Elle-Máijá Tailfeathers / 2021 / English / Canada / 124 mins

Kímmapiiyipitssini: The Meaning of Empathy chronicles the impact of the opioid crisis on Indigenous community. Tailfeathers focuses on Alberta’s Kainai First Nation, where her mother, Dr. Esther Tailfeathers, works tirelessly to support and educate families affected by the overdose epidemic. The film presents viewers with a series of first-hand accounts from local first responders, healthcare professionals, and people with substance-use disorder.

Kímmapiiyipitssini is a Blackfoot word for empathy and kindness. The Meaning of Empathy explains why embracing this practice is critical to combating addictions. Criminalizing drug use does not address the root problem; a legacy of colonialism and intergenerational trauma inflicted by racist government policies. The film reveals the merits of this new approach, even as it faces resistance from conservative policymakers. Tailfeathers has crafted one of the year’s most powerful films, chronicling the Kainai First Nation’s struggles, while honouring their strength and resilience.


Amar Chebib| 2020 | Canada | English | 16 min
Joe Buffalo is a prolific Indigenous skateboarder. He’s also a survivor of Canada’s notorious Indian Residential School system. Following a traumatic childhood and decades of addiction, Joe must face his inner demons to realize his dream of turning pro.



Join us at 8:30 pm ET for a live Zoom panel discussion featuring Dr. Tailfeathers and Lori Eagle Plume, who will discuss the idea of empathy being a powerful tool for combatting addiction; conversation moderated by Alexandra Lazarowich.

Alexandra Lazarowich is an award-winning Cree filmmaker from northern Alberta. Her short film Fast Horse was honoured with The Special Jury Prize for Directing at the 2019 Sundance Film Festival. Her body of work as director and producer includes LAKE, Indian Rights for Indian Women, Cree Code Talker and Empty Metal. She is the series producer for the CBC’s multi-award-winning comedy documentary series Still Standing and is one of the co-founders of COUSIN Collective.


Keywords: Addiction | Displacement | Harm reduction | Healthcare | Indigenous rights | Trauma
Thursday October 28th
5pm (in-person) 
IN-PERSON SCREENING and panel discussion + AMPLIFY
October 28
VIRTUAL SCREENING and panel discussion
October 28 – November 7
Toronto Indigenous Harm Reduction
Imagine Native
"Opening Film."




Headshot of a person facing the camera with vividly colored stretchy paper strips wrapped around their head.

Creator: Laura Shintani / A/V: Grant Padley

Neuroelastic is a self-activated artistic performance. Taking a cue from the well-known concept of Dr. Norman Doidge’s neuroplasticity, it is inspiring that the mind can adapt in new ways. The artist imagined an idea; by wrapping oneself in streams of coloured synaptic “bandages” this symbolic act can allow thoughts and feelings to show on the outside. Using photography as documentation, a capture of the moment reveals what is hidden. This artwork of self-permission reflects on not only the unseen being seen, but that it can be changed. This collection of images I hope can read as a zany family album of the mind. Neuroelastic is an interior selfie and an invitation to an altered way of being.

Laura Shintani is a Toronto-based multimedia artist who creates work in order to provoke questions in artistic forms. Shintani represents a hybrid of work, art making, study and teaching. She is interested in seeing people embrace the cycle of creativity: playing, problem solving and reflecting. Raised in small-town Ontario, Shintani later studied fashion design at Ryerson University and received a degree from the University of Toronto. After personal discovery she made art a vocation and earned a Master of Fine Art from the University of Windsor. Shintani’s most significant exhibition was at the Royal Ontario Museum in 2019.

This artist has interactive materials which will be provided in the RWM swag bag in order to interact with their virtual content. All ticket holders will be invited to receive RWM swag bags available for free curbside pickup during festival hours.

Images of the Neuroelastic installation in Re:Building Resilience:

Photos by Henry Chang

Please Note: There is one virtual ticket available for the entire Re:Building Resilience Exhibition. Whether you’d like to see one project or all of them, you only need to book one ticket to access everything. The exhibition runs October 15-25, and all ticket purchasers will be sent a link to view the virtual content. Any ticket bought prior to October 15 will receive a follow up email on the 15th with the link.


Self-Care Kits are available for free curbside pickup to ticket holders. Kits can be picked up from 651 Dufferin Street between the hours of 10AM-9PM, October 15-25. If pickup is not an accessible option for you, contact justina_zatzman@workmanarts.com for accommodation.

Mad Poetry Apothecary

Mad Poetry Apothecary


A photographic still life image with an ink bottle, books, a round analog clock with Roman numerals, large transparent bottles containing handwritten messages on yellowed paper, and a quill pen spelling out “Mad Poetry Apothecary” on a piece of paper.

Creator: Hanan Hazime



Join multidisciplinary artist and creative writer, Hanan Hazime, for an online poetry workshop and art installation. Instead of psychiatric medicine, participants  of “The Mad Poetry Apothecary” will be prescribed creative prompts that encourage mental wellness. Participants will be guided through the creation of mixed-media poetry postcards and given the opportunity to virtually showcase their work. Those who would like to participate in the virtual art installation but cannot attend the online workshops have the option of submitting their poetry postcard via email. All levels of writing and artistic skills are welcome. Folks with lived experience of mental health and/or addiction issues are highly encouraged to contribute their voices to this project.

Click here to view the virtual Mad Poetry installation.

Hanan Hazime is a multidisciplinary artist, creative writer, community arts educator and writing instructor living in Tkaronto/Toronto. She also identifies as a Lebanese-Canadian Muslimah Feminist and Mad Pride Activist. Through her intersectional and interdisciplinary artwork, Hanan aims to push boundaries, question arbitrary binaries, dispel stigmas and shatter stereotypes. Her primary mission as an arts educator is to provide accessible arts education to marginalized communities with a special focus on crafting safe, empowered spaces for Muslims, individuals with mental health challenges, folks with disabilities and BIPOC youth to discover and enhance their writing and art skills.

Online Workshop on ZOOM
Two Dates Available
  • Wed, Oct 21, 3 PM
  • Sat, Oct 24, 6 PM

If you’d like to participate in the workshop over email, please click here to register.


ASL interpretation or live transcription during this event is available by request; please contact justina_zatzman@workmanarts.com if you require these or other services to take part.

Self-Care Kits are available for free curbside pickup to ticket holders. Kits can be picked up from 651 Dufferin Street between the hours of 12PM-9PM, October 15-25. If pickup is not an accessible option for you, contact justina_zatzman@workmanarts.com for accommodation.

Hanan Hazime will be participating in the virtual panel discussion Literary Balms: the Healing Properties of Art and Text on October 19, at 4 PM. Click here to book a ticket.