Northern Film Scores Positive Reviews

Northern Film Scores Positive Reviews

Indian Horse, a drama based on the popular novel by the late Richard Wagamese, won multiple audience awards at film festivals across Canada, following its world premiere at the 2017 Toronto International Film Festival.

The film is about Saul Indian Horse, a young Ojibway boy who was sent to a Canadian residential school. Amidst the trauma and hardships endured, Saul finds comfort in learning how to play hockey. He develops an incredible talent for Canada’s favourite sport, and goes on to play pro.

Paula Devonshire — one of the film’s producers and a member of the Mohawks of the Bay of Quinte First Nation — says she was surprised by how people embraced the film, given its difficult subject matter. “It is a truth that a lot of people don’t want to watch. The fact that it has received such a positive response has been very encouraging.”

Filming in the North

Originally, producers Christine Haebler, Trish Dolman and Devonshire, intended to shoot the film in Quebec, British Columbia and Ontario. But with the incredible support from the Northern Ontario Heritage Fund Corporation (NOHFC), they decided to film entirely in Ontario.

This helped the film stay true to the novel, which takes place in northern Ontario in the ’50s, ‘60s and ’70s. “A lot of the hockey rinks in Sudbury worked perfectly for us because there were so many that had that vintage look to them,” Devonshire says, adding parts of the film were also shot in Peterborough and Killarney.

NOHFC’s role

Devonshire believes NOHFC played a major role in the film’s success to date.

“If we haven’t had this funding, I don’t know if we would be able to make this film in the way we did. The NOHFC funding assistance, plus the ability to shoot in northern locations, and the crew and the actors that were available there, made the film so authentic. I think that is one of the main reasons why the film is so successful because it comes across as a truthful film.”

Indian Horse, directed by Stephen Campanelli, will open in theatres across Canada on April 13, 2018.

Indian Horse


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