A struggling Indigenous actor tries to rejuvenate his career by getting a sequel made to the beloved film Smoke Signals, in star and director Cody Lightning’s wildly funny debut mockumentary.
In recent years, Chris Eyre’s 1998 film Smoke Signals has been the source of a thousand memes shared by Indigenous people. Among the most popular have been images of Thomas Builds-the-Fire (Evan Adams) calling out “Hey, Victor!” to Victor Joseph (Adam Beach) in a distinctive rez accent.
In Hey, Viktor!, actor Cody Lightning, who played the child version of Beach’s character, revisits that beloved film as director, co-writer, and — playing an outsized version of himself — mockumentary lead. Eager to boost his floundering acting career, the fictional Cody looks to cash in on his old childhood role. He wants to make a sequel for Smoke Signals, in which he would star (as “Viktor,” to avoid a potential lawsuit), alongside the original cast. His first move: hijack the film crew which is documenting his intervention.
This wild comedy follows a man with plenty of vices, driven by money and fame as he alienates his family and friends (such as his producer Kate, played by Hannah Cheesman) on his quest to make this sequel. Fans of the film’s inspiration will have that nostalgic itch scratched — we may or may not see many of Smoke Signals’ core cast — but there are so many outrageous moments and jokes that it’s a fun ride to go on, even if you haven’t seen the original.
Hey, Viktor! is both a mockumentary — one that plays on the idea of fame and cultural capital — and, much like the film it’s tapping into, a journey of self-discovery.
Official Selection, 2023 Toronto International Film Festival
Content advisory: crude content, sexual content, nudity, coarse language