Original title: Yintah
Directed by: Michael Toledano; Jennifer Wickam; Brenda Michell
Produced by: Jennifer Wickam; Brenda Michell; Michael Toledano; Franklin Lopez (Yintah Film Ltd., Canada)
Country of production: Canada
Runtime: 90'; 44' (CBC broadcast)
Expected release: January, 2023
Production stage: Rough cut edit
Budget: $1,252,000 CAD (100% in place)
1st feature: Yes
Looking for: International distributor; festivals
Yintah (the Wet’suwet’en word for land) follows Howilhkat Freda Huson and Sleydo’ Molly Wickham as they mobilize their nation in a decade-long battle against fossil fuel corporations, the Canadian government, and militarized police. Building homes and a healing centre on the route proposed for a series of gas and oil pipeline projects, Wet’suwet’en families assert their right to protect their land.
Michael Toledano is an award winning filmmaker and journalist based in British Columbia Canada, who has been documenting the historic, Indigenous-led resistance to fossil fuel pipelines on Wet’suwet’en territory since 2014. Michael has a strong background in photojournalism and documentary filmmaking. His work has been published by VICE, Al Jazeera America, Democracy Now!, CBC Fifth Estate, and shown across every major Canadian television news network. He is known for vibrant, ground-level documentation of social movements ranging from Black Lives Matter Toronto to No One is Illegal.
Jennifer Wickham is a member of Cas Yikh (Grizzly House) of the Gidimt’en (Bear/Wolf) Clan of the Wet’suwet’en people. She fell in love with Wedzin Kwa in 2012 and moved home to defend her against the multiple pipelines proposed through her traditional territories. (ctd. below)
Brenda Michell is Chief K-eltiy of the Unist’ot’en people of the Wet’suwet’en Nation. She has lived in the Wet’suwet’en communities of Witset and Burns Lake all her life, and was groomed to participate in Wet’suwet’en governance from a young age. Brenda is trained as a Wet’suwet’en language instructor and has worked as a post-secondary education coordinator for the Lake Babine Nation Band for decades. Brenda is a grandmother of ten and this fight is about protecting the Yintah for her grandchildren. She believes that this film is an important way to tell her people’s story and listen to the words of her Grandmother Knedebeas who always told her children, “Don’t let no white man take my yintah.”
Jennifer Wickham is the Media Coordinator for Gidimt’en Checkpoint, a published poet, and is committed to defending the land for future generations. Her professional career includes being a high school educator, youth advocate, and work in language and culture revitalization.
Born in San Juan, Puerto Rico, producer and editor Franklin López has been making political films for over 30 years, with a focus on social justice and environmental issues. He has published hundreds of films online since 1998 under the name subMedia, which have been watched by millions, broadcast on international TV networks and screened in alleyways and movie theaters all around the world. He has received accolades from the New York Times and Wired Magazine and had an entire chapter dedicated to this work in Breaking the Spell, a book about video activism.