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Buffy Sainte-Marie: Carry It On

Directed by:

Madison Thomas



Buffy Sainte-Marie: Carry It On chronicles Sainte-Marie’s rise in New York’s Greenwich Village folk music scene through her groundbreaking career, featuring never-before-seen archival material, new performance footage and interviews with Sainte-Marie, Joni Mitchell (singer, songwriter, artist), Sonia Manzano (Maria on Sesame Street), John Kay (lead singer-songwriter of Steppenwolf, solo artist), Robbie Robertson (musician), Jackson Browne (musician), George Stroumboulopoulos (music journalist), Andrea Warner (author) and more.


Over a career spanning six decades, Cree musician, artist, and activist Buffy Sainte-Marie has used her platform to campaign for Indigenous and women’s rights and inspired multiple generations of musicians, artists, and activists.


Sainte-Marie’s career took flight when she received a rave review in The New York Times and caught the eye of Vanguard Records, who released her debut album, It’s My Way. Consistently recognized for being ahead of her time, Sainte-Marie’s music revealed her most sincere opinions differentiating her from the other female pop musicians of the 1960s. Early in her career, she spoke out against the Vietnam War with her song “Universal Soldier,” against readily available opioids with “Cod’ine” and shared her views on romance with “Until It’s Time for You to Go,” which has been covered by artists such as Elvis, Barbra Streisand, Cher and Neil Diamond.


Sainte-Marie changed perceptions of Indigenous people in music, film, and television. When approached to play a lead role in a 1968 episode of The Virginian, she famously demanded that all Indigenous roles be played by Indigenous peoples. Additionally, across her five-year stint on Sesame Street, she was the first woman to nurse on television, and she helped create segments based on her experiences as an Indigenous woman in North America.


After winning the Academy Award for writing “Up Where We Belong” from An Officer and a Gentleman with her then-husband, Jack Nitzsche, Saint-Marie stepped out of the spotlight. She returned to music after a fourteen-year hiatus with her critically acclaimed album Coincidence and Likely Stories. In 2015, she beat out Drake for the Polaris Music Prize for her album Power in the Blood. 


At the age of 81, Sainte-Marie actively tours and continues to be an activist for Indigenous rights, including championing efforts to end the oppression of and violence against Indigenous women.



Madison Thomas


Andrea Warner


Stephen Paniccia

Executive Producers

Rebecca Gibson

Stuart Henderson

Kyle Irving

Lisa Meeches

Andrew Munger

Steve Ord

Gilles Paquin

Peter Raymont


Justin Delorme


Andy Hourahine


Brina Romanek

Set Decorator

Philip Reimer

Production Manager

Ravelle Thomas

Sound Department

Daniel Pellerin, Re-recording Mixer

Elma Bello, Dialogue Editor

Michelle Irving, Sound Designer

Camera and Electrical Department

Damian Frazee, Camera Assistant

Sue Johnson, Additional Camera

Dana Plays, Additional Camera

Daniel Williams, Additional Camera

Editorial Department

Joseph Conrad, Assistant Editor

Shayne Hontiveros, Assistant Editor

Adrian Pop, Assistant Editor

Additional Crew

Amos Nadlersmith, Assistant Location Manager

Tina Apostolopoulos, Sr. Production Executive

Jennifer Dysart, Visual Researcher

Christopher Fernandes, Production Assistant

Bailey Johnson, Researcher

Jessica Joy Wise, Archive Producer

Buffy Sainte-Marie: Carry It On Official Trailer

Buffy Sainte-Marie: Carry It On

Directed by:

Madison Thomas


90 minutes

FHFF On-Demand Streaming Partner

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