A debut feature by Myriam Verreault, adapted by Naomi Fontaine from her critically-acclaimed novel of the same name, Kuessipan, which means ‘your turn’ in the Innu language, tells of two girls growing up as best friends in an Innu community in north-eastern Québec. Mikuan (Sharon Ishpatao Fontaine) has a loving family, while Shaniss (Yamie Grégoire) comes from a more troubled background. Their vow to stay close, no matter what, comes under pressure when Shaniss gives birth to a child fathered by an Innu boy Mikuan considers a violent ne’er-do-well, and when Mikuan in turn becomes involved with a non-Innu white boy and plans to leave the reserve on which they live. Will their friendship, heretofore solid as a rock, withstand the tribulations of adulthood? A beautifully photographed portrait of the harsh lives of Québec’s Innu people - Fontaine used the word ‘kuessipan’ as the title of her novel to make it clear that it’s now their turn to tell their story.
Kuessipan won the Grand Jury Prize at the 2019 Quebec City International Film Festival, the WIFF Prize in Canadian Film at the Windsor International Film Festival 2019 and the Best Editing in Feature Film Award at the 2020 Canadian Cinema Editors Awards.
“Quiet and mesmerizing and tragic and full of hope. It is a triumph, and a privilege to spend time with.” – Globe and Mail, Toronto.
“Myriam Verreault does not avoid the harsh realities that plague the reserves, far from it. However, she is betting on showing us resilient, strong (even in moments of weakness) and often very funny characters.” - Cinéfilic, Québec.
“Myriam Verreault, in her feature debut, takes Fontaine’s story and crafts it into a coming-of-age tale; the white director worked closely with Fontaine in order to learn about the culture, to capture the Innu with as much truth and respect as possible. She excels, crafting a film told through an indigenous lens that discusses universal themes of friendship, identity, love and heartbreak.” - Sara Clements, Exclaim!
Sharon Fontaine-Ishpatao, Yamie Grégoire, Étienne Galloy, Cédrick Ambroise, Caroline Vachon, Mike Innu Papu McKenzie, Douglas Grégoire, Brigitte Poupart
Montagnais, French, English