Film adaptation of Richard Wagamese's novel Indian Horse to screen at VIFF 2017

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      The cinematic adaptation of Richard Wagamese's 2012 novel Indian Horse will be coming to this year's Vancouver International Film Festival.

      Elevation Pictures announced today (August 23) that the Ontario-shot film, directed by Stephen Campanelli (Momentum), will have its world premiere at the 2017 Toronto International Film Festival.

      With a screenplay by Vancouver screenwriter Dennis Foon (On the Farm) and executive producers Roger Frappier and Clint Eastwood, the story follows the life of Saul Indian Horse, who was taken away from his Ojibwa family. After being placed in a Catholic residential school, he was not allowed to speak his language or denied his Indigenous heritage as he witnesses abuse. He finds escape in hockey, where his talent helps him escape the school, eventually even becoming a professional player. However, he struggles to deal with traumatic experiences of the past that continue to haunt him.   

      Three actors portray the lead character at different stages of his life: Sladen Peltier plays Saul at 6 years old, Forrest Goodluck (The Revenant) at 15 years old, and Ajuawak Kapashesit at 22 years old.

      The cast also includes residential school survivor Edna Manitowabi as Saul's grandmother, B.C. actor Evan Adams (Smoke Signals), as well as Michiel Huisman (Game of Thrones), Michael Murphy (X-Men: The Last Stand), and Martin Donovan (Ant-Man).

      The screening date of the film at VIFF 2017 is yet to be announced.

      Author Richard Wagamese

      Wagamese, who was Ojibwa from the Wabaseemoong First Nation in northwestern Ontario, died in Kamloops in March. Although he didn't attend residential schools, he had relatives who did, and he was adopted by a family who separated him from his Indigenous heritage.

      You can follow Craig Takeuchi on Twitter at @cinecraig or on Facebook