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Get your Highway of Tears Pre-Sale Copy Now 

It has been a little over a year since we first premiered “Highway of Tears” at the TIFF Human Rights Watch Film Festival in Toronto. I was rather surprised by the response of the film as I didn’t really anticipate the impact it would have on people. I went into the whole filmmaking process with no expectations. It was probably the first time in my life where I dove into something I was passionate about without really thinking through exactly what my expectations were.

When I started my research about the missing and murdered women along Highway 16, I didn’t know their stories would consume my thoughts. I wanted to find out why these murdered and disappearances were happening in Canada and why I hadn’t heard about them before.

Touring with the documentary was an eye opening experience. I never could’ve possibly imagined the impact the screenings would have. I really enjoyed visiting various parts of the country. It was also really hard to hear the countless stories of hardship many Canadians hold inside. Every city and community has stories of loss and grief.

I made “Highway of Tears” out of passion. It was a learning process as an artist to step forward and fight for what I believed in. I went where the stories lead me and I didn’t let any obstacles stop me from achieving my goal.

We’ve now finally made it to the point of getting the film out to a wider audience. I’m extremely happy to have signed a distribution deal with a Canadian company from my hometown of Montreal, Filmoption International. I picked the company because I believe they understood the goals we had for the film. The company is run by two women and they have strong relationships with the educational and international markets, so I knew we would be well represented.

"Highway of Tears" distributor Filmoption International.
“Highway of Tears” distributor Filmoption International.

I’m going to head back on the road for a few screenings, but I’m most looking forward to our worldwide launch screenings in Vancouver at the VanCity Theatre on July 26, 2015. We have two screenings (7pm & 9pm) that will have Q&As afterwards. For those of you that don’t live in Vancouver, or can’t make it to our screenings, please take a moment to sign up for our VHX newsletter, as there will be some opportunities to participate in the event in order to make it a memorable night in history.

VHX Highway of Tears Pre-Order NOW
VHX Highway of Tears Pre-Order NOW

If you haven’t yet, please support our efforts on this project and buy a discounted pre-order digital copy of the film. By doing so you’re directly supporting our efforts on the film, our public outreach and hopefully the chance to continue telling stories that will touch people and move them to action.

In the coming weeks I will share some of the projects I’ve been developing and planning to shoot over the next year.

Since the late 1960s, at least eighteen young women — many of them from disadvantaged First Nations communities — have disappeared or been found murdered along the 724-kilometre stretch of Highway 16 in northern British Columbia. None of these cold cases were ever solved until 2012, when a special RCMP investigation was able to link DNA from one of the murder victims to deceased US criminal Bobby Jack Fowler; but this single answer has done little to heal the wounds of Aboriginal communities who have seen dozens of their young women vanish along the “Highway of Tears,” victims not only of murderous predators but of the systemic racism of a federal government that keeps them trapped on impoverished reservations and, as critics charge, evinced little interest in apprehending their killers. Narrated by Nathan Fillion, Matt Smiley’s award-winning documentary “Highway of Tears” not only movingly relates the personal stories of the victims, but investigates how the legacy of generational poverty, high unemployment and endemic violence in their communities contributed to their tragic fates — and how contemporary First Nations leaders are striving to cure those ills.

Source: Highway of Tears

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“HIGHWAY OF TEARS” Screening schedule.

Thank you so much for all your support for “Highway of Tears”.  We will be officially updating the Highway of Tears page with screening dates, but I wanted to share them on my site too, as many of you have reached out for screening locations. I will be updating this daily, so you’ll be the first to know of screenings in your area.

Please continue to share your thoughts, comments and support. I’m reading all the emails and letters. Many of you have helped make these screenings possible.

Looking forward to meeting you all on the road.

Best wishes,

Matt

Highway of Tears
Highway of Tears
UPCOMING SCREENINGS FOR “HIGHWAY OF TEARS”
March 17, 2015
​Terrace​, BC : R.E.M Lee Theatre
Speaker – Nathan Cullen Member of Parliament (NDP)
March 19, 2015
Smithers, BC : – BUY tickets online – Roi Theatre
March 21, 2015
Vanderhoof, BC :
March 27, 2015
Toronto, ON:
SpeakerNiki Ashton, Member of Parliament (NDP) March 27
March 29, 2015
​Peterborough, ON : ​Wenjack Theatre at Trent University
April 10, 2015
Montreal, QC : BUY tickets online – Musée des beaux arts –
Speaker & panelists to be added soon.
​Montreal, QC : ​Date to be added. Public screening.
April 2015
Ottawa : TBC
April 17 & 18, 2015
St. John’s, NFLD: To be announced shortly.
April 20 & 21, 2015
Halifax, NS: Benefit Screening for Loretta Saunders 2015
April 23, 24, 25, 2015
​Whitehorse, YK:
 
​April 2015
Williams Lake, BC: TBC
Prince George, BC: TBC

Prince Rupert, BC: TBC

May 8, 2015 ​
Philadelphia, USA​: ​
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“Interference”

Be on the lookout for “Interference” directed by Christoph Lehmann that was shot in Saas-Fee, Switzerland. You can get updates directly from the filmmakers on their official Facebook page.

"Interference" starring Matthew Smiley, Alicia Gerrard, Derek Dean, Nadine Vinzens & Jurgen Prochnow.
“Interference” starring Matthew Smiley, Alicia Gerrard, Derek Dean, Nadine Vinzens & Jurgen Prochnow.
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Smiley’s 2012 Oscar Race Predictions

It’s almost Christmas, so I figured I’d leave my two cents about what films I enjoyed this year as everyone is rushing out to see films during the holidays. The Oscars this year should prove to be a great show. I’m thrilled that Seth MacFarlane will host the show. As long as he doesn’t get into some sort of public relations disaster like Brett Ratner last year, then we should be on course for some fun entertainment. MacFarlane brings old-school Hollywood class, with a heavy modern day punch.

Here’s the list:

“Silver Linings Playbook” Directed by David O. Russell tops the list of my favorite films of the year. Tackling the subject of mental health disorders, O. Russell and his cast churn out a charming film that will leave plenty for the viewers to think about when the curtain closes. Great performances by Cooper and Lawrence. She will most likely be nominated for an Oscar.

David O. Russell’s "Silver Linings Playbook" with Bradley Cooper and Jennifer Lawrence
David O. Russell’s “Silver Linings Playbook” with Bradley Cooper and Jennifer Lawrence

“Argo” Directed by Ben Affleck. This has been one of my favorite films of the year. I had the good fortune of watching this film at the Academy with a Q&A after with Ben Affleck and a few members of the cast. I’ve been very impressed with Affleck’s career as a director. All three of his films have scored above 90% in user approval reviews. “Gone Baby Gone” scored 94%, “The Town” 94% and “Argo” ranking in at 95%.

Ben Affleck in "Argo"
Ben Affleck in “Argo”

“Django Unchained” Written and directed by Quentin Tarantino. I’m on the fence about this film, but not having it on my list this year would be a sin. Tarantino delivers a knock-out sucker punch late in the Oscar race with a heavy N-bombing script that is hugely entertaining. The performances in the film are fantastic, namely DiCaprio who may find himself in the running for a best-supporting actor nod. If you loved “Pulp Fiction” and “Inglorious Bastards”, you’re bound to love the “Django Unchained”.

There’s also some controversy surrounding this film. Already, Spike Lee, a director that I greatly admire has expressed publicly that he will not see Tarantino’s film out of respect for his ancestors. (see video below)

 

Leonardo DiCaprio in "Django Unchained"
Leonardo DiCaprio in “Django Unchained”

“Les Miserables” Directed by Tom Hooper. Starring Hugh Jackman. Jackman should be nominated for an Oscar this year alongside co-star Anne Hathaway who gives a brilliant performance. It’s one of the first industry screenings I’ve ever been to where people were weeping in the theater.

Hugh Jackman les Miserables
Hugh Jackman “les Miserables”

“Any Day Now” Directed by Travis Fine, starring Alan Cumming. This film was a huge surprise for me this year. I waited a while before making time to watch it and boy was I floored. It’s a beautifully sad story, but worth watching. Isaac Levya gives a great performance alongside Alan Cumming.

Garret Dillahunt, Isaac Leyva and Alan Cumming in "Any Day Now"
Garret Dillahunt, Isaac Leyva and Alan Cumming in “Any Day Now”

“Flight” Directed by Robert Zemeckis and starring Denzel Washington. I’ve seen this movie three times already. While it would rank higher on my life, there was some stiff competition. Denzel is excellent in this film. There’s no question that he’s one of the best actors of our generation and he should be in the top rankings for the golden Oscar statue this year. John Goodman delivers a strong scene stealing performance in “Flight”. He was great in “Argo”, but the theater was roaring with laughter every time he graced the screen. Goodman is a master at work. If excessive booze, cocaine and girls are your thing, “Flight” will deliver, only, but ready for a lesson in life.

Denzel Washington in Flight.
Denzel Washington in Flight.

“Zero Dark Thirty” Directed by Kathryn Bigelow. Another film I’ve seen three times this year. Who wouldn’t want to watch what led to one of the greatest assassinations in modern history. Bigelow tackles a huge topic: the hunt for Osama Bin Ladin and delivers. She’s certainly one of the toughest directors working in the business at the moment. You’ve got to have strength to pick this topic and not pull your punches. I wouldn’t be surprised if this film wins the Oscar. Jessica Chastain gives a great performance.

"Zero Dark Thirty"
“Zero Dark Thirty”

“The Intouchables” Directed by Olivier Nakache won the hearts of the French and broke box office records in 2012, moving on to win 9 César Awards. The film is based on a true story of a paralyzed French aristocrat Philippe, played by Francois Cluzet who hires Driss, a charismatic young con artist brilliantly acted by Omar Sy. This is a great feel good film. Rennie Dyball of People.com lists five reasons to see the film in her article.

"The Untouchables"
“The Untouchables”

“West of Memphis” (documentary) Directed by Amy Berg is an amazing documentary. It is no surprise mega-successful filmmakers Peter Jackson and Fran Walsh are behind this project. Jackson was also personally responsible for taking care of the defense fees for the trial of Jason Baldwin, Jesse Misskelley Jr., and Damien Echols who were convicted of murder. With major advancements in DNA testing, there is an amazing twist to the story.

Now that I am in my final stages of editing my first documentary, this project was a great blueprint in master-storytelling. It comes out on Tuesday, so be sure to check it out. Also, be sure to read about how “West of Memphis” helped free The West Memphis Three:

http://blogs.wsj.com/speakeasy/2012/12/24/how-west-of-memphis-helped-free-the-west-memphis-three/

"West of Memphis"
“West of Memphis”