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Toyon Kyyl (The Lord Eagle)

Eduard Novikov (Sakha)
Russia | 2018 | 80 min | Yakut with English Subtitles | Dramatic Feature | Canadian Premiere

Thu Oct 18 6:30 PM
TIFF Bell Lightbox Cinema 2

Set in Yakutia in 1930 - a time in rural Siberia when the Soviet presence is just starting to cast its shadow - this exquisite film follows the story of an elderly couple, Mikipper and Oppuos. One morning in the midst of the coldest winter in years, Mikipper returns from attending to their cows to see that an eagle has taken up residence outside their home. Worried that the eagle may attack their animals, but fearful of hurting this sacred being, the couple presents the bird with fresh meat as an offering in hopes it will leave.

When it becomes clear the eagle isn’t going anywhere, they fear it may be a bad omen and the nearby shaman is called. He tells them the eagle’s presence is because of something Mikipper did as a youth that has made the eagle angry. Frustrated, confused, and still cautious, Mikipper and Oppuos begin to develop a unique relationship with the “lord eagle” and become accustomed to feeding and caring for the bird as a renewed sense of optimism takes hold. However, when the thaw begins, the unexpected arrival of two Soviet soldiers threatens to upend their lives and all that they hold dear.

Filled with drama, humour, and beautiful storytelling, Toyon Kyyl is the latest dramatic film from the Sakha Republic which has emerged as a hotbed of independent - and Indigenous - filmmaking in Russia. With a 100% Indigenous cast and crew, Toyon Kyyl is a remarkable achievement and recently won the top film prize at the Moscow International Film Festival.


Eduard Novikov graduated from the St. Petersburg State University of Cinema and Television in 2001. He currently works at the state national film company "SakhaFilm" in Yakutsk, which is the Sakha Republic in far eastern Russia. Working predominantly in documentary for the last decade, he moved towards drama with his biopic film Aiyy Uola - Messenger of Heaven (2014). Toyon Kyyl is his second feature film.