British Columbia’s Dolly Kruger, a member of Sn’pintktn Indian Band (Penticton, B.C.), has been selected as the recipient of the second $10,000 RBC Emerging Indigenous Filmmaker Award. Funded by RBC Foundation and facilitated by the National Screen Institute, this award supports the career and talents of an emerging Indigenous filmmaker in Canada. Dolly receives $10,000 and mentorship from acclaimed filmmaker and award advisor, Sonya Ballantyne, a member of the Swampy Cree.

“I’m truly honored, excited and blessed to have been chosen for this year’s RBC $10,000 Emerging Indigenous Filmmaker Award,” says Sc̓əc̓m̓il̓t (Dolly). “I want to express my heartfelt limlimpt (thank you) to RBC for this incredible opportunity to share a snapshot into the world of our traditional and cultural ways as Indian people of this land.”

Since 2020, Dolly and her cousin have hosted an annual stickgames tournament that has grown from year to year. When she saw the positive impact that the tournament was having on her community, she decided to document it.

“I’ve been working on the project for the last two years,” Dolly says. “I’ve played stickgames for over 30 years and I’ve been to many tournaments. My cousin and I decided that hosting a tournament was a way to bring our people together and continue healing and be there for one another, showing our love, care and respect in a time of crisis during COVID.”

Dolly Kruger

Stickgames, traditional to many Indigenous communities in North America, are played during gatherings, celebrations and ceremonies. This game, varying by nation, involves teams competing through strategy, skill and chance, using sticks and bones (or objects, depending on the traditional territory). The bones are hidden in two players hands and the goal is to correctly guess the location of the hidden bone or object. In addition to being a source of entertainment, stickgames serve vital cultural and social functions within Indigenous nations, including as a means of passing traditions from one generation to the next.

Dolly intends to use to her award to continue working on her documentary with the goal of spreading a positive message about the game’s impact on her community. She’s eager to share her film with as many people as possible.

“We want to enter some film festivals throughout BC and Alberta, and possibly even the United States. Stickgames is not only about the game itself,” Dolly says, “but it’s also about bringing people together in a healthy, safe environment where people are going through loss in their lives. We want to continue to show our youth that there are other ways to celebrate life.”

“The arts have a unique power to bring people together. We are proud to support emerging Indigenous filmmakers with a platform to inspire and create authentic connections with their audience,” says RBC’s Na Sha, Vice President – Commercial Financial Services Indigenous Markets. “Working alongside like-minded partners, such as the National Screen Institute, makes our award stronger and ultimately more meaningful to the lives of Indigenous filmmakers.”

Over 70 emerging Indigenous creators from coast to coast to coast submitted applications for the award. Two independent selection committees convened to review applications, conduct interviews and select this year’s award recipient. Dolly was selected based on her stated short film project, the ability for the award to make a difference in reaching her project goal and community involvement.

“I share this achievement with my team at Little Pine Productions. This is definitely a testament to the power of collaboration and dedication by our team,” says Dolly. “I hope this award inspires others to pursue their dreams and continue reaching for the stars. Again, thank you to RBC and I am proud to share a tiny bit of our traditional and cultural ways with the world.”


Further enquiries: Abiola Agbayewa,