6:30 - 7:45PM | Wednesday, September 19 | VISUAL Q2

independent visions | retrospective screening: thirza cuthand

Regina Public Library Film Theatre | 2311 12th Avenue Lower Level


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Thirza Cuthand

Originally from Saskatchewan (born in Regina/raised in Saskatoon), we are thrilled to have Thirza Cuthand in attendance at this retrospective screening of her video work spanning 17 years. Intimate, humourous, painful, and engaging, Thirza’s short films about sexuality, madness, youth, love, and race have shown internationally including screenings at Tribeca Film Festival in New York City, Oberhausen International Kurzfilmtage in Germany, The National Gallery in Ottawa and right here at QCC at the very beginning. They are of Plains Cree and Scots descent, a member of Little Pine First Nation, and currently reside in Toronto.Thirza will conduct a Q&A following the screening.

Independent Visions features independent and experimental media screenings, presented by RPL Film Theatre and Dunlop Art Gallery, in partnership with the University of Regina Department of Film and the Saskatchewan Filmpool Cooperative.

This screening is made possible through an Artists in Communities – Projects Grant from the Saskatchewan Arts Board.

Lessons in Baby Dyke Theory

1995, 3min

In 1995 when Thirza Cuthand was 16 she felt like the only lesbian at her Saskatoon high school. This turned out to be untrue, but the lack of visibility in her high school coupled with the lack of representation of Queer teenagers in the 90's made her make her first video, a comedic short about teenage lesbian loneliness and trying to bribe classmates to come out with the promise of candy.

My Sister

1996, 5min

Two thoughtful young friends openly discuss their relationship with their sisters, both of whom are mentally challenged.

Bisexual Wannabe

1997, 2:30min

Brokenhearted, a young lesbian considers doubling her dating possibilities.


1998, 4:14min

A girl with a bad habit of falling for older women befriends a boy lover. This video is an examination of relationships between adults and teenagers. It involves ice cream trucks and bowie knives.

Helpless Maiden Makes An "I" Statement

1999, 6min

By using clips of evil queens/witches this video plays off the sadomasochistic lesboerotic subtexts commonly found in children's entertainment. A helpless maiden is tiring of her consensual s/m relationship with her lover, and "evil" queen. She wants to break up. An impassioned monologue in a dungeon with our heroine in wrist cuffs quickly becomes an emotionally messy ending in flames. This video was inspired by the artist's own childhood "kiddie porn", Disney movies which turned her on to no end and kicked off many a prepubescent masturbation session.


1999, 9:30min

Anhedonia doesn't play to the back of the church. It shoots directly to the point with poetry and images that evoke controversy in one mind set and passion in another. Depression and suicide are met head on with Cuthand's honesty. Anhedonia shocks people into opening their eyes to the source of the illness in the Aboriginal community. Statistics, split images, words and flesh meld together making this short film long on compassion, screaming out for help and recognition of the mentally ill's dream of someday having a normal life.

Madness in Four Actions

2008, 8:09min

Anne Bancroft and Patty Duke proceed to beat each other while text from psychiatrists and ex-patients discuss the violence in some forms of psychiatric care. Four actions repeat as the struggle for autonomy rages.

You Are A Lesbian Vampire

2008, 3:17min

In the dark night of a prairie city, a vampire considers her future with a fetching mortal. But requiring blood for sustenance brings a host of problems to the relationship.


2012, 3:33min

Super 8 footage layered with Sharpie marked lines and circles obscuring the image illustrates the story of the filmmaker’s experience with temporary episodes of migraine related blindness and her cousin’s self induced blindness later in life. Paralleling the experience of Blindness with Mental Illness, Cuthand deftly elucidates that any of us could lose any of our abilities at any time.

Boi Oh Boi

2012, 9:32min

After a long period in life identifying as a Butch Lesbian, Cuthand considers transitioning to male. This experience involved a six month period of her life during which she went by the name Sarain, which she would have been called had she been born a boy, and asking to be called by male pronouns. Complicated by mental health crises, Cuthand found themselves in a mental health group home for women, having to hide their gender dysphoria. After a considerable amount of thought and discussion, Cuthand changed her mind and decided to remain a Butch Lesbian. Explaining her decision, she touches on the desire to maintain a connection to the Lesbian community, as well as the sexy genderfucking that happens when one is a masculine woman. Shot partially on location in Hamburg, Germany, riding back and forth on the UBahn is a metaphor for her eventual acceptance of fluctuating between a masculine and a feminine gender. In a nod to her two spirited ancestors, she mentions that she would have been able to make up her own gender had colonization not happened.

Just Dandy

2013, 7:38min

Invited to speak at an Indigenous Revolutionary Meeting, the narrator describes an intimate encounter with an Evil Colonizing Queen which leads to Turtle Island's contraction of an invasive European flora.

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2015, 4:47min

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Thirza Cuthand is an Indian Within the Meaning of the Indian Act

2017, 8:56min

Contemplating mixed race identity in Canada, Cuthand presents us with images of blood ties and land ties for indigenous people, and questions the use of the words "white passing" and "light skinned." As a light skinned indigenous woman, Cuthand reiterates that racism and discrimination still happen for her, just in different ways. Community belonging is contrasted with the difference experiences she has from her darker skinned family. Ultimately, a video with more questions than answers, it situates the artist's body in historical trauma and ongoing colonial survival.