Kevin Lee Burton


Kevin Lee Burton Still from 'Nikamowin' Still from 'Nikamowin' Still from 'Nikamowin'

Kevin Lee Burton (Swampy Cree) is an award-winning filmmaker, programmer and freelance editor. One of the main areas in which Kevin has focused his artistic endeavors is to explore how "traditional" concepts can be coherently iterated within technological contexts. Specifically, Kevin has designed a niche by working in his ancestral tongue, Cree. Kevin received his film training at the Indigenous Independent Digital Filmmaking Program in North Vancouver, British Columbia, and has worked as program assistant for the Native and Indigenous Initiatives at the Sundance Institute in Beverly Hills, California. He was raised in the remote area of God’s Lake Narrows, MB, but now lives and works in Vancouver, BC.

In 2007 his experimental film, Nikamowin (Song), received the Best Experimental Video and Best Indigenous Language Production awards at the ImagineNATIVE Film Festival and then went on to do its US Premiere at the Sundance Film Festival. Nikamowin has also received the Best Short Film Award at the Art Gallery of Hamilton Film + Video Festival and was named one of Canada’s Top Ten short films of 2008 by the Toronto International Film Festival Group. Kevin’s experimental documentary, Writing the Land, received the Gerry Brunet Award at the Out On Screen Film Festival in Vancouver, BC and helped Kevin’s reputation as a filmmaker secure a spot in Victoria Film Festival’s Springboard Program as one of Canada’s Top Talents of 2008.

Artist Statement

There are so many elements loaded into the term "traditional" that it can dichotomize those that exist within the term. There are too many issues about how "traditional" is defined and how this term shapes and defines Indigenous persons. Within my artistic expressions I look at linguistic, social, emotional, spiritual and psychological scenarios and try to make sense of how my "traditional" values can be coherently iterated and/or demonstrated within a technological context. I do this to explore the many unanswered questions around how the notion of how "traditional" is not only something of the past, but is current and ever fluid.


Creating a linguistic soundscape through aural elements of Cree, Kevin Lee Burton weaves sound and image with a political and rhythmic resonance. Exploring diverse landscapes by remixing their formal textures, the visual construction of this experimental video underscores questions of how languages emerge, exist, transform and dissolve.

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