Braeden Crouse, a Lakes District Secondary School (LDSS) student, recently travelled to Peterborough, Ontario, to play a character in a movie called Indian Horse.
An adaptation of Richard Wagamese’s award winning novel, the drama sheds light on the dark history of Canada’s residential schools and the indomitable spirit of aboriginal people.
The 14-year-old student plays the character Lonnie, a young boy at a residential school. Crouse, who’s a member of Lake Babine Nation, said he found the inspiration to play the character from LDSS’ roots of reconciliation project, which has been teaching Burns Lake students about the history of residential schools.
He said that although his character was either “sad” or “angry” most of the time, being in a movie was a fun experience for him.
“The last day of shooting we all had a snow fight,” he said. “It was very fun.”
Although this was Crouse’s first professional role as an actor, he said he would consider pursuing acting as a career.
His father Rene signed him up for an audition after he saw an online ad for a casting call in Kamloops last year. Breaden originally auditioned for the main character; however, the producers later decided to cast him for the role of Lonnie.
His father was with him in Ontario during the two weeks of shooting, which took place just before Christmas. He said this was an incredible experience for both of them.
“We had a lot of fun with the other cast,” said Rene.
Breaden had to learn most of his lines in the Ojibway language.
Set in the late 1950s, the movie tells the story of seven-year-old Saul Indian Horse, who is torn from his Ojibway family and committed to one of Canada’s notorious Catholic residential schools. Despite the oppressive environment, the young boy finds salvation in the unlikeliest of places and favourite Canadian pastime – hockey. Fascinated by the game, he secretly teaches himself to not only play but develops a unique and rare skill. He seems to see the game in a way no other player can.
“To me this is personal,” says producer Christine Haebler. “I cannot believe I live in and love a country that could have perpetrated such abuses on so many beautiful innocent people.”
Indian Horse is presented by Elevation Pictures – a Screen Siren Pictures, Terminal City Pictures and Devonshire Productions co-production in association with Media House Capital.
The movie is expected to be released by the end of the year.
“We’re hoping to get a screening here in Burns Lake,” said Rene.