‘SAVJ’ premieres at CIFF and EIFF

‘SAVJ’ premieres at CIFF and EIFF

It was an exciting week for Tank Standing Buffalo and CAOS with Tank’s animated short SAVJ premiering at both Calgary International Film Festival (CIFF) and Edmonton International Film Festival (EIFF). 

With both premieres happening the week of National Truth and Reconciliation Day, the deeply personal short film made an impact with audiences during this time of national reflection.

SAVJ is the most recent in a series of autobiographical shorts by director Tank Standing Buffalo. The horror-fantasy film follows Standing Buffalo and his seven siblings as they forage for survival in a forest, even as they sense an evil presence lurking in the unseen darkness.

Tank Standing Buffalo at Calgary International Film Festival
Tank Standing Bull at the CIFF Premiere

CTV News: Calgary filmmaker Tank Standing Buffalo explores family trauma in SAVJ https://tinyurl.com/ctvsavj

Daily Hive: CIFF putting the spotlight back on Alberta films ahead of next month’s festival

Ici Alberta: Premier dévoilement de la programmation 2022 du CIFF : les films albertains ouvrent le bal https://tinyurl.com/icialberta

Calgary Herald: Spotlight back on Alberta films at Calgary International Film Festival this fall https://tinyurl.com/calhrld 

At CIFF, SAVJ was part of a nine film showcase that focused on Alberta’s diverse film-making talent: SHORTS Alberts #1. SAVJ screened alongside REBECCA’S ROOM by Gillian McKercher, COLD TEA by Asim Overstands, DEATH RATTLE by Eric Stroppel, FOUL by Ted Stenson, HEARTH OF THE LION by Vicki Chau , NOT THAT DEEP by Misha Maseka, and PIITA AAPASSKAAN by Brock Davis Mitchell.

This selection of 9 Alberta-made short films showcased diverse and plentiful talent from all around the province.

At EIFF, SAVJ was one of five shorts to be screened as a part of the Studio A 5.0 series, the final grouping in the Studio A series. Those videos included OBSCHEENIES (Dir Barry Bilinsky), THE VOICE THAT IS NEVER HEARD (Dir Shay Wilson), SPIRIT OF A NATION: THE PLACES WE BELONG (Dir: Brandon Wilson), and PEACE PIPELINE (Dirs Gitz Crazyboy & Tito Ybarra).

According to the EIFF website, this selection was chosen “to recognize Canada’s National Day For Truth and Reconciliation, today’s final instalment of STUDIO A showcases Indigenous stories, voices and creators. Thought-provoking, honest, insightful, this program will have you leaning in—wanting to learn more—and tossing your head back, in laughter.”

Tank Standing Buffalo and Cara Adu Darko at Edmonton International Film Festival
Tank Standing Buffalo and Cara Adu Darko at EIFF Premiere

From Stephen Hunt at CTV Calgary:

““The inspiration for SAVJ is my real life,” Standing Buffalo said. “Events in the movie actually happened.  That time we all lived in Rondeau Park (in southwestern Ontario) with no adults.

“It was the last time we were all together,” he said. “We were completely free. (It was) the best time with my seven siblings, before children’s services split us up.

“I wound up in juvenile detention, a lot of terrible events took place, and I never lived with the family again.” 

Coming on the heels of the horrifying discoveries of human remains of residential school children across Canada over the past several years, Standing Buffalo’s new film sounds ripped straight from the headlines.

“SAVJ speaks to deeper issues in Canadian culture and history,” Standing Buffalo says. 

“There are more Indigenous kids in foster care than there ever were in the country’s shameful residential school system, just the latest version of the same colonial system stealing kids when assimilation won’t work.””

Tank Standing Buffalo with Calgary Mayor Jyoti Gondek
Tank Standing Buffalo and Calgary Mayor Jyoti Gondek

More screenings are happening this year for the outstanding short. ImagineNative Film and New Media Festival will screen SAVJ in Toronto on October 22nd, and Shockfest Film Festival: Theater of Mystery will screen it on December 10th 2022.

The ImagiNative Film and Media Arts Festival in Toronto “promotes Indigenous-made media by developing platforms for artists to assert their voices, express their perspectives, and share their cultures.” SAVJ can be found in Program 12 – Dark Matter, in person (October 22nd) and online (October 24-30). 

Put CAOS in your school

Put CAOS in your school

Let your imagination run wild with a ridiculously fun CAOS Media Art Residency. Create short videos using simple animation techniques, puppetry, and live action. Tackle curriculum goals and gain hands-on experience with technology. Working with a single class, or the entire school, CAOS Media Art Residencies are tailor-made for any age range, and run from 1 day to 6 months.

It’s amazing how students who rarely engage could hardly wait for another class with CAOS.
– Patricia, a teacher

For more information, contact CAOS at office@animatedobjects.ca



CAOS Book Launch

Who’s the Puppet Now?

Pick up this astonishing collection of photographic portraits of the brightest lights in the world of puppetry, mask, and animated objects. Photographer Sean Dennie takes you behind the mask to meet the person behind the art. Who’s the Puppet Now? is a beautiful hard-bound book comprised of over 100 imaginative and revealing portraits, captured by Dennie during six IFAO from 2002-2013. Artists’ thoughts, words, and philosophies accompany the stunning photography.


Purchase a copy online, or drop by the Festival Info / Merchandise Booth during IFAO.


CAOS thanks The Calgary Foundation for their support of Who’s the Puppet Now? and of the Festival Digital Video Archive, which has digitized six years of IFAO performances.

Supported by The Calgary Foundation.

WP Puppet Theatre Learning Component

WP PUPPET THEATRE and PUPPET POWER 2016 is pleased to coordinate IFAO’s Learning Component. This is a wonderful opportunity for artists, educators, students, activists, and professionals to gain fascinating behind-the-scenes knowledge.

Workshops include:

March 12 – Thursday Thinking Panel

March 14 – Puppetry for Green Screen Workshop

March 14 – Breakfast with Sleepy Artists Panel

March 14 – Polystyrene Carving Workshop

March 15 – Moving and Making Puppets Workshop

March 15 – Giving Life to Material Lecure/Demo 

To book an artist into your school or community, contact WP: wppuppet@telus.net, or 403.619.2501.

Download this brochure to learn more about the artists and programming available.

Save the Date! Puppet Power 2016, Connecting Generations is a conference exploring the ways puppets celebrate, educate, and advocate for seniors and their communities. May 27-29, 2016.

Since 2001 WP’s Puppet Power event has offered hands-on workshops, presentations, idea-sessions, and more, generating thought-provoking conversations surrounding controversial and significant social issues.

Explore WP Puppet’s full roster of family, community & school programming, at www.wppuppet.com