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Bones of Crows on North Coast film tour rec’d standing ovation at TIFF and VIFF

Ts’msyen assoc. film producer Leena Minifie raised in Prince Rupert and Kitimat
Bones of Crows will be screening at locations across northern B.C. November 2022. (Photo: supplied)

A Vancouver and Toronto film festival drama about residential school survivors will kick off a northern B.C. tour with a screening in Prince Rupert for public audiences on Nov. 14.

Bones of Crows will screen at the Lester Centre for the Arts at 12:45 p.m. for School District 52 school students and 7 p.m. for community members. There is no charge for the event.

The tour will continue across the northwest, stopping in Terrace on Nov. 15, Hazelton on Nov. 16, Prince George on Nov. 17 and 18, Skidegate on Nov. 20 and Old Massett on Nov. 21.

The film, by Métis writer, director and producer Marie Clements, follows Cree matriarch Aline Spears through her life, including her experiences at residential school and the lasting, inter-generational impact it had on her family.

“It’s a love story and drama. So that’s where people can actually connect to see our love on screen — it’s rare to see,” said Leena Minifie associate producer of the film.

Minifie is Ts’msyen and British. She grew up in Prince Rupert and Kitimat. She told The Northern View the movie is an epic tale about love featuring diverse, complex Indigenous characters.

Bones of Crows ties together many of the social issues, major conflicts and barriers Indigenous Peoples experience in Canada, she explained.

“Marie wanted to make it, so it’s almost a thriller in a sense. It’s not just residential schools — it has every Indigenous issue that you’ve seen in contemporary news. It then explains why, what, how does it intersect with people’s lives.”

The film received two standing ovations at the Toronto Film Festival.

Minifie is excited to be returning to Prince Rupert for the community screening. Other members of the cast and crew will also be part of the northern tour including writer and director Marie Clements accompanied by actors Michelle Thrush and Alyssa Wapanatâhk.

The film had a crew of 240 members as well as a cast of 180. Minifie believes makes it the largest Indigenous produced and directed project ever in Canada.

Fifty of the crew members were Indigenous with most of the cast also Indigenous.

“The people on the crew, in front of the camera, behind the camera, who are Indigenous, all of us are affected by residential schools and by that systemic racism that’s spoken within the series,” Minifie said,

“So every person, including myself, we have residential schools in our family and my family is no exception. So coming to be able to show it in the north is crucial.”

“Everyone will have somebody that they connect to on the film, I’m sure.”

‘I Love First Peoples’ organized the film’s northern tour as they wanted to provide opportunities for Indigenous based communities to see the movie.

Bones of Crows’ theatrical release is planned for next spring, as well as a five-part mini-series that will air on CBC next fall.

The film contains content relating to residential schools, abuse and racism. Support is available 24 hours a day for anyone who needs it through the Indian Residential School Survivors Society at 1-800-721-0066 or the National Indian Residential Schools Crisis Line at 1-866-925-4419.

Prince Rupert

Nov. 14 at 12:45 p.m. at the Lester Centre for the Arts (for the school district)

Nov. 14 at 7 p.m. at the Lester Centre for the Arts (for community members)


Nov. 15 at 7 p.m. at the REM Lee Theatre


Nov. 16 at 1 p.m. at Hazelton Secondary School

Nov. 16 at 7 p.m. at the Gitanmaax Tri-Town Theatre

Prince George

Nov. 17 at 7:30 p.m. at the House of Ancestors

Nov. 18 at 9 a.m. at College Heights Secondary

Haida Gwaii

Nov. 20 at 7 p.m. at Skidegate Hall

Nov. 21 at 7 p.m. at the Old Masset Community Hall

 Kaitlyn Bailey | Local Journalism Initiative Reporter
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