Alberta's film industry loss is British Columbia's gain—but not without controversy.
Parks Canada is not allowing revenge thriller Hard Powder to shoot scenes in Rocky Mountain national parks in Alberta.
The film stars Liam Neeson as a snowplow driver at a Colorado ski resort who seeks to avenge the murder of his son by a local drug cartel, setting off a turf war between gangs that involves a First Nations mafia leader, played by Calgary-based Métis actor Tom Jackson.
Parks Canada raised concerns about the content of the film regarding indigenous content, according to CBC News.
"The Government of Canada is committed to reconciliation and nation-to-nation relationships with indigenous peoples, based on a recognition of rights, respect, co-operation, and partnership," spokesperson Meaghan Bradley stated. "In addition to some administrative details and outstanding documentation, Parks Canada's commitment to reconciliation and respect for indigenous peoples was an important factor in the agency's final decision on this matter. Parks Canada maintains the right to refuse applications that are not in line with Parks Canada's mandate or operational priorities."
Jackson, who starred in the indigenous-based CBC TV drama series North of 60, had written to Parks Canada. While he applauded their sensitivity to First Nations issues, he informed them that he had been consulted about the script, had recommended some changes, and didn't feel there were any further issues about how indigenous culture or characters were represented in it.
Jackson told CTV News that he views the rejection as a form of censorship and that it has denied Alberta an economic opportunity.
The film, which starts production today (March 20), will shoot in Fernie and Cranbrook in British Columbia instead. Director Hans Petter Moland is adaptating his 2014 Norwegian film In Order of Disappearance. The cast includes Emmy Rossum, Tom Bateman, and Benjamin Hollingsworth.