Still from KahaWi The Cycle Of Life
Still from KahaWi The Cycle Of Life

Kaha:wi : The Cycle of Life

by Shane Belcourt
KAHA:WI is a performance film that perpetuates Iroquoian cultural knowledge, traditional æsthetics and expression in a contemporary form.
2014  ·  45m  ·  Canada
About the Film
Celebrated performer, choreographer and artist Santee Smith interprets traditional Iroquois legends through contemporary dance in a cinematic restaging of her 2004 award-winning debut production KAHA:WI : THE CYCLE OF LIFE. In this touching documentary, a gorgeous and transformative performance is translated effortlessly to the screen, telling us of sacred portals between the Sky World, the Earth World and the Under World. KAHA:WI is a performance film that perpetuates Iroquoian cultural knowledge, traditional æsthetics and expression in a contemporary form. KAHA:WI opens with an awakening of the spirit, or unseen life force, that manifests into human form. This establishes the spiritual presence that permeates throughout KAHA:WI. A thanksgiving prayer is given to all the living beings in the natural world. Iroquois people call themselves Onkwehon:we… Real People, meaning real physically. That is a distinction from spirit people. There is a concept of duality between this dimension and that dimension. We live in a world where things are real but the universe has other dimensions. The unseen are beyond our comprehension yet we need to communicate with the unseen, some people call that spirit. The human spirit possesses an umbilical connection to the spirit world.
Upcoming Screenings

Stay tuned for upcoming screenings!

Festivals and Awards
ImagineNative, World Premiere
Shane Belcourt and Jordan O'Connor
Jim Compton and Jeremy Edwardes
Sound Recorder
Corby Luke
Choreography & Story by
Santee Smith
Executive Producers
R. Todd Ivey and Cynthia Lickers-Sage
Associate Producer
Agi Gutkowska
Director of Photography
James Klopko
About the Director

Shane Belcourt

Shane Belcourt is an award-winning Métis filmmaker, writer and musician based in Toronto. Raised with a deep respect for the traditions and knowledge of Aboriginal people, the majority of Shane’s work explores and celebrates Aboriginal issues and culture. His debut feature film, entitled Tkaronto, has played many international film festivals, winning in 2008 the “Best Director” prize at both the Dreamspeakers and the 2008 Talking Stick film festivals. Shane was selected in January 2010 to be the Filmmaker in Residence by the Winnipeg Film Group. Shane’s recent works also include Heritage Minutes, Urban Native Girl – Season 1, Kaha:wi – The Cycle of Life, F*%K Yeah, Keeping Quiet, Red Car, Blue Hood and Boxed In.

Other films by Shane Belcourt