It is 30 years since the Oka Crisis magnified tensions between French Canadian settlers and the Mohawk community in neighboring Kanesatake as a sometimes violent standoff boiled on through the long, hot summer of 1990. Mohawk filmmaker Tracey Deer was 12 at the time, and the writer-director has transformed her memories of that period into a singularly compelling and political coming-of-age movie.

"Beans" (the exuberant Kiawentiio) is a model daughter; studious, polite and attentive. But her innocence makes her soft - too soft for the real world. Protesting a planned expansion to the Oka golf course across an ancestral cemetery, the Mohawk blockade roads and are in turn blockaded by locals and police. For Beans and her kid sister the protests seem fun, at first, but they are unprepared for the ugly racism and violence that follows. At the same time, Beans falls under the spell of an older girl: April (Paulina Alexis) is angry, neglected, and only too ready to show her new friend what’s up. Sensitively drawn, alternately delicate and raw, Deer’s movie is moving and important testimony.


Includes an interview with Director: Tracey Deer, Actors: Kiawentiio and Rainbow Dickerson

Director Icon Director
Tracey Deer

Kiawentiio, Rainbow Dickerson, Violah Beauvais, Paulina Alexis, D’Pharaoh McKay Woon-a-Tai
Executive Producer Meredith Vuchnich, Justine Whyte
Producer Anne-Marie Gélinas
Screenwriter Tracey Deer, Meredith Vuchnich
Cinematographer Marie Davignon
Editor Sophie Farkas Bolla
Production Design André Chamberland
Music Mario Sévigny
Production Company EMAfilms Inc.
Source Mongrel Media Inc.
Canada 2020 92 min. English, French with English subtitles
Media Partners


Please note that VIFF 2020 online films can be viewed in British Columbia only.

Deer, Tracey headshot


Tracey Deer led the acclaimed dramedy Mohawk Girls to five award-winning seasons as its co-creator, director, and co-showrunner. She recently returned from Los Angeles, where she was a writing co-EP on the Netflix/CBC series Anne with an E. She’s currently working on Inner City Girl, a feature about Aboriginal gang life, with Original Pictures. Tracey’s work has been honoured with two Gemini Awards and numerous awards from film festivals.

Selected Filmography
Mohawk Girls (2005); Club Native (2008)