On a night so cold it hurts to breathe,
three First Nations men find themselves
abandoned on the outskirts of town

This poignant and oftentimes humorous drama is rich in metaphor while exploring themes of loss, memory and disregard. The script was inspired by the freezing deaths of several First Nations men in Saskatoon, allegedly as a result of a “starlight tour,” the non-sanctioned police practice of taking individuals to an isolated edge of town and abandoning them to the elements. In 2001, Amnesty International included the freezing deaths in their report of international human rights abuses.



In Memoriam, Gordon Tootoosis

It is with deep sadness that we received the news of Gordon's passing on July 5, 2011. 


Working with Gordon on Out In The Cold was a tremendous honour for everyone involved.  His grace and humour helped carry us through the long cold nights of shooting.  We had a good time with him, and hold many fond memories.  Our thoughts are with his family and friends.  He left us much too soon.  May his passion and strength continue to inspire.




The DVD for Out In The Cold is available through Moving Images Distribution in Vancouver and V Tape in Toronto for use by organisations and institutions.  For personal copies, please contact Sarah Abbott.



Saskatchewan Lieutenant Governor's Award for Arts and Learning

In September 2012, Sarah Abbott received the Saskatchewan Lieutenant Governor’s Arts Award for Arts and Learning, in recognition of her filmmaking endeavors, innovative teaching methods, strong work ethic, ability to bridge cultures, commitment to empowering people and passion for communicating hard-hitting issues.  Sarah is widely respected for her ambitious film projects, inlcuding Out In The Cold and This Time Last Winter, both of which have had far-reaching impacts on communities across Saskatchewan.

The Arts and Learning Award recognizes arts educators for excellence and innovation through their demonstrated commitment to arts education, innovative approaches to instruction, involvement in creative partnerships with artists or arts organizations, and/or engaging students in unique and challenging explorations of contemporary ideas through the arts.



award for innovation in the arts

Sarah Abott received the 2009 Regina Mayor’s Arts and Business Award for Innovation in the Arts for her production of Out In The Cold in recognition of the film’s connection to a wide range of community sectors through its educational process, community outreach and social awareness.  Read the University of Regina press release.


film recognitions

• Honourable Mention, Fiction Short, University Film and Video Association, August 2013 

• Best Special Effects Award, University of Toronto Film Festival, March 2010.

Five Nominations, Saskatchewan Motion Picture Industry Association Showcase Awards (SMPIA), December 2009

       • Performance - Male Lead, Gordon Tootoosis
Performance - Male Lead, Mathew Strongeagle
      • Editing, Sarah Abbott
      • Original Score, Ben Schubert
       • Post-Production Special Effects, Jack Tunnicliffe

Nomination for Best Live Action Short at the American Indian Film Festival, San Francisco, November 2008


educational use

Out In The Cold is available at a number of Canadian universities, libraries and organisations.  The Department of Justice Studies at the University of Regina includes Out In The Cold within their course offerings.  The Saskatoon Police Service purchased Out In The Cold to promote discussion on ethical policing and First Nations/Métis cultures among new and experienced officers.  The film is also in the collection of city school boards including Calgary, Toronto, Waterloo region and Thames Valley, as well as the Saskatchewan Teacher's Federation (for Saskatchewan Department of Education).


Digging into Wounds: Public Discussions on Aboriginal/Police Relations

in post-production
Digging into Wounds: Public Discussions on Aboriginal/Police Relations is an insightful record of Regina and Saskatoon community members, along with the police chiefs of both cities, hashing out historical and contemporary relationships between Aboriginal and Métis people and the Canadian justice system.  The discussions took place following the Regina and Saskatoon premiere screenings of
Out In The Cold.  Thanks to the Saskatchewan Filmpool for a Post-Production Grant to assist in completing the film!