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HIGHWAY OF TEARS: VIMEO ON DEMAND

Very happy to announce that “Highway of Tears” is now available on Vimeo On Demand.

HIGHWAY OF TEARS from Matt Smiley on Vimeo.

Since the late 1960s, at least forty young women have disappeared along the “Highway of Tears” — a 500-mile, single-lane stretch of roadway in northern British Columbia. Shrouded in mystery until a recent Royal Canadian Mounted Police (RCMP) special investigation linked DNA from one of the vanished victims to a deceased American criminal, these cold cases reveal sweeping crimes: kidnapping, rape, torture, murder, and the disposal of human bodies.

Aboriginal communities have experienced the brunt of the brutality: dozens of their women have disappeared along the highway, victims of not only murderous predators, but of a pervasive, systemic racism that keeps them marginalized on impoverished reservations. First Nation leaders and activists contend there has been little interest in further investigating the crimes and in apprehending their killers.

Narrated by TV Star Nathan Fillion (“Castle,” CBS), Matthew Smiley’s award-winning documentary illustrates the personal stories of the victim’s families and explores how a legacy of generational poverty, high unemployment, and endemic violence in their communities continues to contribute to their tragic fate.

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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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INTL. WOMEN’S DAY SCREENING AT THE RIO THEATRE (VANCOUVER)

The sold out screening of ‘Highway of Tears’ on March 7th at the VanCity Theatre marks the official launch of our grass roots release in Canada.

By demand, we’ve added a special screening on Sunday March 8th (International Women’s Day) at 9:30pm (Rio Theatre, Vancouver).

Eventbrite - "Highway of Tears" (Vancouver) International Women's Day Screening

‘Highway of Tears’ is narrated by Canadian-born actor Nathan Fillion, who plays the title role in the TV series “Castle”. It is produced by Vancouver producer/actress, Carly Pope.

We will be announcing special Q&A guests very shortly.

Thank you all for your support!

"Highway of Tears" interviewee Doug Leslie - Rio theatre screening speaker
“Highway of Tears” interviewee Doug Leslie – Rio theatre screening speaker

 

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“Highway of Tears” wins BEST DOC at the Malibu Film Festival

"Highway of Tears" win Malibu Film Festival for best documentary
“Highway of Tears” win Malibu Film Festival for best documentary
Director Matt Smiley's "Highway of Tears" Winner: Best Documentary at the Malibu Film Festival 2014.
“Highway of Tears” Winner: Best Documentary at the Malibu Film Festival 2014.
Mavis Erickson and director Matt Smiley
“Highway of Tears” wins BEST DOCUMENTARY at the Malibu Film Festival. Happy to share such a wonderful moment with Mavis Erickson at the Malibu Pier Restaurant & Bar.
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Canada AM: Unraveling ‘Highway of Tears’ | CTV News

Director Matthew Smiley

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.

Matthew Smiley on CTV News talking about "Highway of Tears"
Matthew Smiley: Director of “Highway of Tears” on CTV News.

Here is a link to the interview: 

http://www.ctvnews.ca/video?clipId=301946

Terry Teegee
Carrier Sekani Tribal Council Chief Terry Teegee in “Highway of Tears”

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.

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“HIGHWAY OF TEARS” WORLD PREMIERE

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.

"Highway of Tears" official poster
“Highway of Tears” official poster

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.

http://tiff.net/filmsandschedules/tiffbelllightbox/2014/2550013431

More information will be released in the next couple of days. Thank you so much for all your support!

 

 

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The National Day of Remembrance and Action on Violence Against Women

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,

Matt

www.highwayoftearsfilm.com 

Highway of Tears: We Are With You pin

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Nathan Fillion supports “Highway of Tears”

I am very pleased to announce that “Castle” star and fellow Canadian, Nathan Fillion, recently narrated our film “Highway of Tears”. Nathan is hugely talented and a caring artist. I cannot think of a better voice for the project.

Filmmakers Matt Smiley, Carly Pope and Nathan Fillion.
Filmmakers Matt Smiley, Carly Pope and Nathan Fillion.