Elle-Máijá Tailfeathers is a filmmaker, writer, and actor. She is a member of the Kainai First Nation (Blood Tribe, Blackfoot Confederacy) as well as Sámi from Norway. She graduated from the University of British Columbia with a Bachelor’s Degree in First Nations Studies and a Minor in Women’s and Gender Studies. She is also an alumni of Vancouver Film School’s Full-time Acting Program.
She began her filmmaking career in 2011 with the experimental student short, Bloodland. Since then, she has gone on to explore narrative fiction, documentary, mockumentary, music video, and archival video remix. Her work is often community focused and rooted in social justice. Her award-winning films have screened at festivals around the world including the Vancouver International Film Festival, imagineNATIVE Film and Media Arts Festival, the Seattle International Film Festival, and the TIFF Top Ten Festival.
Elle-Máijá is an alumni of the Berlinale Talent Lab and the International Sámi Film Institute’s Indigenous Film Fellowship. She is also a member of the Embargo Collective II. She was presented with the 2014 Vancouver Mayor’s Arts Award as an emerging artist in film and new media and a Vancouver Women in Film Kodak Image Award for her work on A Red Girl’s Reasoning. She is currently developing a long-form documentary (with the support of the National Film Board of Canada and the Hot Docs Cross Currents Fund) on her community’s brave response to the ongoing fentanyl crisis and directing a feature-length documentary birthed from the c̓əsnaʔəm, the city before the city 3-site Museum exhibition with the Musqueam Indian Band, the UBC Museum of Anthropology, and the Museum of Vancouver.
She is nominated for a 2017 Canadian Screen Award for her role in On the Farm (aka Unclaimed). She was also nominated for Leo Awards for her performances in Not Indian Enough and On the Farm (Unclaimed). She was also nominated for American Indian Motion Picture Awards for her roles in White Indians Walking and On the Farm (aka Unclaimed). Her acting credits include roles in On the Farm, Not Indian Enough, White Indians Walking, The Guard, The Reaper, Shattered, and Another Cinderella Story. She has also appeared on stage in Presentation House Theater’s Where the River Meets the Sea and Beaivváš Sámi National Theater’s Silbajávri.
Her creative and non-fiction work has appeared in publications such as Š Bláđit (Sámi Youth Magazine, Norway), Richard Van Camp’s Good Medicine Project, Redwire Magazine, Windspeaker, and Briarpatch Magazine.
Mavericks, Season 2, Episode: Dr. Esther Tailfeathers: Blood Reserve, 2015, 11 min, documentary, Canada, Writer/Director
- To purchase copies for educational use, please contact Salazar Film.
Bihttoš, 2014, 14 min, documentary, Canada/Norway, Writer/Director/Co-Producer
- To purchase Bihttoš for educational use, please contact Moving Images. To purchase copies of the Embargo Project (Bihttoš is one of five shorts in this collection) for educational use, please contact VTape.
State of the Nations (250 Years: Honour Your Words), 2013, 6 min, documentary/ archival remix, Canada, Producer/Director
Hurry Up, You Stupid Cripple, 2013, 10 min, documentary, Canada, Producer, Co-Director with Terreane Derrick
Colonial Gaze Sámi Artists’ Collective, 2012, 15 min, mockumentary, Norway, Co-Writer/Co-Director with Márja Bål Nango and Mátti Aikio, Produced by KOLT Márkomeannu
A Red Girl’s Reasoning, 2012, 10 min, drama, Canada, Writer/Director, Produced by the Crazy8s Film Society
- To purchase copies for educational use, please contact Paul Armstrong at the Crazy8s Film Society.
- A Red Girl’s Reasoning is also available for streaming from Cinema Politica.
Bloodland, 2011, 4 min, experimental, Canada, Writer/Director/Producer