Kímmapiiyipitssini: The Meaning of Empathy

Kímmapiiyipitssini: The Meaning of Empathy

“It is how our ancestors survived genocide and it is how we, as a community, will survive this crisis. Kimmapiiyipitssini is our harm reduction” Elle-Máijá Tailfeathers, Director 

Witnessing radical and profound change in her community – award-winning actor, screenwriter and director Elle-Máijá Tailfeathers’ film is an intimate portrait of survival, love and the collective work of healing in the Kainai First Nation in Southern Alberta, a Blackfoot community facing the impacts of substance use and a drug-poisoning epidemic.

Community members active in addiction and recovery, first responders and medical professionals implement harm reduction to save lives. This work is contextualized within the historical and contemporary impacts of settler colonialism; Kímmapiiyipitssini: The Meaning of Empathy draws a connecting line between the effects of colonial violence on Blackfoot land and people and the ongoing substance-use crisis.

Held in love and hope for the future, Kímmapiiyipitssini: The Meaning of Empathy asks the audience to be a part of this remarkable change with the community.

“Award-winning filmmaker tackles misrepresentation of crisis in her nation” Dennis Ward, APTN, Face to face.

Awards and Nominations

Hot Docs Canadian International Documentary Festival, 2021, Toronto, Canada, Rogers Audience Award for Best Canadian Feature Documentary
DOXA Documentary Film Festival, 2021, Vancouver, Canada, Colin Low Award for Best Canadian Director
CIFF Calgary International Film Festival, 2021, Calgary, Canada, Audience Choice Award – Best Canadian Documentary Feature


Elle-Máijá Tailfeathers


English and Blackfoot
(some English subtitles)

Film Details

2021, 125 min,