Richard Cardinal: Cry from a Diary of a Métis Child

  • Canada
Audio Tracks

Richard Cardinal died by his own hand at the age of 17, having spent most of his life in a string of foster homes and shelters across Alberta. In this short documentary, Abenaki director Alanis Obomsawin weaves excerpts from Richard’s diary into a powerful tribute to his short life. Released in 1984—decades before the Truth and Reconciliation Commission—the film exposed the systemic neglect and mistreatment of Indigenous children in Canada’s child welfare system. Winner of the Best Documentary Award at the 1986 American Indian Film Festival, the film screened at New York’s Museum of Modern Art in 2008 as part of an Obomsawin retrospective, and continues to be shown around the world.


  • Original Title
    Richard Cardinal: Cry from a Diary of a Métis Child
  • Direction
  • Screenplay
    Alanis Obomsawin
  • Cinematography
    Roger Rochat
  • Editing
    Rita Roy
  • Music
    Dario Domingues
  • Sound
    Raymond Marcoux
  • Runtime
    29 min (16-30 min.)
  • Year
  • Country
    • Canada
  • Format
    • Colour
  • Distribution
  • Festivals
    • Native American Festival / Faculte visual arts and religion: Comparative study of religions, Belgium
    • Atlantic Film Festival, Canada
    • Land InSights, Canada
    • Montreal World Film Festival (WFF), Canada
    • Festival du film de l'Outaouais, Canada
    • Festival of Festivals, Canada
    • Reel Aboriginal Film Festival - NFB 60th Anniversary, Canada
    • Visual Anthropology Festival, Estonia
    • Reflections of Endless Night, Finland
    • International Short Film Festival, Finland
    • Amiens International Film Festival, France
    • Festival du film, France
    • International Short Film Festival, Germany
    • International Film Festival for Documentary and Short Films, India
    • Festival dei Popoli / International Film Festival on Social Documentary, Italy
    • Odivelas International Documentary Film Festival, Portugal
    • SODEPAU, Spain
    • Documenta Madrid, Spain
    • Golden Horse International Film Festival - NFB 60th Anniversary, Taiwan
    • ANTHROPOS ' / The Barbara Myerhoff Film Festival, USA
    • Margaret Mead Film Festival, USA
    • National Educational Film and Video Festival, USA
    • United States Film Festival, USA
    • Annual American Indian Film Festival, USA
    • Talking Picture Festival, USA
  • Awards
    • Visual Anthropology Festival, Estonia - Award Winner
    • Itinerant - American Film and Video Festival - Award Winner
    • National Educational Film and Video Festival, USA - Award Winner


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