Over the last few years, documentary films have managed to pave their way into the mainstream movie audience. Some well crafted documentaries have presented their findings in a way that touches our hearts. These real stories are changing the way we see the world. Many of these documentaries are self-produced and completed without the aid of production companies or distributors, so the politics of censorship rarely come into play.
While editing “Highway of Tears”, I spent countless hours studying the works of documentary filmmakers in an attempt to pinpoint how they captured the attention of the world. One doc in particular managed to gain the following and momentum never seen before in modern documentary filmmaking: “Blackfish”. The film premiered at Sundance and was then picked up by CNN Films. Below is an example of the social impact a film can have to inspire people to stand up against injustices.
This is a great piece of graffiti art by Michael Beerens. I hope you enjoy it and reflect on how this work was inspired by “Blackfish”.
With the premiere at the TIFF Human Rights Watch Film Festival on Thursday March 6, director Matthew Smiley visits CTV News. He details how he came to tell the story of missing women and whether the police have done enough in these cases.
Here is a link to the interview:
Narrated by Nathan Fillion, “Highway of Tears” chronicles the notorious, decades-long string of murders and disappearances of young Aboriginal women along British Columbia’s Highway 16, and how the systemic racism that defined their lives also contributed to their deaths. 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 stretchof 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. “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.
If you live in Toronto, please come out and join us for the World Premiere of “Highway of Tears” at the Human Rights Watch Film Festival organized by TIFF. There will be a special question and answer peroid after the film, with Samer Muscati, Meghan Rhoad, Carly Pope and Matt Smiley. A few more special guests will be added in the next couple of days.
Tickets are going fast, so if you plan to attend, please purchase your tickets ahead of time to ensure you’ll be able to attend.
More information will be released in the next couple of days. Thank you so much for all your support!
In case you missed it, here is a link to Matt’s interview on LA Talk Radio promoting the upcoming release of “Highway of Tears” at the Human Rights Watch Film Festival in Toronto.
It is with great pleasure that I announce the soft launch of our webiste for”Highway of Tears”. It was very important for our team to share the site on this day of remembrance in order to honor, not just the 14 women who were killed at L’Ecole Polytechnique in Montreal in 1989, but all women.
We are still working on the site and adding more information over the coming weeks, so please check in periodically. Our “In Memory” section will continue to grow as we approach our release in 2014, along with some announcements regarding our actions to eradicate violence against women.
Please take a moment to honor these women:
Genevieve Bergeron, 21 Civil Engineering
Helen Colgon, 23, Mechanical Engineering
Nathalie Croteau, 23, Mechanical Engineering
Barbara Daignealut, 23, Mechanical Engineering
Anne-Marie Edward, 21, Chemical Engineering
Maud Haviernick, 29, Environmental Design
Maryse Laganiere, 25, Employee, Ecole Polytechnique
Maryse Leclair, 23, Mechanical Engineering
Anne-Marie Lemay, 27, Mechanical Engineering
Sonia Pelletier, 28, Mechanical Engineering
Michele Richard, 21, Mechanical Engineering
Annie St-Arneault, 23, Mechanical Engineering
Annie Turcotte, 21, Engineering Materials
Barbara Klucznik-Widajewicz, 31, Nursing Student
As always, I thank you all so much for your support for this film and on behalf of the “Highway of Tears” team, may we wish you a wonderful weekend.
Je me souviens,