches and screening: 7pm ACMI Cinema 2
ACMI Cinema 2 | Unclassified Restricted to persons 15 and over unless accompanied by an adult
$40 includes entry to afterparty with a drink and hors d’oeuvres

We are very proud to present the Australian Premiere of Sgaawaay K’uuna (Edge of the Knife) as the opening night film of the inaugural BIRRARANGGA Film Festival.

Sgaawaay K’uuna is Directed by Gwaai Edenshaw (Haida) and Helen Haig-Brown (Tsilhqot’in), and is unlike any film you have ever seen or heard. It makes history as the first film made entirely in the Haida-language. Despite being nearly lost to the terrible consequences of disease, residential schools, the church and government intervention , there are currently less than 60 fluent speakers of Haida, many over the age of 70. Sgaawaay K’uuna is the first narrative feature film for both directors.

On the islands of Haida Gwaii, two extended families reunite at their annual summer fishing camp. Soon conflict between a charismatic young man, Adiits’ii, and his best friend Kwa, begins to tear their interwoven families apart. When Adiits’ii’s recklessness and arrogance result in a tragic incident, he flees into the rainforest abandoning his family and way of life. Wracked with grief and shame, Adiits’ii descends into madness and transforms into a Gaagiixid, a ravenous “wildman” caught between worlds and consumed by insatiable hunger. When the families return the following summer, they realize Adiits’ii has survived the winter. Now while the community hopes to restore Adiits’ii’s humanity, Kwa wrestles with his deepest desire… revenge.

Gwaai Edenshaw is a contemporary artist, pole carver, and a jeweller. He was apprentice to master artists Guujaaw and Bill Reid. New to film, Sgaawaay K’uuna - which he also wrote - is his directorial debut. 

Helen Haig-Brown is an award-winning director and a leading talent in experimental documentary. Her short film The Cave (commissioned by imagineNATIVE) was named to Canada’s Top Ten Shorts by TIFF. My Legacy, her first feature documentary, focuses on the transformation and healing of intergenerational trauma to trust and love from colonial impacts such as Residential School, smallpox and the Tsilhqot’in War. This is Helen’s first dramatic feature film.

Directors: Gwaai Edenshaw (Haida) & Helen Haig-Brown (Tsilhqot’in)
Writer: Gwaai Edenshaw (Haida)
Producers: Jonathan Frantz & Stephen Grosse 
Language: Haida | English subtitles
Canada | 2018 | 99 mins

Please note: Opening night celebrations include a Welcome to Country with a special performance by the Djirri Djirri dance group, a premiere screening and an afterparty.