2023 FHFF Director Series "Best of the Fest"

Haida Modern

Expired April 29, 2023 3:00 AM
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Haida Modern: The Art & Activism of Robert Davidson

Director: Charles Wilkinson

Runner-up: TALES FROM THE HEART category at the 2022 Friday Harbor Film Festival

Winner of 2021 Leo Awards Best Feature Documentary

Director Charles Wilkinson, Producer Tina Schliessler, and subject Robert Davidson will be joining us in Friday Harbor for a discussion following the screening of the film at the Grange.


Haida Modern tells the story of one of the foremost Haida artists, Robert Davidson. Coming from a family of well—known Haida and Tlingit artists, he has been instrumental in the revival of coastal indigenous art and the revitalization of Haida culture.  He is regarded as one of the greatest living artists in the world. The film “features candid and revealing conversations with the artist himself, along with commentary from art historians, politicians, musicians, and family members detailing the importance and impact of Davidson's work. Highlighted in these conversations is the story of how Davidson carved the first totem pole raised on the island of Haida Gwaii in over 100 years … In Haida Modern, we see how Indigenous and non-Indigenous citizens alike—inspired by Davidson's art—are coming together to forge political movements led by Indigenous activists and artists, fighting the critical environmental battles of our time.” (Bullfrog Films)

Released in 2020

Running time: 85 minutes

Tales from the Heart

Sponsors:  Arctic Raven Gallery

The weekend of Robert Davidson events is made possible by a generous donation from Jay and Suzy Wakefield.



Charles Wilkinson, Director of Haida Modern


Charles Wilkinson is a Canadian filmmaker with a large body of documentary and dramatic film and television to his credit. Wilkinson’s latest multi-award-winning feature documentary Haida Modern: The Art and Activism of Robert Davidson has been selected at numerous international festivals as well as being chosen as the official opening and closing films of several. The film is currently in broadcast and distribution in both Canada and the US.

His critically acclaimed Haida Gwaii: On The Edge Of The World won Most Popular Canadian Documentary at Vancouver International Film Festival, National Film Critics Best Documentary, the Director’s Guild Allan King Award for Excellence in Documentary, and Best Canadian Documentary at Hot Docs.

Wilkinson’s other recent feature documentary work includes Vancouver: No Fixed Address, Oil Sands Karaoke, and Peace Out. Having started out in documentary and prior to returning with this suite of long forms, Wilkinson spent time writing and directing dramatic feature films, TV movies, and episodic shows for Canadian screens as well as for Disney, ABC & CBS in the USA.

Charles was born in the foothills of the Canadian Rockies. He became a well-known country singer/TV performer/recording artist in his youth. He 'dropped out' for a decade to build a log house in the mountains, and worked logging, mechanical, building, and welding before attending film school, receiving several post-graduate degrees, and launching his career as an author & filmmaker. Charles lives with his family on a Pacific inlet near Vancouver.

  • Year
  • Runtime
    85 minutes
  • Language
  • Country
  • Premiere
  • Director
    Charles Wilkinson
  • Producer
    Charles Wilkinson, Tina Schliessler
  • Executive Producer
    Murray Battle, Kevin Eastwood
  • Filmmaker
    Charles Wilkinson
  • Cast
    Guud San Glans, Robert Davidson
  • Cinematographer
    Charles Wilkinson
  • Editor
    Charkes Wilkinson, Tina Schliessler
  • Sound Design
    Bill Sheppard