In English and some Gwich'in with English subtitles.
OPENING NIGHT FILM | VANCOUVER PREMIERE
When her dad leaves town for work, Lia, a 16 year-old artsy city kid, is sent to live with her Gwich’in grandmother in a small subarctic community for the summer. Desperate to return to the urban centre, and longing for her departed mother, Lia sets out into the vast wilderness to find her way. Lost, cold and tired, she is soon discovered by Alfred, a pensive Gwich’in hunter who prefers his solitude. Lacking connection to the land, Lia is clearly unprepared to survive the elements on her own, leading Alfred to reluctantly persuade her to join his search for the missing caribou. An unlikely friendship is forged on this visceral trek filled with hope and challenging truths.
Photographing the magnificent landscapes of the North's often unseen wilderness, each frame is punctuated with intimate details of day-to-day life in the region. This is the first film to feature Gwich’in land, people, and values. Filmmakers living in the Northwest Territories developed the film in collaboration with the Gwich’in Tribal Council. It will come as no surprise that lead and award winning actress, Devery Jacobs (Rhymes for Young Ghouls), was shortlisted to play Rey in Star Wars: The Force Awakens. Jacobs recently won the Borsos Award for Best Overall Performance at the Whistler Film Festival for her role as Lia. Local Vancouver actor Duane Howard (The Revenant ) is a juggernaut in his own right. Here he holds each frame with a layered and taciturn portrayal as Alfred. Howard and Jacobs give tremendous performances, generating magnetic chemistry as they invite the audience on an emotional journey across the North’s boreal plains.
Recommended for ages 14+
Themes: friendship, grief, emotional development, nature, the North, resilience of culture, coming of age, elders
Advisory: A severe wound from and animal is endured and graphically cauterized to prevent infection. There is an unsettling scene in which a man makes lewd comments and touches an underage woman inappropriately and without consent, which may be emotionally triggering for some viewers. He also chases her and tackles her to the ground, suggesting a possible assault.