Holy Angels

Holy Angels

Client: BC & Yukon Studio of The National Film Board of Canada

Dir. Jay Cardinal Villeneuve
Arri Alexa Mini / 15 min. / 2017

On the outskirts of Fort Chipewyan, Alberta, stands Angels Residential School, an ominous brick building, built in 1874. Using Holy Angels as a backdrop, filmmaker Jay Cardinal Villeneuve takes us on a healing journey that combines the stories of Elder Lena Wandering Spirit and the dance of Phoenix, a young girl who is the same age now that Lena was during her captivity at Holy Angels.

c. 2017

Official Selection - Highlights: 

Imagine Native 2017, Toronto, Canada (Opening Gala)

Festival History: 

Whistler Film Festival 2017, Whistler, BC, Canada
Victoria Film Festival 2018, Victoria, BC, Canada
Maoriland Film Festival 2018, New Zealand
Yorkton Film Festival 2018, Yorkton, Saskatchewan, Canada
Seattle International Film Festival 2018, Seattle, Washington, USA

"The short documentary (14 minutes) tells a powerful and personal story about Canada’s colonialist history through impressionistic images and the fragmented language of a child. Filmed with elegance, precision, and fierce determination to not only uncover history but move past it, “Holy Angels” speaks of the resilience of a people who have found ways of healing – and of coming home again."
- Alberta Native News, (Sept. 21, 2018)


Canadian Society of Cinematographers Nominee for Best Cinematography in a DocuDrama at the 2018 CSC Awards

Nominee for Best Cinematography in a Short Drama at the Leo Awards 2018

Yorkton Film Festival 2018 Golden Sheaf Awards, 2 Nominations: Indigenous Award and Documentary, Social/Political

Award for Best Alberta Short Documentary at the Edmonton International Film Festival 2018, Edmonton, AB, Canada