September 19, 2017

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THE LESSER BLESSED: AN INTERVIEW WITH RICHARD VAN CAMP

THE LESSER BLESSED: AN INTERVIEW WITH RICHARD VAN CAMP

Richard Van Camp’s ‘The Lesser Blessed’ originally published in 1996 is now a major motion picture.

1. The Lesser Blessed was originally published in 1996. At the time, did you have any idea how far this book would go?

Honestly? I had no idea where the novel would end up. I was so proud of Larry’s voice and the vulnerability of the story. I’m just so proud that 17 years (and 12 books later), The Lesser Blessed just keeps touching readers in a good way. I am grateful.

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2. How involved were you in the process of turning the book into the film?

I’m the Executive Producer for the movie and I think it’s safe to say I was given that honour because I helped with the fundraising and casting efforts. It took us 7 years to make the movie and we did it. I did not see a molecule of the movie until I attended the premiere with my family on September 9, 2012 at the Toronto International Film Festival at 4pm. I knew three minutes in that we were sitting on a gold mine. It’s perfect. I actually burst into tears the last time I saw it in Yellowknife (my third time) because it moved me so much. The actors, the visuals, the soundtrack–it’s all just so perfect.

Tim-actor-Lesser-Blessed

3. Do you think having a non-Indigenous creative lead in this film was a challenge in keeping the spirit of the story? (The Lesser Blessed film was written and directed by Ukrainian filmmaker Anita Doron). 

Nope. Anita never gave up. I was just saying the other day that no one has ever loved the novel as much as Anita Doron and no one will ever love the movie more than me.

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4. Are you currently working on any other film adaptations from your work? Is film a medium you’d like to continue working in?

Yes, we’ve just adapted my short story, “Dogrib Midnight Runners” into a short movie with Big Soul Productions with Zoe Hopkins as the director. It’s gorgeous. I just saw the rough cut. We’re also securing funding to turn my short story, “the uranium leaking from port radium and rayrock mines is killing us” into a short movie with Brianne Nord-Stewart as the director. It will be CGI and live action. Stay tuned!

The-Lesser-Blessed

5. In your opinion, why is it so important that we have our own festivals and gatherings like the imagineNATIVE film festival? Is it different showing your work there than at TIFF?

I think so many people want to see Indigenous films and, sadly, a lot of them don’t get the attention they deserve because they’re not Hollywood blockbusters. Any chance to screen your movie is a blessing and I’m so proud that The Lesser Blessed is coming soon to a movie theatre near you.

Mahsi cho!

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About The Author

Wenzdae Anais Brewster

Wenzdae (European/Metis/West Indian) is a writer, singer, musician, performing artist, and powwow enthusiast who has won national story contests, performed in diverse cabarets and continues to mentor under community experts in the fine arts and traditional bead work. This summer she will blog about art and events from across the homeland.

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